- Not requiring, or capable of occurring, in the absence of air or free oxygen.
- Caused by, or relating to, the lack of molecular oxygen.
Anaerobic may be used to describe an organism, a cell, a process or a mechanism that can function without air (i.e. air to generally mean oxygen). This is in contrast to the term aerobic, which means requiring air or free oxygen.
From French anaérobie, coined in 1863 by Louis Pasteur, from Greek an- (“without”) + aer (“air”) + bios (“life”).
Related forms: anaerobe (noun), anaerobically (adverb).
Anaerobic exercise is exercise intense enough to trigger Lactic acid fermentation. It is used by athletes in non-endurance sports to promote strength, speed and power and by body builders to build muscle mass. Muscle energy systems trained using anaerobic exercise develop differently compared to aerobic exercise, leading to greater performance in short duration, high intensity activities, which last from mere seconds to up to about 2 minutes. Any activity lasting longer than about two minutes has a large aerobic metabolic component.