Building Aerobic Fitness

What is Aerobic fitness?

Let’s start with the definition: Aerobic - in the presence of, or with, oxygen.

In a nutshell

Aerobic fitness is your body's ability to transport and utilize oxygen for energy production for muscle cell use. There are two main components:

  1. Delivery - the ability of your lungs, heart and vascular system to deliver oxygen to your muscles via your blood stream.
  1. Extraction - the ability of muscle cells to extract oxygen from blood and use it to make ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the fundamental carrier of energy in cells.

Other influences include gender, age and of course old faithful – genetics

Why We Employ The Aerobic System?

It’s all about that base baby!! Strength and aerobic bases are the two vital foundations of physical fitness performance.

In a nutshell

Aerobic training, known also as base training – the building blocks to developing fitness. An old adage comes to mind, ‘a house is only being as strong as the foundation it’s built.’ No house can survive for long with a weak foundation and so it is with Warfighting Athletes and aerobic training.

How We Employ The Aerobic System

In a nutshell

Generally we prescribe 2-3 Aerobic focused sessions each training week. These sessions come in many forms, from interval based sessions, targeting the higher thresholds, to steady state refreshers to help promote recovery. The use of running, rowing, swimming, rucking, assault biking, cycling and met-con helps maintain variety as well as achieving general exposure across different forms of movement.

Here are a few examples from our ESP (Energy Systems Protocol):

ESP-4 Row / Aerobic Power


Target Times / sec

W/R Ratio


% WE

1000m Row





*Walk recovery b/t repeats. Record each repeat time.

ESP-8 Run/Walk / Aerobic Endurance



% WE

30-35kg pack/ruck move – over mixed terrain



ESP-10 Met-Con / Aerobic Power & Muscular Endurance




% WE

For Time:

500m Row or 400m Run

15 Thrusters 50kg

15 2inch Deficit Chest To Ground Press Ups

15 Chest To Bar Pull Ups

50m Barbell Carry 50kg

4min b/t sets



The Fruits of Our Labour

There a number of key benefits associated to Aerobic training:

  • Increases in red blood cell production and delivery to muscles.
  • Cardiovascular and respiratory efficiency.
  • Improves body composition
  • Fat oxidation
  • Lowers stress and anxiety
  • Helps you feel better!

The kicker for me is seeing a slower resting heart rate, and a slower heart rate for the same exercise intensity.



  • Joana Hetchman

    very interesting , good job and thanks for sharing such a good blog.

  • Stuart Manners

    Great workouts for all round performance

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