Old 01-20-12, 12:09 PM
Fat Boy
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Originally Posted by Creakyknees View Post
ok, sure... I'm not qualified to argue the science... but if all that's true, then how does anaerobic work increase FTP?
Fair enough.

The aerobic and anaerobic systems are not mutually exclusive. They are both in play at anything over a fairly modest output. Anaerobic (type 2 & 2x) muscles are working at FTP, so training them is bound to make them stronger and in the near term, engaging more of the anaerobic system at FTP will increase output (and lactate / H+ ions). In the longer term, it will start to hurt FTP because your aerobic system will start to disengage at higher work levels and let the carb-burning fast-twitch muscles take over. This is why if you only do short, hard workouts people say that you can have a good peak, but it won't last for long.

This is also why we base train at an endurance pace. You want your body to ignore the anaerobic system and really train it to use body fat as a fuel. Say, for argument's sake, normally these muscles can provide 45% of your VO2max output. A well developed aerobic system may be able to provide 50%+ of your output at VO2max. This can be a substantial power gain even though you haven't done any training at VO2max. Likewise, it's why coaches warn you to stay away from zone 3 workouts, especially in base. These engage the anaerobic system enough to make your body want to start burning carbs, but not enough to really stress the anaerobic system into adaptations.

When you do establish good aerobic fitness with proper base training you can see a peak closer to your genetic ultimate. Once you start training the high end, you can make your big gains in anaerobic fitness and still have the aerobic base which has yet to fade. This philosophy is at the heart of training with periodization.
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