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Exploring Anaerobic Exercise for Strength Training and Body Building

Exploring Anaerobic Exercise for Strength Training and Body Building

Anaerobic Exercise: What You Need to Build Muscle

Anaerobic exercise is short bursts of high-intensity exercise designed to help you build muscle and process glucose (sugar) in your body. Weight lifting, sprint running, and HIIT (high-intensity interval training) are the most popular forms of anaerobic exercise

Anaerobic vs Aerobic: What Does Anaerobic Exercise Mean?

Anaerobic means “without oxygen”. To understand how this relates to your exercise routine, however, let’s first look at aerobic exercises.

Aerobic or “with oxygen” exercises are also known as cardio. They involve long sessions of medium-intensity exercise that causes you to breathe heavily and carry that extra oxygen to your muscles. Your muscles then use the oxygen to create energy that will last through your cardio workout.

Anaerobic exercise, in contrast, uses short bursts of high-intensity exercise designed to burn glucose for muscle energy instead of oxygen. The short burst prevent the aerobic process from starting.

The Science: Glucose and Lactic Acid Fermentation

During anaerobic exercise, your muscles are forced to use nearby glucose for energy. This begins the two-step lactic acid fermentation process. Glycosis is the first step, processing glucose into pyruvic acid to create energy for your muscles. The second step is lactic acid fermentation, which releases less energy and causes lactic acid to build up in your muscles.

Lactic acid buildup causes muscle burning and discomfort and is released through sleep, heat, or massage.

Benefits of Anaerobic Exercise

Both aerobic and anaerobic exercise share the advantages of heart health, fat burning, better sleep, increased mood, and more efficient metabolism, among other benefits. However, aerobic exercise specifically also offers the advantages of:

Glucose management – anaerobic exercise is particularly useful when managing blood glucose levels for diabetic and pre-diabetic persons.
Muscle mass – if your goal is bulky muscles, anaerobic exercise is more likely to build bigger muscles by combining intensity and rest.
Metabolic rate – Muscles require calories to maintain, even at rest, so your metabolic rate will increase your daily resting calorie burn.
Time-saving – Anaerobic exercise offers significant health benefits if you have a very limited amount of time to exercise each week.
Strength – if your goal is strength training, anaerobic exercise offers the most concentrated gains.

Building Muscle vs Weight Loss

Anaerobic exercise is primarily used to build muscles. This is because short bursts of high-intensity exercise cause micro-tears in your muscles. When your muscle tissue rebuilds itself, it gets bulkier and stronger, which is why weight lifting works the way it does. Anaerobic exercise is used for body-building, but it can also be used for anyone looking to rapidly increase the amount of muscle in their body.

By increasing your body’s ratio of muscle to fat, you can increase your metabolic rate for easier fat burn as your body builds muscle mass. You may not “lose weight” using anaerobic exercise because muscle is heavier than fat, which means you can get leaner and healthier without necessarily losing pounds.

Cardio or aerobic exercise is used to drop pounds because it forms leaner muscle and burns fat through long periods of energy-consuming exercise.

Anaerobic Exercises to Try

Weight Lifting – Slowly increase the weight you lift in short bursts – 5 to 20 reps per set. Lift the heaviest weights you can safely manage and then rest for a day in between lift sessions.
HIIT – Alternate between different high-intensity exercises and short rest periods. HIIT is great for combining the benefits of aerobic and anaerobic exercise.
Sprinting – Short sprinting bursts on a long walk provides the benefits of walking and anaerobic exercise.
Plyometrics – Burst-exercises like jumping, squats, and jump lunges between periods of rest.

Explore Anaerobic Exercise with Merritt Clubs

At Merritt Clubs, you will find everything you need for rewarding anaerobic exercises. If your goal is to lift heavy, our on-site pros can advise on the right weight, machine, and form to reach your goals, then provide spotting to help you safely push yourself to the limits. If your goal is HIIT or plyometrics, you’ll find the space and equipment you need for a diverse anaerobic session.

We also host anaerobic classes and personal training sessions for those who benefit from a guided workout experience. If you are seeking the benefits of anaerobic exercise, Merritt Clubs can help you achieve your workout goals.