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Building strength, balance, power and grace from within

Aerobic vs. Anaerobic Training

In order to skate or dance at an optimum level, performance athletes must condition their heart and lungs to handle the rigors of training, performing, testing and competing.  Performance anxiety will elevate your heart rate and increase respiration (breathing) which will make you more tired than in practice. Train above the level you need to practice so you will not be affected by performance jitters. A simple training rule is that the training you do should resemble demands of the activity you are training for. This is especially true as you close in on the competitive season. So, if you want to improve on a 400 m sprint, run 400 m in practice! There is a science behind this but you get the idea, right?! 

Energy Systems: Your body has many ways of producing energy.  These different ways of producing energy are called energy systems. There are 3 main energy systems described below. "All three energy systems are active at a given time; however, the extent to which each is used depends primarily on the intensity of the activity and secondarily on its duration." (1)  The length of an event/program/routine will determine which energy system is predominant.

1. The Oxidative System (Aerobic process):  The Oxidative System is the long term energy system which utilizes oxygen to produce energy.  The oxidative system begins to be the primary energy system in prolonged, submaximal activities longer than 3 minutes. Examples: jogging, hiking, walking, swimming.

To develop an aerobic base,  an activity should be performed for for a minimum of 15 to 20 minutes within the optimal training zone (70-90% of maximum heart rate). This should be done 3-6 times per week depending on factors such as age, maturity, fitness level and where one is in the training cycle.  

2. The  Phosphagen System (Anaerobic process):  The Phosphagen System is the energy system for short term, high intensity activities less than 6s. (Oxygen is NOT utilized).  Examples: sprints, weight training, shot put

3. Glycolysis (Somewhere in between-utilizes some oxygen).

  Fast  Glycolysis: Occurs when oxygen is reduced within the cell. (Lactic Acid is produced) 30s-2 minutes

  Slow Glycolysis: Occurs when oxygen is prevalent within the cell. (Lactic Acid is not produced) 2-3 minutes

In order to train the anaerobic energy system, you will need to perform intervals (short, intense bouts of exercise separated by short rest breaks). Your training heart rate will be near 85-95% of your maximum heart rate so you will feel very tired. These repeated cycles of intense exercise/rest will continue for 10-20 minutes depending on many factors.

Periodization: Depending on where you are in your performance cycle, you will do aerobic training 1-6x/week and anaerobic training 0-3x/week.  Periodization is basically a training calendar which involves training variations throughout the year to prevent over training and to maximize performance. more

(1)  Dudley, G.A., and T.F. Murray. Energy for sport. NSCA Journal. 3(3):14-15.1982 and Stone, M.H., and H.S. O'Bryant. Weight Training: A Scientific Approach. Minneapolis: Burgess International. 1987 in Baechle, T.R. (1994) Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (pp.68 ).Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics.

Baechle, T.R. (1994) Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (pp. 67-79, 410).Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics.