I am trying to increase the amount of sprinting and cutting that I can do consecutively without getting burned out.

I recently started a tough workout program/plan that has me doing jumps and lunges followed immediately by sprints with little down time in between reps. The "little" downtime turned into "more" downtime because I couldn't keep the pace up.

What's the best way to increase my anaerobic energy levels so I can increase my intensity and decrease my recovery time?

I'm 25, if that makes a difference.

Edit: I should also add that I am 6'2", 190lbs and have been very active my whole life.

I think what I am looking for is some general information on anaerobic endurance, anaerobic recovery and how to improve them./Edit

Edit: I know how to pace my self as a distance runner, so I know what my aerobic energy levels can sustain over various distances. All of the exercises in this program surpass the levels that I can sustain continuously. How can I teach my body to recover quickly so I can surpass my aerobic levels repeatedly and then recover very, very quickly?/Edit

  • A couple questions: 1. What do you mean by "sprinting and cutting"? I know what sprinting (I'm assuming you are talking in the context of running) but I'm not sure what "cutting" is. 2. What do you mean by "getting burnt out"? Do you mean fatigued, winded or lactic acid build-up? 3. What are you training for? General fitness? A specific sport? A specific competition? It sounds a little like you want a workout to help you get better at this particular workout program which wouldn't make sense. If your current program isn't working (or you can't complete it) you should modify your program.
    – matt
    Commented Apr 7, 2011 at 20:25
  • I forgot to ask, how far are the sprints generally?
    – matt
    Commented Apr 7, 2011 at 20:29
  • Sprinting: 40 yards at 100%
    – Josh G
    Commented Apr 7, 2011 at 20:35
  • Cutting: Think shuttle runs.
    – Josh G
    Commented Apr 7, 2011 at 20:35
  • I'm training for competitive Ultimate, but it's somewhat similar to soccer or football training.
    – Josh G
    Commented Apr 7, 2011 at 20:35

2 Answers 2


What you're looking to do is increase your Anaerobic threshold

Here's how it works. When you're in your aerobic range, your muscles are effectively burning oxygen and food energy. As the intensity increases, your body burns more energy and oxygen increasing your breathing rate and heart rate.

As you approach your anaerobic threshold you max out your body's ability to meet the energy needs through oxygen based metabolism alone (ie, your oxygen consumption maxes out and plateaus). From that point on you are reaching into the anaerobic range, or your blood is beginning to become saturated with lactate because your body is no longer able to process the amount being produced fast enough.

What you'll notice is, if you take a break and let your heart rate drop down to about the 140bpm range after a short hard sprint you'll feel completely refreshed (well, your muscles may feel tired from the strain). That's because your body had enough time and oxygen available to process the lactate in your blood and bring it back down to normal levels. That's also why it's important to properly cool down after anaerobic exercises (unless you like feeling sore the next day).

The key here is increasing your anaerobic threshold, or your body's ability to process the greater quantities of lactate being produced as you increase your workout intensity. To do this is simple, just increase the intensity more and more over time.

To sustain the intensity, just be sure to include low intensity periods where your body will have the chance to bring the lactate levels back down.

By the numbers you posted, it sounds like you're doing great already. Just be sure to include enough rest time between workouts to fully recover. Take a look at "The Importance of Rest Days". Increasing the amount that you workout may be detrimental to your progress. Especially since recovery periods are even more important after anaerobic exercise.


Creatine supplements can improve your ability to perform brief, intermittant, high intensity exercises. This is specifically useful in weight training and sprint training. By taking creatine supplements you increase your muscles stores of Phosphocreatine (PCr), which is used in the ATP/PC energy pathway (utilized for short bursts of intense activity < 10s). By increasing the stores of PCr you can extend the performance of the ATP/PC system and shorten it's recovery time. While you may see some better performances from the supplementation, it's primarily suited for allowing you to train longer and harder, so the specific training you do is going to be important.

If you are talking about repeated sprints that are in excess of 100m you are going to see diminishing returns from supplementation the longer you go. To make improvements in this area you are going to need to do some training that targets the Glycolytic Pathway.

If you answer the questions in my comment I can provide a more specific answer about how to train to achieve the outcome.

Update: From the sounds of it you need to build your cardio base some more. Without knowing a time frame I can't really make any suggestions. You can continue on with the workouts as you are doing them and why they aren't intended to be cardio workouts they will serve this function until you are able to maintain the effort and stress the anaerobic lactic system. If you have a lot of time it would be much more efficient to follow a periodized training plan that builds a cardio base before moving into phases that focus on lactic and alactic speed.

  • Can you provide more detail about this "Glycolytic Pathway"? Is creatine found in any foods, or does it have to be taken as a supplement?
    – Josh G
    Commented Apr 7, 2011 at 20:57
  • 1
    The Glycolytic pathway is one of the three main energy pathways that our bodies use. They are in order of activation the ATP-PC system, Anaerobic Lactic (or Glycolytic) system and Aerobic system. This is an over simplification because in reality they are not exactly chronological but they do operate this way. You can read a very basic overview of the energy system on wikipedia.
    – matt
    Commented Apr 7, 2011 at 21:10
  • Creatine is found in many foods and is synthesized naturally in your liver. Supplementation is not necessary and I wouldn't recommend it unless you are already training at a high level of efficiency. From the sounds of it I don't think this is what you need. If you answer my last two questions above I'll do my best to make a suggestion.
    – matt
    Commented Apr 7, 2011 at 21:11
  • I appreciate your help. I don't think aerobic training is the answer. I've been running short distances for a while now, and my times are decent given that I don't have the build of a distance runner. I can do: 6:00 x 1mi, 6:30 x 2mi, 7:00 x 5K, 7:30 x 5mi. All of the exercises in this program are anaerobic except the warm up and cool down.
    – Josh G
    Commented Apr 8, 2011 at 11:40
  • After starting to read that wiki article on energy systems, I'm wondering if maybe my ATP-PC system is dominating over my Anaerobic Lactic system. I need to train/improve my Anaerobic Lactic system.
    – Josh G
    Commented Apr 8, 2011 at 12:22

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