14 Jun 2018
In simple terms, endurance training refers to exercising to increase endurance. Generally, it's training the aerobic system as opposed to the anaerobic system.
Let’s say you want to run your first marathon, train for a Spartan race or do an Iron man event. Or maybe you’re wondering why you’re always in the reserve grade at your rugby club and want to do something about it.
Endurance training could well be the answer; a pretty unbreakable combination of strength, speed, and stamina.
Here are seven ways to get your body working at full fitness capacity as part of your endurance training routine:
Most of us think we have to do cardio and strength training separately and just as importantly, on different days. Why? So we work our bodies in diverse ways and avoid risking the sort of fatigue that comes through over-repetitive workouts.
Well, let’s shoot that down in flames ever so slightly. Fitness experts now say that one good combined workout per week is great for building endurance. In a combined workout, you’re attacking muscle strength through weights and heart and lung strength through cardio. And that’s what builds endurance.
You could go crazy on a skipping rope for a minute or two and then skip straight to a set of squats with a good, heavy weight. Trudge from there to the bench press, and if you’ve got anything left, run a mile as fast as you can.
Why do you take a break between sets? Is it because you’re genuinely collapsing in a heap? It’s all right if that’s the case but if not, you’re not maximising your workout’s capacity to increase endurance.
Resting is resting; it’s recovery and when we recover, our next exercise is easier (at least for the first few reps).
So don’t recover; or not for long. If you’re taking minute breaks, cut it to 30 seconds. If you’re taking 30 seconds, try 15 seconds and notice the difference. Burning, sweating, heavy breathing; that’s what you’re after if you want endurance.
Your body is an amazing piece of machinery. Give it a brand new workout and, for a while, it will be taxed by that workout. For a while; a few weeks at best. And that’s when the effectiveness of that program begins to taper off.
Keep your body guessing; don’t let it get used to anything. Change your workout routine regularly. If you run a lot, hop on a bike. If you’re always lifting weights, dive into a pool and swim lengths.
Bored or your usual workout routine and hankering for a new fitness challenge? Find out if a Bungee Workout or a HIIT program like Tabata is for you!
If you’re working your way through a nice comfy routine of stately ups and downs, you’re probably not building either endurance or stamina. Try adding some more explosive exercises like burpees, power pushups, jumping knee tucks and box jumps.
Find out how many times to workout in a week in our previous blog post.
No disrespect to squats, one of the everlasting exercises on the fitness chart, but a squat’s just a squat until you add an overhead press. And a lunge is just a lunge until you add bicep curls.
In other words, don’t let a limb exercise in isolation – à la bicep curls - while the rest of you whistles and gazes around the room. Get as many limbs involved in every exercise and you will be working both your muscles and lungs.
It might feel pretty satisfying almost bursting at the seams as you push out that last super rep of 3 with a ridiculously heavy bar, but it sure won’t help your tennis endurance. Throw in some lighter weight and push out the reps as fast as you can.
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