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5 Workouts to Improve Aerobic Capacity

We’ve all been there at some point in our workout. It doesn’t matter if it’s Fran (short and fast, gotta love that girl) or a large chipper like Murph. We’re breathing hard, doubled over, border lining on going anaerobic/redlining/etc. We feel like we can’t breathe and that we have to stop moving in order to catch our breath.

This, dear friends, is aerobic capacity at it’s finest. Not to be confused with lung capacity, the volume of air that your lung’s can hold, aerobic capacity is the maximum amount of oxygen that your body can utilize during an exercise session. Ever hear someone use the term “VO2 Max?” It’s the same thing. Aerobic Capacity = VO2 Max.The good news is that it is absolutely possible to train your body to utilize more oxygen. By doing this, you’ll be able to go harder longer. Think about those people at the gym who can crank through Fran in 2ish minutes, and be fine a minute or 2 later. These athletes have a higher VO2 max.

Below you’ll find some workouts that I like to work into my programming to help increase/maintain my aerobic capacity. Currently, to maintain I’m doing one type of workout like this a week. If you’re looking to improve your capacity, I would suggest doing 2 days a week (possibly Tuesday/Thursday). Do NOT do a normal workout and then do these as an after thought. Let these be your main workout for the day.

 Some of you may be asking why running long distances/time won’t improve your aerobic capacity. In a way it will, slowly. If you want to see greater results it’s best to do runs that do a mix of short bursts of all out energy with steady state work (ie: 30 seconds hard/30 seconds recover)

Speaking of bursts of all out energy: In the workouts below, when you are working, you are working ALL OUT as HARD AS YOU CAN…you can rest during the slower time/after the WoD. Now, without further ado, here are the workouts, in no particular order:

Aerobic Capacity Workout 1

AirDyne 30sec @ 90% effort
AirDyne 30sec @ 50% effort
x 10
+
Row 30sec @ 90% effort
Row 30sec @ 50% effort
x 10

If no AirDyne, break out a normal bike riding along the road or another safe path. The point is massive burst, back down to sustained pace

Aerobic Capacity Workout 2

Run 30sec @ 90% effort
Run 30sec @ 50% effort
x 8
+
Airdyne 30sec @ 90% effort
Airdyne 30sec @ 50% effort
x 8
+
30sec wall ball
30sec rest
X6

Wall balls are 20#/16# for Male/Female and 10ft/8ft targets respectively.
If no AirDyne, use a bike, row, or burpees as a substitute.

Aerobic Capacity Workout 3

13 rounds
Row 150m (around 30-45 seconds)
Rest 30 seconds
+
13 rounds
8 wall ball
12 walking lunges
Rest 30 seconds

“- Goal is same time for each set of row and same time for each set of wall ball/lunges
-Wall balls are 20# to a 10′ target for men, 14# to a 9′ target for women”

Aerobic Capacity Workout 4

6 rounds
30 seconds burpees
30 seconds rest
+
6 rounds
30 seconds wall ball
30 seconds rest
+
6 rounds
Row 30 seconds @ 90% effort
Row 30 seconds @ 50% effort

Aerobic Capacity Workout 5

10min AMRAP
20 burpees
20 Double Unders
+
Run 10min
+
10min AMRAP
10 medicine ball slams (sub out with Wall Ball shots if you don’t have a “slam ball”)
Row 300m