How Do I Raise My Anaerobic Threshold?

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  • Written By: Amanda R. Bell
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2018
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Your anaerobic threshold, also known as your lactate threshold, is the intensity that you can exercise before lactic acid beings building up in your blood and muscles; once this stage is reached, a person cannot go much longer due to fatigue and extreme discomfort. To increase this threshold, you can engage in tempo training, which slowly builds up your threshold, as well as work to increase the amount of time that you can exercise in weekly increments. When done properly, interval training, which involves exercising in short bursts at varying levels of intensity, can also help to raise your anaerobic threshold, especially when combined with the other two methods.

Tempo training, commonly used by runners, is considered to be one of the most effective means of increasing anaerobic threshold. For this method, you first need to determine the proper amount of time that you should engage in this type of training. Generally, you should set aside 10% of your weekly exercise time, as anything more can hinder your other workouts and anything less will not be as effective. During this set period, you should exercise right at your threshold. Over time and with practice, this will effectively raise your threshold without causing any injuries while still allowing you to workout at your regular pace on other days.


Increasing your weekly exercise time can also help to improve your lactate threshold, and can be done in conjunction with tempo training. First, determine how long you would like to be able to work out and then break this amount of time down into manageable increments. For example, if you are currently exercising for 90 minutes a week and you would like to double this, increasing the amount of time you work out by 10 minutes every week will have you at your goal within 9 to 10 weeks.

Interval training has long been linked to several health benefits, including increasing calorie burn when compared to standard cardiovascular workouts, as well as increasing anaerobic threshold. With this method, you will engage in short bursts of activity that are as intense as possible followed by periods well below this level. Doing this allows your body to recover while still forcing it to become accustomed to working above its current limit. As with the tempo workout, interval training should only make up for 10% of your weekly exercise time.

For the most effective method, all three of these options can be combined. Tempo and interval training will make up a total of 20% of your weekly exercise, with the other 80% incorporating your regular exercise methods. During this entire period, you can gradually extend your weekly time to increase your anaerobic threshold. While these methods can be combined, tempo and interval training should be spaced two to four days apart to allow for recovery.



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