Examples of Anaerobic Exercises

If you are looking to find a workout routine that not only is effective but doesn’t require hours’ worth of effort to see those

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If you are looking to find a workout routine that not only is effective but doesn’t require hours’ worth of effort to see those effects, anaerobic exercises might be for you. Anaerobics are great for those wanting to lead a healthy lifestyle, but what are some exercise examples?

Examples of anaerobic exercises include tempo squats, lateral squats, squat to inchworm, fast feet, burpees, elevated push ups, saw planks, side plank walks, sprints, plank jacks to jumping jacks, burpee break dancer, and the speed squat thruster. 

Anaerobic exercises require those who are participating to push their endurance abilities and force themselves to sustain the exercises without wavering. These workouts can be intense, but they are a great way to lead to a healthy body overall, but also will build muscle and burn fat while doing so. Continue reading to see what separates anaerobic exercises from aerobic exercise and anaerobic exercises at a beginning, moderate, and advanced level.

What is the Difference Between Anaerobic and Aerobic Exercises?

You may quickly read over the word “anaerobic” and instantly see the word “aerobic.” Aerobics is a much more failure term for many, so the confusion is completely understandable. However, these two types of exercise methods are not one in the same and should be distinguished from one another. What exactly are the differences between anaerobic and aerobic exercises?

What are Anaerobic Exercises?

Anaerobic exercises consist of very quick bursts of energy that come through maximum effort over a short period of time. They are high-intensity interval workouts that increase your heart rate and respiration rapidly causing you to take short breaths rather than breathe at a steady and controlled pace. Through this, your body does not rely on oxygen for its energy, but takes the immediate energy that comes from the breaking down of glucose to fuel your action.

What are Aerobic Exercises?

Opposite of anaerobic exercises are aerobic exercises. This type of exercise relies heavily on using oxygen as the main energy source to fuel the workout. When your heart rate is at rest during aerobic exercises, you breathe faster and deeper which helps to maximize the amount of oxygen in your blood. This then increases blood flow to the muscles and into your lungs through the increase of your heart rate.

Anaerobic Exercises for Beginners

Anaerobic exercises are strenuous, they push your body and your endurance, and they can be difficult to get used to if you are just a beginner. However, don’t let this scare you as there are plenty of beginner exercises for those of you who want to get your feet wet first before getting into more challenging exercises. Take a look below to find a few exercise variations that appeal to you and get started with your anaerobic workout.

Tempo Squats

© Fit Father Project – Fitness For Busy Fathers

To complete a tempo squat, start under a barbell with an amount of weight that is just enough to be difficult. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and place the bar on your shoulders. Go down into a squat position, but the key is to take the squat slowly and disperse your weight onto your midfoot. Then, slowly, go back up into a standing position and repeat this same motion into the next rep.

Lateral Squats

© Buff Dudes Workouts

For lateral squats, start with your feet wider than your hips with your knees and toes pointing forward. Shift your weight onto your left heel, push your hips back, and bend your left knee while your right leg remains straight. You will then drive through your left foot to reverse the movement. Be sure to focus not only on the repetition of this exercise, but keeping your core stabilized in order to work on your overall balance.

Squat to Inchworm

Start with your fingertips on your shoes and take your hands and place them on the floor as you walk them out in front of you to get into a push up position. Then, you will push your hips up as you walk your hands back to your feet. While keeping your hands on your feet, straighten your legs and then go into a squat position. Once the squat has been completed, walk your hands back out in front of you to complete another rep.

Fast Feet

© 7mlc

While you are standing, place your feet at hip-width and lower your body down into a half-squat position. Then, take your arms and reach them out in front of your torso. You will then lift up your heels, placing your body weight on the balls of your feet. Maintain this position and then begin running in place as fast as you can. Be sure to run in place rather than moving, which helps to engage your core and create stability.

Moderate Anaerobic Exercises

If you feel like you have gotten the hang of a few beginner anaerobic exercises, you may be looking to vamp up your routine and venture into a more moderate routine. Either implement a few of these moderate exercises into your beginner routine or splash them into a routine that is more advanced to allow for a few decreased activities.


© Well+Good

Burpees are a great way for you to increase your heart rate while also causing your body to burn a significant amount of calories due to the level at which this exercise is performed. To complete burpees, lower down into a squat position and place your hands on the floor. Kick your legs back into a plank position and then jump your legs forward to your hands and get back into a squat position.

You will then explode upwards and then land in a standing position. Then, place your hands back onto the floor and repeat the same steps to complete more reps.

Elevated Push Up

© Verywell Fit

For an elevated push up, you will need as the name implies: an elevated surface. On something like a box or a bench, place your hands on the surface with your arms straight and keep your hands directly below your shoulders. Then, walk your legs out behind you until they are fully extended and in a push up position. Keep your core engaged and maintain a straight line with your body. Go down into a pushup and back up, then repeat.

Saw Plank

For a saw plank, you will need to be on a surface that will allow your toes to move to some degree. You will then get onto your elbows and place them shoulder-width apart. Get into a plank position and extend your feet, keeping them together. Keeping your core stabilized, get onto your toes and flex them as you push your body forward. Once you have gone as far forward as you can, get back into the starting position and repeat.

Side Plank Walks

© ItrainStudio PT and Group Fitness Lancaster

Extending on the plank once again is the side plank walk. To complete a side plank walk, get down onto the floor and get into a planking position. Extend your arms until they are straight and take your left foot and begin moving to the left with your legs and arms. You will then continue in this direction for 10 steps. Once you have gotten to your stopping point, follow the same steps, but implement them for the right side of your body.

Advanced Anaerobic Exercises

If you have gotten past beginner and moderate anaerobic exercises and are looking for something more, try completing any of these various advanced anaerobic exercises. These are going to push your body in a way that will not only build muscle, but will cause you to rely on the stored energy within those muscles. These are great for those who want to push their body just a bit further.


Sprints may seem basic, but they are an incredible exercise for those who really want to challenge their endurance. There are three different ways that you can make these an aerobic workout. First, an 8 second spring followed by 12-seconds of jogging for 10-20 minutes. Second, 30-second sprint followed by a 4-mile run for 18-30 minutes. Third, a 40-yard sprint, walk back to the starting line, then repeat for 10-15 minutes.

Plank Jack to Jumping Jack

Start in a high plank position with hands shoulder-width apart and your body kept in a straight line. Keeping your upper body stable, jump your feet a few feet apart and then back together. You will then jump your feet towards your hands, stand up, then complete one jumping jack while standing. Bring your hands back down to the ground and hop your feet back into a plank position then restart to complete another rep.

Burpee Breakdancer

© POPSUGAR Fitness

You will also start this position in a high plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your body kept straight. Bring up your right hand and sweep your left leg under your body as you pivot to allow your right hand to touch your left foot. Return into a plank position and repeat these same steps, but with your left foot.

Once both sides of your body have gone through this step, get back into a plank position and jump your feet forward towards your hands. You will then explode upwards like you are completing a burpee and land with your knees bent. Then, lower your hands onto the group and hop your feet back into a plank which will be the start of your next rep.

Speed Squat Thruster

© Kettlebell Movement

For the speed squat thruster, stand with your feet hip-width apart and lower your body down into a squat with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. With your hands, touch the floor on the outside of both of your feet while your chest remains lifted. Keep your feet planted and then explode upward, pushing your hips out, straightening your knees, and raising your arms above your head. You will then land and lower your body back down into a squat and repeat.

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