Human beings are designed to be aerobic. The more aerobic we are, the more resilient we can be in life, period. The aerobic system is one of the three energy systems (alactic, lactic, and aerobic) but, tends to be forgotten. In exercise prescription, a fear of “losing strength” has reduced aerobic endurance training and popularized alactic and lactic training. However, aerobic endurance training cannot be forgotten and is the single greatest contribution a coach can add to an athlete’s program.
(Coach’s Resource: Learn the body’s three energy systems with this course.)
OPEX Fitness characterizes aerobic training as sustainable, repeatable, and paced efforts. This development can only be achieved at an intensity, in which the aerobic system is activated to the maximum, while lactate accumulation in the muscles has not yet been reached. Training the aerobic system and its many levels depends on the athlete’s current fitness level and function. A novice lifter would not be programmed to squat #400 pounds on their first day of training. The same approach applies when training the aerobic energy system.
Before prescribing any aerobic training it is important to know the athlete’s baseline aerobic capacity. Work capacity can be tested in multiple ways but we prefer the 10 minute max calories on the AirBike test. This test gives coaches an accurate measurement of work capacity along with a database of scores to compare to. The ability to compare data gives coaches an accurate depiction of the athlete’s performance and the opportunity to adjust training if necessary. Learn the 10 minute max calories on the AirBike test our free Professional Coaching Blueprint.
Aerobic adaptations can be achieved within a 6-12 month period depending on the starting point and function of the athlete. It’s important to understand that athletes need to earn the right to perform harder efforts by proving their efficiency in longer pieces both mixed and cyclical. An athlete’s aerobic system can be progress once the athletes have proven they can sustain a pace and repeat efforts over and over. Keep in mind that when progressing the aerobic energy system start with long slow efforts and build to shorter and faster efforts over time.
Considerations for this design:
30 Minutes AirBike—easy effort- conversational pace (MAP 10)
Every Minute On the Minute (EMOM) 10 minutes
Odd– Strict Handstand Push Up max in 30 seconds
Even– Double Under 30 seconds As Many Reps As Possible (AMRAP)
10 Minutes AirBike Zone 1
30 Minutes Row; every 500m get off and complete 60 meters of Farmers Walk #heavy MAP 10
30 Minutes walk with weight vest MAP 10
30 Minutes @ sustainable pace MAP 8
1 Minute Row
1 Minute Skip rope
1 Minute Front leaning Raise (FLR)
1 Minute Run
1 Minute AirBike
EMOM 12 minutes
Odd—wall ball shots x 10 #20-9ft
Even— Farmers Walk AMRAP distance in 30 seconds #heavy
10 minutes easy spin AirBike
Swim 30 minutes – 25 meters every 90 seconds @ easy effort MAP 8
30-minute AirBike; every 2 minutes get off and complete 2 Wall Walks MAP 10
60-minute Hike natural intervals (hill, slopes)
8 Minute AMRAP
5 Pull Ups (strict)
5 Push Ups
5 Toes to Bar
Rest 3 Minutes
8 Minutes AMRAP
10 Sit Ups
10 Back Extensions
20 Double Under
While aerobic endurance training is essential to performance, true athletic growth will only come from tapping into the three energy systems. Learn more about the body’s three main energy systems and how to create exercise programs to build your endurance in our free Professional Coaching Blueprint.