Cardio /Aerobic Training VS. Interval/ Anerobic Training, Myths

anaerobic vs aerobic training personal trainerDo I do more long duration, endurance work or do I focus on doing short intense intervals of work until you drop ?

This debate has been on ongoing one in the fitness field for many years & has caused a great deal of confusion for athletes & the general public. They are both different methods of training the cardio-vascular system, and I feel they BOTH have their benefits and also their limitations or drawbacks. First of all, let us define each & see what they have to offer.

The term “Aerobic training” basically defines a type of activity where, the supply of oxygen equals the demand for it by the working muscles. The time frame is always greater than 5 minutes and the intensity is usually between 40%-75% of maximum heart rate capacity. It can be intense, but the purpose is to be able to sustain a constant rate of work for a longer duration of time. This type of training has recently been criticized because it has not been shown to significantly increase heart rate capacity for the longer term. Its benefits are:

  1. Improves muscular endurance
  2. Produces a great amount of caloric expenditure
  3. Maintains a healthful cardio-vascular system
  4. Develops slow-twitch muscle fibers

Its limitations are:

  1. Incidence of overtraining the same muscles
  2. Chronic injuries
  3. Minimal development of greater heart & lung total vital capacity

Anaerobic/ Interval or High Intensity Training is basically a type of training sequence where the supply of oxygen cannot meet the demand for oxygen created by the working muscles . The activity is always less than 4minutes & is at a heart rate intensity that is greater than 85% of total capacity. This type of training sequence requires intervals of rest to be interspersed between work at a minimal ratio of 2:1, or as much as 5:1. This creates a VERY intense workout session that is usually much shorter in total duration. The benefits of this type of training are:

  1. Muscular power development & some endurance
  2. Caloric expenditure of different fuel sources
  3. Development of fast twitch muscle fibers
  4. Increases total maximal heart & lung capacity (Vital capacity, which may prevent some types of heart attacks)

These types of programs also come with some possible limitations or contraindications which are:

  1. Much more stress on all the major joints
  2. Higher rates of acute injuries
  3. Contraindicated for populations with heart disease, stroke & compromised cardiovascular systems, (ie; obesity, diabetes & high blood pressure).
  4. NOT recommended for the de-conditioned person/athlete

So as we look at both types of training s we can see that they are very different, but have some overlap. This is where a Certified Professional trainer (CPT) or Strength specialist (C.S.C.S)should be hired to design the appropriate program, so the client/athlete can gain the most benefit without incurring any injury.

Hopefully this will help clear up the misconceptions & confusion surrounding each program and help everyone realize they both are great when utilized properly.

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