How to Improve Your Aerobic Capacity – Tips & Tricks

Improve Aerobic Capacity: Tips and Tricks

Alyssa Bialowas

Cardiovascular exercise improves the ability to both move oxygen and nutrients to working muscles and to remove metabolic waste, which allows muscles to continue to perform a particular activity. Your fitness level depends on how effectively you can use oxygen at any given point in time during exertion.


Exercise scientists previously thought that the only way to improve aerobic capacity is with aerobic endurance training, however recent evidence proves otherwise.

Related Article: A New Form Of Aerobic Training: Micropause

The Literature


The aim of the current study was to test the effects of sprint interval training performed in the field on aerobic performance in trained athletes. Sprint interval training have the potential to be more efficient at improving short-sprint performance than methods such as endurance training, circuit training, and strength training (Herraea et al., 2018).


One of the main limitations of sprint interval research was the fact that prior studies were performed within a laboratory setting rather than on the field. Herrara et al. (2018) hypothesized that six sessions of sprint interval training over two weeks would significantly improve short-term running performance.


Trail runner

The Study

Sixteen healthy individuals volunteered to take part in the study. 12 of them were women, and 4 of them were men. All subjects were trail runners who performed regular moderate-intensity exercise 3–5 times per week. Subjects participated in a familiarization procedure to become oriented with the testing protocols. They also completed pre-testing, two weeks of sprint interval training, and a post-test.

Two days after the pretesting procedure, the shuttle run training period occurred which consisted of the same program, three times a week, for the course of two weeks. Participants ran the 3000-meter time trial during the training period of this study. The shuttle training volume increased from 4 to 7 bouts over the first 5 sessions, reduced to 4 in the last session. All periods of training were to be completed at maximum capacity, with 4 minutes of rest in between sessions (Herraea et al., 2018).


The Results

The results of this study indicate that sprint interval training improves aerobic capacity. In this study, maximal aerobic speed improved by 2.3%, peak power increased by 2.4%, and mean power increased by 2.8%. In the 3000-m time trial, participants experienced a time that was 6% shorter than their pre-test, whereas time to exhaustion was 42% longer in participants after the training protocol.



Sprint interval training significantly improved the 3,000-m run, time to exhaustion, and peak power in runners. Sprint interval training is a time-efficient means of improving both endurance and power performance in trained athletes and should be used as a tool to improve aerobic capacity (Herraea et al., 2018).


How To Improve Your Aerobic Capacity


Understand how your body builds endurance –

Cardiovascular performance is built on three variables:

1) Heart rate (how many times your heart beats per minute)

2) Stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped per heartbeat)

3) Heart contractility (the forcefulness of each actual contraction of your heart muscle)


As each of these variables increase, the amount of blood flow and oxygen supply to your exercising muscles also increases.

Slow aerobic training or HIIT?

With HIIT – Optimize your heart capacity, raising your VO2 max, increase the number and density of your mitochondria, and strengthen your skeletal muscles for higher force production and better venous return to your heart.


For strength-related goals, enhancing aerobic capacity can improve blood, oxygen and nutrient flow to working muscles and help with recovery, especially at rest. Improving the flow of blood to muscles can also help improve flexibility. For weight-loss or endurance-training goals, improving aerobic capacity is essential for achieving them.


Related Article: Which Is the Best for Aerobic Performance – HIIT or Endurance?

cycling along lake

Your HIIT Workout

The endurance exercises you already participate in, such as running, cycling, rowing, swimming and stair climbing, can all be easily converted to interval workouts. Interval workouts must have a period of rest in between intervals, which allows your body to recover in between.

Start with a 10-minute workout – sprint for 30 seconds, walk for 30 seconds, five times. Start to increase the duration of your workout to increase and improve aerobic capacity.




Herrara, R., Koral, J., Millet, G., & Oranchuk, D. (2018). “Six Sessions of Sprint Interval Training Improves Running Performance in Trained Athletes.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 32, 3, 617-623.


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