The key difference between aerobic and anaerobic muscles is that the aerobic muscles require oxygen for their functions, whereas the anaerobic muscles do not require oxygen for functioning.
Muscles are the main components that involve in our movements. Moreover, they aid in maintaining the body shape. Muscles are able to respire both aerobically and anaerobically. Therefore, muscles undergo functions in the presence and absence of oxygen. Based on that, there are two muscles namely aerobic and anaerobic muscles. Aerobic muscles require oxygen for their cellular respiration. In other words, these muscles depend on oxygen for energy generation. Hence, mitochondria are present in large numbers. On the other hand, anaerobic muscles do not require oxygen for the generation of energy. They have mitochondrial fragments or the enzymes required for anaerobic respiration. Therefore, they do not depend on oxygen. Thus, the main difference between aerobic and anaerobic muscles is the requirement of oxygen.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What are Aerobic Muscles
3. What are Anaerobic Muscles
4. Similarities Between Aerobic and Anaerobic Muscles
5. Side by Side Comparison – Aerobic vs Anaerobic Muscles in Tabular Form
What are Aerobic Muscles?
When oxygen is present, aerobic muscles produce energy for their muscular activities. These muscles carry out oxidative phosphorylation as the main energy-generating process. Also, at the end of the respiration process, aerobic muscles produce a total of 32 ATP molecules from a glucose molecule. Furthermore, aerobic respiration that occurs in aerobic muscles is a slow and prolonged process. It is kind of a sustainable process of receiving energy in muscles. However, when oxygen is not available, these muscles are able to choose alternative methods that do not require oxygen to produce energy.
A higher number of mitochondria are present in aerobic muscles to carry out efficient oxidative phosphorylation. In comparison, anaerobic muscles do have a fewer number of mitochondria. Furthermore, muscle contraction process of aerobic muscles is different from that of the anaerobic muscles.
Aerobic exercises such as brisk walking, mowing, running, swimming and biking uphill are some of the intense aerobic exercises that increase the aerobic respiration in aerobic muscles.
What are Anaerobic Muscles?
In the absence of oxygen, some muscles undergo anaerobic respiration to fulfil their energy requirements. They are the anaerobic muscles. Also, aerobic muscles use glycolysis instead of oxidative phosphorylation to produce energy. However, glycolysis produces less amount of energy compared to oxidative phosphorylation. But, the generation of energy is faster in anaerobic respiration. Since anaerobic muscles do not undergo oxidative phosphorylation, they contain less number of mitochondria. They have only mitochondrial fragments which can release enzymes that require for the glycolysis.
Besides, anaerobic muscles produce only 2 ATP molecules via anaerobic respiration from one molecule of glucose. Also, it results in lactic acid as a by-product that can lead to the development of cramps in the anaerobic muscles. Moreover, this can lead to the fatigues of the anaerobic muscles.
Anaerobic muscles have a reduced blood flow within them. This is one of the reasons for a muscle to turn into an anaerobic muscle.
What are the Similarities Between Aerobic and Anaerobic Muscles?
- Aerobic and Anaerobic Muscles are capable of producing ATP as energy.
- Both are resultants of different exercising states.
What is the Difference Between Aerobic and Anaerobic Muscles?
Oxygen availability is important for muscles in order to produce energy via respiration. If oxygen is present, muscles undergo aerobic respiration. Hence, they become aerobic muscles. Opposing to that, when oxygen is absent, muscles carry out anaerobic respiration. Hence, they become anaerobic muscles. Therefore, this is the main difference between aerobic and anaerobic muscles. Another difference between aerobic and anaerobic muscles is that the amount of mitochondria present. Aerobic muscles have more mitochondria than the anaerobic muscles. Furthermore, aerobic muscles produce more ATP molecules by oxidative phosphorylation while anaerobic muscles are able to produce less number of ATP via glycolysis.
The below infographic provides more facts on the difference between aerobic and anaerobic muscles.
Summary – Aerobic vs Anaerobic Muscles
Aerobic and anaerobic muscles are two muscle categories based on their requirement of oxygen. Aerobic muscles require oxygen, whereas anaerobic muscles do not require oxygen. Accordingly, aerobic muscles depend on oxidative phosphorylation, whereas, anaerobic muscles depend on glycolysis for energy generation. In the end, aerobic muscles produce more energy in comparison with the anaerobic muscles. Thus, this summarizes the difference between aerobic and anaerobic muscles.
1.“Muscle Metabolism: Aerobic vs. Anaerobic.” Dynamic Chiropractic – Chiropractic, News, Articles, Research & Information for Chiropractors – Find a Chiropractor, 20 Mar. 2000. Available here