Muscular endurance refers to how long muscles can sustain an exercise. Improving muscular endurance can help improve overall health and fitness.
This article explores the benefits of muscular endurance, the best workout routines to improve it, and how people can adapt these techniques into common exercises. We’ll also look at tips for preventing injury during training and how to design an exercise program that could lead to long-term performance and health benefits.
What is muscular endurance?
Muscular endurance is the ability to continue to contract a muscle, or group of muscles, against resistance, such as weights or body weight, for a period of time. Increasing the performance of these muscles means they can continue to contract and work against these forces. Greater muscular endurance allows a person to perform more repetitions of an exercise, such as push-ups or squats.
Benefits of muscular endurance training
The benefits of muscle endurance are:
help maintain good posture and stability for longer periods of time
improve the aerobic capacity of the muscles
improve the ability to perform daily functional activities, such as lifting heavy objects
increasing athletic performance in endurance sports.
How to measure muscular endurance
Muscular endurance tests measure the number of repetitions of a movement a person can complete before the muscles reach a state of fatigue and can no longer continue the exercise. Many tests focus on measuring upper and lower body muscular endurance by measuring the number of push-ups, squats, or sit-ups people can perform. A person can work with fitness instructors to measure their muscular endurance or record how many repetitions of a particular exercise they can perform before reaching a fatigued state.
How to improve stamina
To improve muscular endurance, a combination of exercises for the lower and upper body is best, with strengthening exercises targeting the whole body.
Moderate resistance training, interspersed with short rest intervals, creates brief bursts of tension to build strength. Circuit or high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be a suitable way to combine cardio and strength training into one workout.
Unless a person’s fitness goals involve training a particular endurance sport, training muscular endurance alone may not be the most appropriate strategy.
The best exercise programs combine strength and muscular endurance training
There is also some data to suggest that exercise programs that people find enjoyable are more likely to generate long-term benefits because they are more likely to stick with them. A 2015 study comparing HIIT training and steady-state training notes that variety in the type of exercise is as important as the type of exercise. Especially considering that the health benefits of exercise must be considered in the context of the likelihood that exercise will be continued for several years, not just the weeks of a controlled study.
Training for muscular endurance
When training to improve muscular endurance, what matters most is not the type of exercise, but how people think about their training. People should consider the following when adapting their training to improve muscular endurance:
the number of repetitions
the weight or resistance force on the muscles
the number of series
duration or periods of rest
Individuals who train for muscular endurance should aim to complete at least three sets of 15 or more reps with a load of 50% or less of their maximum rep capacity (RM). The one-repetition max is the maximum load with which a person can perform one repetition of an exercise.
For example, a person may wish to use the leg press at the gym to build leg endurance.
As their muscular endurance increases, they can make the exercise more difficult by reducing rest times between sets or increasing the number of reps per set, rather than increasing the weight of the load. A person can apply the same principle of high volume of reps and sets, low to moderate load, and short rest periods to any exercise, such as the bench press, barbell curls, push-ups, or squats. . People can choose exercises that match their preferences and that are challenging but enjoyable enough to keep the workout going.
Examples of exercises
As mentioned before, there are no specific exercises that are better than others for training muscular endurance. It is the design of a training program that makes it suitable for endurance training.
The following exercises can help you build muscular endurance, which you can perform at home without equipment:
Begin in a push-up position by lifting the body off the floor with the hands and toes, with the body in a straight line, horizontal to the floor.
Keep your hands flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart and about level with your chest. Start with the arms straight, then bend the arms while keeping the body straight and working the core and glutes, to lower the body until the chest is close to the floor.
Straighten your arms to return to the starting position. Repeat 5 to 15 times, depending on difficulty, to complete a set.
A person can also work the triceps more by placing their hands together and turning them inward so that the fingers and thumbs form a diamond shape. To facilitate the exercise, one can place the hands on a bench or other stable and raised surface. One can also modify a push-up by placing the knees on the ground to make it easier, or lifting one leg off the ground to make it more difficult.
Stand with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart, toes pointing slightly outward.
With the head facing forward in a neutral position and the back straight, extend the arms in front, so that they are parallel to the floor.
Squat down with your knees bent, keeping your body weight centered on the arches of your feet and your thighs parallel to the floor.
Keep your back straight, shoulders back and chest forward.
Use the feet, legs, and hips to come back up to the starting position.
Beginners should aim for 5-10 reps, and they can perform the squat against a wall or complete the movement while seated on a low surface to make it easier.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
Place the hands lightly on the back of the head and chin tucked in.
Slowly curl your upper body toward the knees, keeping your lower back on the mat.
Slowly lower back to the starting position.
Perform 10-15 reps for a beginner set.
Stand straight with your feet together.
Bend one knee, lift the opposite leg, take a step forward on it, put the foot flat on the floor and bend the supporting leg, so that the knee reaches the bottom.
Use the front leg to come back up to the starting position and repeat the exercise with the opposite leg.
Perform 10-15 reps on each leg for a beginner set.