Anaerobic Energy

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Updated on Apr 17, 2013

Humans use two types of energy systems, the aerobic and the anaerobic. Most of us are familiar with aerobic power and aerobic exercise. In this system, the heartbeat and respiration increase and oxygen is pumped rapidly through the body. Anaerobic power, on the other hand, supplies energy without the use of oxygen by breaking down certain nutrients the body has stored. The anaerobic system is used when a person is going all out and working their muscles as hard as possible. There is only enough power in the anaerobic system to last a person between 2 and 5 minutes. Training the anaerobic system can increase a person’s ability to tap into this system as well as the duration of time they can use it for.


The purpose of this experiment is to determine an average person’s ability to use their anaerobic power system as well as their ability to increase their anaerobic capacity over a period of 2 weeks.


  • A timer
  • A few willing participants


  1. Find a few friends who are willing to help you with your experiment. You can complete the experiment with as few as one friend but more volunteers will give you better results.
  2. Determine which participants will train and which will not.
  3. Start by timing how long each person can run as fast as they possibly can.
  4. Use a timer and have each participant run around a track until they cannot run any further. Have them do this one at a time. It is important to have your participants run as fast as they possibly can or they will be using their aerobic power instead of their anaerobic power.
  5. Record the results on a chart such as the one below.
  6. Participants that will train should return to the track each day to run as fast as they can as long as they can.
  7. Participants that do not train should attempt to use only their aerobic system for the next two weeks.
  8. After two weeks, have your participants return to the track and time them again to see how long they can run as fast as they can.
  9. Record the results on a chart such as the one below.
  10. (optional) Have your participants demonstrate other anaerobic fitness tests at the start and end of the experiment. You can find examples of these on one of the links below.
Writer and educator Crystal Beran is rarely seen without a pen. Her adventures have brought her to four continents and her quest for answers has led her to discover more questions than she could fill all the pages with. She currently resides in Northern California, where she can be found sipping tea and writing books.

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