In order to do Anaerobic Threshold training you need to find out first what your ‘anaerobic threshold’ is. That is the maximum number in Beats Per Minute that your heart rate can sit on for a given period of time while you’re training at high intensity! You’ll need a proper working heart rate monitor such as a Garmin or Polar, with a chest strap to accurately read heart rate (Just using a heart rate watch without the strap is not accurate enough)
Finding out your Threshold BPM number
- Put your heart rate monitor on and have a light warm up (this workout can be done either running or on a bicycle)
- If you choose running as your type of training then you can either run on a sandy beach, or find yourself a constant hill to run up. If you’re cycling then you’ll need to find yourself a decent hill that will take you at least 10 minutes to get to the top
- Start your 10 minute training session by sprinting as hard as you can for the first minute. Then Keep pushing extremely hard and keep an eye on your heartrate monitor.
- Soon your heart rate will get to the point where it won’t go any higher. For me that magic number is around 160 bpm and has been throughout all my years as a racer when I was in my teens and 20’s. My young 9 year old son Noah can sit on around 195 beats per minute for over 15 mins. This isn’t necessarily a reflection of your fitness. Everybody has their own threshold limit and the purpose of this workout is to find out what your personal limit is.
- You need to keep pushing really hard to try to keep your heart rate at the highest number possible. If you start to get light headed then back it down a tiny bit.
- When you finish your 10 minute session you should feel pretty average, and possibly a bit light headed if you pushed hard enough (some people have been known to have a little spew after threshold training).
- I want you to write down the maximum number that your heart rate got to, and also write down what your heart rate was reading throughout most of the workout.
- Most heart rate monitors will tell you what your max HR was and what your average HR was for the workout.
- From all of this information you’ll be able to tell what your anaerobic threshold is.
Once you have this information you are ready to start your threshold training. You need a couple of things to do this properly. Firstly you need your heartrate monitor and a hand towel because you’ll be sweating a fair bit. You need access to a gym and you will also need either your dad, a trainer, or a friend etc that can yell abuse at you (encouragement) while you’re doing it to make sure you keep up the intensity. It is almost impossible to do anaerobic threshold training properly without somebody there with you to keep you pushing. If you don’t have access to a gym you can get a similar type of work out by bringing a mate along with you for your run/cycle workout. However, your friend will likely need to be a little fitter than you are in order to not only keep up with you but still have the energy to keep you motivated during the workout with constant feedback. For those on a cycle, it works well to have your friend on an e bike behind you yelling encouragement.
15 minute threshold workout:
- Your 15 minute workout will consist of 3 x five minute workouts on three different machines, with no rest in between.
- The first five minute workout should be done on the Elliptical trainer (like a stepper but uses the arms as well). You need to sprint as hard as you can for the whole 5 minutes, trying to keep your heartrate right on your threshold.
- As soon as you finish your first five minutes you need to hop off and get on the rowing machine and start rowing as quick as you can. Sprint row as fast as you can until your heart rate reaches your threshold once again. The rowing machine will blow out your upper body quite quickly but keep pushing right the way until your five minutes is up.
- Then quickly hop off the rowing machine and straight onto your final machine. This last five minute session can be done either on a treadmill running, or a stationary cycle, or you can go back on the Elliptical trainer that you used for the first five minutes. You need to once again sprint as hard as you can for the whole five minutes. Trying to keep your heart rate right up on your threshold.
You will feel pretty second hand after this fifteen minute session. You might even have a spew and certainly feel light headed if you have pushed yourself hard enough. You should fairly quickly afterwards have a real light spin on the cycle just to try to help flush out the lactic acid from your muscles.
You can’t do this type of training every day. It takes a lot out of your body and takes a while to recover from. You need at least two days in between these sessions and that is if you are already a reasonably fit athlete. And never do one of these sessions less than three days out from a race/event.
It takes weeks and sometimes even months, but with the right training you can actually bump up your magical threshold number. For me, back in the early 2000’s (2002 to be exact) I managed to get my threshold from 158bpm up to 163bpm after 8 weeks of threshold training.
PLEASE READ: Anaerobic Threshold training is not for everyone! If you don’t fall into the ‘well trained athlete’ category then please check with your doctor prior to doing any Threshold Training. A good fitness base and overall level of health is needed prior to conducting this training.