Even though anaerobic exercise technically means exercise without oxygen, you wouldn't last very long during an anaerobic workout if you stopped breathing. Anaerobic exercise uses glycogen stores in your blood as its primary energy source, allowing you to perform quick or intense bouts of exercise without ramping up your cardiovascular system. Typically, these workouts are short and intense, allowing you to build muscle and speed up your metabolism.
Weight training involves load-bearing exercises that result in intense muscle contractions. You can lift dumbbells or other hand weights virtually anywhere and workouts are surprisingly versatile. Pump up your arms with curls, flyes and presses, then work out your legs with dumbbell lunges, squats and calf raises. Your heart rate will shoot up during weight training, but your oxygen consumption will remain steady.
During isometric exercises, your muscles contract, but they don't noticeably change length and the affected joint doesn't move. Instead, you hold yourself in position against a resisting force, usually gravity. Holding yourself up in a plank or down in a squat are examples of isometrics that can be done anywhere. Isometrics won't improve speed or athletic performance, since they're done statically, but they will improve strength in that position. People with high blood pressure should generally avoid isometric exercises, since the static holding positions result in significant muscle tension, dramatically increasing blood pressure.
Plyometrics are basically the opposite of isometric exercises. Instead of holding your body in a static position, you perform a series of fast, explosive movements that cause your muscles to lengthen then shorten in quick succession. Plyometric exercises such as burpees, box jumps and jumping jacks boost your heart rate and force your muscles to deal with impacts.
Sprinting and Jump Rope
Although you can't hit the track in your own home, you can perform sprints in place to get the benefits of high-intensity anaerobic exercise. Sprinting and rapid jump-rope sessions increase your heart rate far more than a leisurely jog. The faster your heart beats, the more oxygen you'll consume. After a short period of time, you'll exceed your aerobic capacity and your body will produce energy anaerobically, increasing muscle mass and boosting your metabolism.
Steven Kelliher is an experienced sports writer, technical writer, proofreader and editor based out of the Greater Boston Area. His main area of expertise is in combat sports, as he is a lifelong competitor and active voice in the industry. His interviews with some of the sport's biggest names have appeared on large industry sites such as ESPN.com, as well as his own personal blog.