Anaerobic capacity/anaerobically attributable power is an important parameter for athletic performance, not only for short high-intensity activities but also for breakaway efforts and end spurts during endurance events. Unlike aerobic capacity, anaerobic capacity cannot be easily quantified. The 3 most commonly used methodologies to quantify anaerobic capacity are the maximal accumulated oxygen deficit method, the critical power concept, and the gross efficiency method. This review describes these methods, evaluates if they result in similar estimates of anaerobic capacity, and highlights how anaerobic capacity is used during sporting activities. All 3 methods have their own strengths and weaknesses and result in more or less similar estimates of anaerobic capacity but cannot be used interchangeably. The method of choice depends on the research question or practical goal.
Noordhof and de Koning are with the MOVE Research Inst Amsterdam, VU University, Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Skiba is with the Dept of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK.