Anaerobic Capacity

Written By Georgia Lee

What is it?

-The capacity of the anaerobic system is, the ATP-PC and lactic acid systems to provide energy for muscular contractions.

-The anaerobic system is maximally stressed in short duration high intensity activities (generally between 30 seconds and several minutes),

-The anaerobic capacity is the total amount of energy from the anaerobic (without oxygen) energy systems

-Providing energy, with the absence of oxygen

Factors Affecting-

-The absence of oxygen, causes lactic acid (hydrogen ion) build in the muscles. This causes the athlete to slow down and the aerobic system takes over.

-Hydrogen ions are responsible for the inability of muscles to contract maximally

-Depending on the fitness status of the athlete will depend on how long the anaerobic system stays dominant and if the athlete slows down before 30 minutes.

Recognised tests

Phosphate Recovery Test-

Aim- To challenge the ability of the body to replenish high-energy phosphates in between each repetition of the test.

SHORT COURSE (25m)- 8x7 second, starting every 30 seconds, with a work to rest ratio being 1:3.3

LONG COURSE (40m)- 8x7 seconds, starting every 40 seconds, with a work-to-rest ratio being 1:4.7


8x5 second, starting every 30 seconds, with a work-to-rest ratio being 1:5

-An individual will sprint for 8 seconds and then recorded to what number cone they got up to in the amount of time. They are recorded at times and through a calculation given, the norms are worked out. The athletes get 30 seconds of active recovery walking back to the start line.

300 Metre Shuttle Run

- This is an easily administered test for field sports that rely heavily on a large anaerobic contribution


The performer runs between two lines that are 20 metres apart for a total of 15 repetitions, covering 300 metres in the fastest possible time.

Training methods for Anaerobic capacity

Resistance training

-As intensities increase, fast twitch fibres are recruited.

-Strength, power and hypertrophy training are purely anaerobic

-Training the anaerobic system will train the body to place fast twitch fibres under stress to elicit chronic adaptions

-To achieve this, the final repetition of a set must be to exhaustion to ensure maximal recruitment of fast-twitch fibres.


-(Also known as stretch-shortening cycle)

-Effective for improving power, speed and agility (anaerobic dominant activities)

-Beneficial for endurance athletes, by improving running economy

-Less energy required for each stride

-Speed- beneficial for bursts of speed (using the anaerobic system)


-Beneficial for reaching a goal, including multiple fitness components

-Improve their overall fitness, (speed and power when working anaerobically)

-Using many resources in circuit

Individual Circuit would be the best training for an individual wanting to improve in an anaerobic activity

-This involves the individual working individuality, completely as many repetitions as possible (Sprinting a certain distance, for 20 seconds)

-The aim is for the athlete to complete a faster time in the next training session

-Once a certain goal is achieved, a new goal is set