Just like any other aspect of physical fitness, muscular endurance plays a big role in energy consumption and performing our day-to-day activities.
Even though we’re stuck at home and are less active because of the pandemic, it’s still important for us to learn about muscle strength and endurance. After all, staying cooped up indoors for prolonged periods could lead to muscle atrophy or the progressive loss of muscle strength, especially among older adults.
In this blog, we’ll teach you how to improve muscular endurance and your overall fitness.
What is muscular endurance?
Muscular endurance (or muscle endurance) describes the ability of a muscle or muscle groups to exert force repetitively and consistently over a given period. This means greater muscular endurance translates to a higher number of reps when performing a certain type of exercise. For example, a person with good muscle endurance may last longer when running, swimming, or rowing.
What is the difference between muscular strength & muscular endurance?
Even though these two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they are two completely different things. While both of them are related to fitness, they define two separate roles in your muscular system.
Muscular endurance is similar to stamina. It plays a big role in almost any athletic activity, and will tell you how many reps of exercise you can do. This means you can assess your muscular endurance by doing push-ups or sit-ups. In fact, you can test your muscle endurance by counting the maximum number of push-ups you can do until you’re unable to go any further.
On the other hand, muscular strength measures your capability and capacity to lift a certain amount of weight. You can evaluate your muscular strength by measuring the maximum weight you can lift over a given period. The maximum effort you exert is called a repetition maximum (RM) which you can measure directly by doing 1 RM. Your RM can also be estimated by doing multiple repetitions with a lighter weight.
In simple terms, building your muscular endurance will allow you to perform your exercises for a longer time. Meanwhile, increasing your muscular strength will enable you to lift heavier weights.
Why is muscular endurance important?
Improving muscle strength is important for sports like weight lifting, football, and wrestling. However, muscular endurance is more useful for everyday activities. For example, endurance training is what helps you carry heavy grocery bags over several flights of stairs.
On that note, improving your muscular endurance can also increase your energy level, improve your mood, and sleep better at night. Researchers share that maintaining a steady endurance level can help regulate your blood sugar and insulin levels. In turn, you can avoid diabetes and maintain a healthy body weight.
Endurance training can also help you avoid the risk of osteoporosis.
Which activities help develop muscular endurance?
Before deciding on the right activity, you need to choose your loading and volume, rest period, and workout frequency. Also, consider if your muscular endurance workout is fit for a person of beginner, intermediate, or advanced level.
Since muscular endurance is all about repetitions, you should take note of the proper load management or amount of weight that you will be using over an extended amount of time. And if you’re thinking of how to improve muscle endurance, here are some workout routines to include in your activities:
Want to know an effective way to improve your endurance without using complex equipment? Try cardio training.
Basic fitness activities like running and cycling help your muscles gear up for endurance and help develop your cardiovascular endurance.
Weight training is another great option. Weight or resistance-based exercises provide the right amount of stress to the muscles to help them get stronger through time.
Practice weight training and use low to moderate weights. Gradually increase the number of reps to improve your endurance. Weight training can be performed with free weights, such as barbells or dumbbells. You may also use a weight machine.
Another type of exercise you can get into is circuit training. Apart from improving your endurance, it also builds strength, flexibility, coordination, and muscle tone.
Circuit training increases your body’s ability to exert force consistently over time, with little to no rest time in between. If you’re just a beginner to circuit training, we’ve listed some easy, at-home exercises you can try to improve muscle endurance:
- Planks – Position yourself face down on the floor with your forearms and toes on the floor. Relax your head and keep your eyes on the floor. Engage your abdominal muscles and draw your navel toward your spine. Hold this form for 10 seconds.
- Body Weight Squats – Standing upright with your hands on the back of your head your feet shoulder-width apart on the floor. Bend your legs until your buttocks are parallel to your knees. Hold for a few seconds then return to your starting position.
- Walking Lunges – Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step forward with your right leg and place your weight into your heel. Bend your right knee and slowly drop your left leg at the back until it almost touches the ground. Hold the position for a beat then perform it on the other leg.
- Push-ups – Get down on all fours and start with a planking position. Keep your palms flat and your hands shoulder-width apart. Lower your body toward your hands until your chest is almost touching the floor. Pause for a beat then push yourself back up again. Repeat.
- Sit-ups – Lie on your back while keeping your legs slightly bent and your feet flat on the ground. Position your hands where it’s lightly touching your head by the ears. Lift your upper body and reach up until your hands reach the top of your knees. Return to your starting position.
Partner with LifeClinic to Boost Your Muscular Endurance
Challenge your body by performing tough workouts for muscle endurance. With proper knowledge and awareness, it will be easier for you to start and continue your journey toward improved fitness.
To learn more about fitness, explore the LifeClinic blog.