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Anaerobic exercise is an activity that breaks down glucose for energy without using oxygen.

In most cases these activities are of short bursts with high intensity. Anaerobic exercise primarily strengthens your muscles, it involves intense, powerful muscle contractions that require energy faster than oxygen can be supplied "Anaerobic" means "without oxygen" and involves more intense, short bursts of physical activity compared to aerobic exercise.

Easy way to remember is “aerobic” means “with oxygen,” while “anaerobic” means “without oxygen

Great benefits of Anaerobic exercise are

  •  fat loss
  • endurance
  • strengthened bones and muscles
  • Increased power
  • Boost metabolism
  • Increases lactic acid threshold
  • Increases energy
  • Protects Joints (by building strength and muscle mass)
  • Increases lactic threshold

Science Behind Anaerobic Exercise

Without oxygen, muscle cells break down stored glycogen into individual glucose molecules. These molecules are broken down further in a two-step process called lactic acid fermentation to release energy to power muscle cells.

First step in lactic acid fermentation is glycolysis, glucose molecules are broken down and converted into pyruvic acid in order to release energy. The second step in lactic acid fermentation involves converting pyruvic acid into lactic acid as a by-product, which accumulates in muscle cells and produces a warm/burning sensation.

As lactic acid fermentation does not produce much energy and because lactic acid accumulation in muscle cells is uncomfortable, anaerobic exercises can only be performed for a short period of time before a rest break is needed.

Here are examples of anaerobic exercise.

  • Weightlifting
  • Sprinting
  • Plyometrics (powerful explosive movements like jumping, jump lunging, jump skipping)
  • Bodyweight exercises (press-ups, sit-ups, push-ups, press-ups)