A different type of exercise is suitable for achieving different sports goals: weight loss and slimness – aerobic (cardio), increase in muscle volume – anaerobic (strength training). Today we will analyze in detail both types of physical activity, as well as tell you how to combine them and what it is for.
Muscle fibers consume a large amount of energy reserves for movement. Depending on the goals of training, the body uses the following sources to “nourish” the muscles:
- Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is a nucleotide contained in every cell of living organisms. Functions: energy storage and transfer. Used by the body to generate maximum force in muscle fibers for 2-3 seconds. The process of energy release is due to the splitting of the phosphate component of ATP into three molecules.
- Creatine phosphate is an organic compound found in skeletal muscles, myocardium and nervous tissue. Used to release energy under power loads. The stored amount of creatine phosphate is designed for approximately 15–20 seconds of power work. The body then uses other energy sources.
- Anaerobic glycolysis is a chemical process that consists of several enzymatic reactions that result in the breakdown of glucose into pyruvate and the release of energy. This process helps the athlete’s muscles to work with maximum effort for 1-2 minutes.
- Aerobic glycolysis has the same function as anaerobic glycolysis, only proceeds with the participation of a large volume of oxygen. The purpose of the process is to provide the muscle effort required by the athlete. The released amount of energy is calculated for about 1-2 minutes of intense physical work.
During aerobic and anaerobic processes, not only pyruvate is formed, but also lactate. This substance has long been considered a side effect in the breakdown of glucose. But modern scientific research has shown that lactate compounds gradually accumulate in the liver in the form of glycogen. The latter is used by the muscles of the body to obtain glucose.
Levels of lactate formation
Aerobic threshold (AP) is a state of an athlete in which practically no lactate is released during physical activity. Examples of aerobic training include jogging, cycling, and jumping rope at an easy pace.
Low lactate levels help muscles produce ATP, which is used for energy replenishment. Consequently, a trained athlete who has reached the aerobic threshold can endure loads for a long time (up to 6 hours). AP on average corresponds to a pulse zone of 110-120 beats per minute.
Anaerobic threshold (AN) is a condition of an athlete in which the level of lactate in the blood rises faster neutralizing it. Excessive ANP is characterized by the appearance of muscle pain – the so-called burning sensation and blockage of ATP production in cells.
An example is a sprint run for 100 meters. During acceleration, the athlete accelerates the pulse to 160-180 beats per minute. When driving, lactic acid is produced intensively. The athlete is doing his best on the track, but at the same time consuming most of the energy.
Both thresholds are used to identify the extreme capabilities of professional athletes. Medical equipment is used for the analysis. Based on the results, an individual training program for the athlete is drawn up.
Types of training
Depending on the sources of energy for the muscles, as well as heart rate and exercise goals, sports disciplines can be either aerobic or anaerobic. Let’s take a look at each type.
Exercise or full-fledged sports activities performed at relatively low intensity. In this case, oxygen acts as the main element in maintaining the energy balance. During such training, rapid aerobic breathing occurs, which strengthens the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems.
Under aerobic training is accepted understand cardio loads. With the participation of oxygen, glycogen stores in muscles and liver are consumed in 25–30 minutes. After that, the body begins to gradually “burn” fats. Therefore, to achieve sustainable weight loss, aerobic workout should last at least 45-50 minutes.
In addition to shedding extra pounds, cardio has the following benefits:
- increasing the body’s endurance;
- improving digestion;
- normalizing sleep;
- maintaining the level of “good” cholesterol;
- strengthening the myocardium;
- increasing muscle tone;
- relieving depression.
Aerobic exercise is recommended in the fresh air, as this increases the consumption of pure oxygen and improves the overall well-being of the athlete. The pace of training is selected individually. But most often, such exercises are carried out in the average heart rate zone, corresponding to 55–65% of the maximum heart rate.
Cardio training is very diverse. This is due to its effectiveness in terms of weight loss and muscle tightening. There are entire disciplines based on aerobic exercise. Examples of such physical activity are:
- race walking;
- cardio work;
- aqua fitness.
Benefits also include wider availability. Regardless of training and age, anyone can choose the right type of training. For example, older people use an orbitrack to protect their knee joints. And for those with spinal problems, exercise in the pool or on a bicycle ergometer is suitable.
Aerobic exercise has medical contraindications. Most often they are associated with diseases of the respiratory system and heart. But beyond that, cardio should be used with caution in obese people. It is undesirable to practice during pregnancy, after operations on the abdominal cavity, with injuries of the musculoskeletal system.
Exercise or full-fledged sports activities conducted with high intensity. Muscle work occurs due to the processes of anaerobic glycolysis, that is, in conditions of low oxygen consumption.
Such training can take from 45 minutes up to 2-3 hours (for trained athletes).
Anaerobic training is in most cases strength training. Therefore, their main functions are:
- increasing the strength characteristics of an athlete;
- increasing muscle mass;
- developing explosive speed.
The lesson itself is built from complex loads on the whole body. The structure of each approach: 6-10 reps in basic exercises and 10-12 in isolation exercises.
In addition to increasing strength and increasing muscle mass, anaerobic exercise has the following positive properties:
- strengthening of ligaments, tendons, joints;
- the formation of a harmoniously developed figure;
- reduction of body fat;
- acceleration of metabolic processes;
- stimulation hormonal system;
- relieving depression.
Typically, a beginner’s workout program is designed so that anaerobic exercise affects all parts of the body in one visit to the fitness room. Professionals are engaged in a different principle – split (division of loads) – each workout is aimed at working out two or three large muscles. This allows for better muscle development.
An important feature of intense strength training is the combination of short sets and pauses. Since the athlete cannot train for a long time in the state of the anaerobic threshold, the approaches are performed for 20-30 seconds. After that there is always a pause for recovery. This is necessary so that the body has time to lower the lactate content in the muscles.
People who are far from sports assume that anaerobic training is called exercise in the gym: powerlifting, bodybuilding. This is only half true. Strength training also includes:
- tabata protocol;
- kettlebell lifting;
- arm wrestling;
Since most exercises in power disciplines they are performed with weights, this impose certain requirements on the health of the athlete. First, there should be no untreated injuries or genetic abnormalities (such as scoliosis). Secondly, it is unacceptable to perform strength exercises with heart failure.
Combination of different types of load
Many athletes prefer to focus on one area of training: weight loss or muscle growth. But recent scientific research has shown that combining cardio and anaerobic exercise can help you achieve both goals faster.
Including 2-3 aerobic sessions per week in your strength program will help you burn calories faster, which will have a positive effect on reducing body fat. The increase in lean body mass is due to diversity. That is, the muscles regularly receive different loads: either power or aerobic. This helps to offset the plateau effect and progress faster.
How the athlete combines cardio and strength training will also affect the effectiveness of the program. In studies, athletes who combined different types of training on the same day showed the worst results. That is, at first they performed a thirty-minute aerobic exercise, and immediately after they performed a strength plan.
And, conversely, those athletes who endured cardio on a separate training day increased mass and burned subcutaneous fat faster. This allowed you to maximize the focus on strength exercises and efficiently expend calories in aerobic exercise.
If you decide to combine different types of exercises, read the recommendations:
- Train in the evening, from 5:00 pm to 20.00. This period is best suited for sports
- Track your condition. If you feel like you’re running out of time to recover between gym visits, skip cardio for a while. Don’t overtrain your body.
- Use sports nutrition. Pre-workout complexes will help to fully carry out both cardio and strength part of the lesson, and protein supplements will contribute to the speedy recovery and burning of subcutaneous fat.