What is muscular endurance and how do you improve it?
Fitness fanatics ubiquitously are aware, and can surely empathise with that moment, when they’ve reached the end of their stamina as they push themselves to try and get in yet another set of bicep curls or triceps extensions or even when they ride their bike a little longer.
The sheer fortitude required in pushing the limits of your body when it’s all but screaming at you internally to stop forms the very essence of endurance.
Muscular endurance definition
What is muscular persistence? Muscular endurance is the ability of your muscle or muscle groups to withstand repeated contractions for an extended period.
If your muscles need to contract in a similar pattern more than once, you are using muscular endurance. Multiple repetitions of an exercise, whether weight training, resistance training or increasing your cardiovascular endurance with activities like cycling, swimming or running are forms of muscular endurance.
Muscular strength and muscular endurance
Are the two the same? No, but it is important to remember that you need to improve your muscular strength, to complement your endurance.
Strength training is absolutely vital to improving endurance. While muscular endurance is all about how long your muscle performs, muscular strength is about how hard it can perform. The stronger your muscle, the easier and less work it is to go the distance.
Strength and power training can also increase the number of fast-twitch muscle fibres that are in charge of defining a particular muscle.
Interested in strength training but not sure where to start or the amount of weight you should lift? Our previous blog about strength training program outlines a fantastic routine for beginners.
How to improve muscular endurance?
Muscular endurance can be improved by applying multiple fitness styles or even a combination of those into your usual fitness routine. Some of these are:
1. Cardio training
A favourite in the fitness community, this one is considered to be one of the most popular and effective exercises.
Cardiorespiratory fitness activities like running and cycling help your muscles gear up for endurance and assist in enhancing your cardiovascular endurance.
2. Strength Training
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends incorporating lower intensity strength training to improve your endurance.
A lot of Personal Trainers swear by weight training with moderate to low weights with increased repetitions.
3. Circuit training
Another popular one, circuit training is known to help build your local muscular endurance.
Muscular endurance exercises
While not exactly a walk in the park, it’s still not a mission impossible if you really set your mind to increase your endurance.
An effective muscle endurance program includes a good mix of exercises that put to use one or two limbs or joints. Your training program can be tailored to suit your training level – whether novice to advanced.
Here are 5 types of exercises that you can include in your exercise program to improve your form.
Try 5 reps and try to hold as long as possible. Towards the end when your arms start quivering is your confirmation that you’re indeed pushing your limits. Give yourself a break in between reps.
If you find this movement too difficult, start with your weight on your knees rather than your toes. Try to go for 5 sets with 15 reps.
- Body weight squats
Perform 5 sets of 25 reps while keeping your chest out, shoulders back and head neutral. You can widen your stance and point your toes outward for achieving maximum results.
Situps are great for working upper body muscles. Perform 5 sets with 25 number of repetitions in a controlled motion to maximise your muscle use.
- Walking lunges
Try 5 sets of 15 lunges on each leg while keeping your abdomen upright and your core engaged. You might have the urge to drop your torso but try to not give in to it.
Short rest periods are ideal for the training exercises that you perform. One to two minutes for high-repetition sets (20 to 25 repetitions or more) and less than a minute for 10 to 15 repetitions.
Endurance training: Why is it important?
Endurance training refers to exercising to increase strength, endurance, speed and stamina. But wondering why to go through all that rigorous rigmarole? Easy. Because performing endurance training workouts has numerous health benefits.
Cardiorespiratory endurance alone, for instance, builds the vital energy systems of the body, including the lactic acid system. Additionally, it increases your metabolism, reduces fatigue and enhances your sporting performance.
The more you improve your endurance, the harder you can go for a more extended amount of time.
Prevention is better than injury
Pumped to incorporate muscular training to your fitness routine? Fantastic! But remember, it is absolutely critical that you talk to your doctor and seek medical advice or consult a qualified Personal Trainer at the beginning of starting any new exercise plan, particularly if it’s been a while since you exercised.
Overexercising is real and has unpleasant consequences. Take precautions to prevent injuries as you begin or decide to train harder.
What are you waiting for? Get. Set. Go!