7 January 2021

Human beings are designed to be aerobic. The more aerobic we are the more resilient we can be in life, period. The aerobic system is one of three energy systems (alactic,lactic and aerobic) but it tends to be forgotten. A lot of coaches forget it because frankly it can be boring and mind numbing and it’s the “unsexy” work. We believe it’s the single greatest contribution a coach can add to a training program.⠀

Benefits are:

-Aerobic training builds the lungs and muscles, which improves how efficiently one can produce energy. 

-In all forms of movement, the aerobic system is activated at some level. Therefore, a robust aerobic system prepares one for all other types of movements. 

-Enhances transportation of oxygen to working muscles.⠀

-Increased enzyme availability for muscle endurance.⠀

-Liberate Free Fatty Acids for fuel (regulates body fat distribution).⠀

-Speeds recovery between high-intensity training sessions.⠀

-Can improve mobility 

-Improves cardiovascular health and function.⠀

Two principles you need to keep in mind to increase aerobic capacity.

First, keep it sustainable. The aerobic system is how the body produces energy for long durations of activity. Therefore when you train the aerobic system keep the workouts sustainable. You should be able to complete the workout easily and if needed be able to do it again immediately. If the pace feels too slow, it’s probably the right pace.

Second, progress from slow to fast. To build aerobic capacity properly, create a progression that starts slow and increases pace over time. You need to first demonstrate sustainability in slower-paced training before going faster. 

Where to start?

The best place to start is cyclical work (e.g rowing, biking, running etc) anything that has a recurring pattern. Start slow, I once heard a great coach say “people need to do the slow stuff slower and the hard stuff harder” you don’t build an efficient aerobic system by burning the house down and going as hard as you can. 

Example workouts/Progressions:


2 sets:

15 min row@2:15/500m pace

-rest 5 min b/t sets-

*Each week you slightly increase your pace, make the duration slightly shorter and add more sets.


40 min @easy pace

3 min bike@52rpm

1 min left leg box step ups

1 min left side plank

3 min row@2:10/500m

1 min right leg box step ups

1 min right side plank


2 sets:

15 min AMRAP:

10 push ups

10 cal bike

10 ring rows

10 cal row

-rest 5 min  b/t sets-

*Each week you slightly increase your pace, make the duration slightly shorter and add more sets. 

The exercise selection and time frames will need to be changed depending on the person but this is a good starting point. There are lots of different progressions you could use, but the principle stays the same!

-Jake Mcmurray (owner/head coach)