Anaerobic training focuses on the anaerobic energy systems (lactic acid and alactacid) and obtaining physiological adaptations that benefit these systems. However, you should note that here in Improving Performance the focus is not on improving lactate thresholds or durations of anaerobic activity, but on speed and power. You should have also covered anaerobic training in Factors Affecting Performance, How does training affect performance?, types of training and training methods, anaerobic training.
Anaerobic training for speed
Speed training seeks to develop the quickness of limb movement and by nature is a form of anaerobic training. There are various methods used to focus on speed development, many overlap with the development of power, since the two (2) are so connected. Frequently speed training will focus on running technique, as proper running technique is very important for the athlete to reach top speeds and produce maximum power during acceleration. Other specifics depend on the method of training. Some of the more common methods include: weight/resistance training, plyometrics, and short interval training. Speed is a vital component of fitness for sports such as: sprinting, football, ice-hockey, baseball, and netball.
Anaerobic training for power
Power is the combination of velocity and strength (force). A strong athlete is not by definition powerful, and neither is a fast athlete necessarily powerful. There must be a combination of both velocity and power for an athlete to be considered powerful. Power is beneficial for many sports, but particularly sports that require acceleration or deceleration (rugby codes, football, netball, basketball etc). Power training is often done through the use of weight/resistance training, plyometrics, and short interval training.
Students learn about:
- anaerobic training (power and speed)
Students learn to:
- analyse TWO of the training types by drawing on current and reliable sources of information to:
- examine the types of training methods and how they best suit specific performance requirements
- design a training program
- describe how training adaptations can be measured and monitored
- identify safe and potentially harmful training procedures.
Design an anaerobic training program
Anaerobic training programs involve work periods at very high intensities and have longer rest periods built into the training to ensure the muscle recovers before the next work period. This applies to all forms of anaerobic training. Weight/resistance training will have a rest period between sets, plyometric training will have short breaks between each exercise, and short interval training has rest periods by definition.
Rest periods are vital in anaerobic training programs, as they ensure the athlete’s anaerobic energy systems recover before the next work period. This allows for greater intensities to occur during the work period, and a greater volume of work to be completed at the higher intensities. This is important because the greater the volume of work done at the higher intensities the greater the physiological adaptations will be.
Anaerobic training will have work periods that are at an intensity above the lactate threshold/lactate inflection point, ensuring that adaptations occur in the anaerobic energy system and that the adaptations are anaerobic specific (although aerobic physiological adaptations will occur as well).
Check out an example program here.
Measuring anaerobic training adaptations
Anaerobic adaptations include:
- increased anaerobic enzymes
- increased PC stores
- increased strength
- increased speed
- increased removal of waste products
- faster recovery
- hypertrophy etc
These can be measured in various ways. Lactic threshold testing can provide information regarding improvements in waste product removal, circumference measurements will provide information on hypertrophy, 1 RM testing will provide measures for strength gains etc.
Tests for measuring speed and power are often sport specific, though they can also be conducted in laboratory environments. Tests for power include: Vertical jump, standing long jump, seated medicine ball throw, etc. Tests for speed include: 20 metre dash, radar testing, exercise bike testing etc 
Safety for anaerobic training
Anaerobic training is one of the more dangerous forms of training, especially plyometrics and power weight training. This is due not just to the high intensities, but the high force and high velocity movements. These place large amounts of stress on the body and minor mistakes can cause serious injuries.
Technique MUST be mastered before power training. Athletes will usually develop their strength before adapting it to power, where the focus becomes developing the force at speed.
Rest is also an important safety measure in anaerobic training. This is not just rest between sets, though it includes this, but also rest between training sessions or competition.
Anaerobic training should be conducted under professional supervision (personal trainer, coach, exercise scientist etc). Overuse injuries and soft tissue injuries are the types of injuries that commonly occur in anaerobic training.
Past HSC PDHPE exam questions
Since the update to the HSC PDHPDE syllabus in 2010, there have been no questions relating to this dot point.