Fit 4 Life | 5 tips for building muscle endurance
Muscular endurance is a basic component of fitness. In technical terms, it refers to the ability of muscles to contract repetitively and consistently over a period of time. It is the ability to perform physical activity for a time. The longer we want to maintain the activity, the greater the endurance required. The value this longevity holds for performance in sports, training, everyday activities cannot be overstated.
Even something as simple as sitting will require some endurance of the core and back muscles to keep you upright in the seat for the duration of the activity.
So how does one build muscle endurance? Well, we first have to start with an understanding of our goal. The muscle endurance we are discussing should not be confused with cardiovascular endurance. Think of it as strength endurance. As such, resistance training will grant the greatest improvement. However, for noticeable results, this training must be specific for building endurance.
Here are five tweaks you can make to your training programme to improve muscular endurance.
TIME TO GET SPECIFIC
The first move towards building endurance is introducing exercises that target this component of fitness into your training sessions. The specificity principle of training demands it; you get the results you train for. Two endurance sets per training session is a good place to start.
Training endurance requires duration. Working against high resistance limits the duration for which we can maintain the movement. The result is a small effect on endurance. Reducing resistance, however, allows us to target muscular endurance with longer sets. The ACSM recommends between 10 and 25 repetitions (reps) per set when training endurance.
Controlling rest times is another way of boosting endurance. Limit rest based on the duration and intensity of the exercise, for example, for exercises lasting up to 15 reps, rest for under a minute. On longer sets, rest periods should not exceed two minutes.
For advanced athletes, the rest-pause technique is great for boosting endurance. Under rest-pause, an exercise is performed for a number of reps, after which a very short break is taken (five to 30 seconds), then the exercise is continued. For example, a rest-pause scheme for push-ups could follow the order, 30 reps, 7 seconds of rest, 10 reps, 15 seconds of rest, and finish with 5 reps.
HIT THE CIRCUITS
Circuit training is another technique for boosting endurance. Under circuit training, several different exercises are strung together without a rest period between. This means the muscles only have the time it takes to switch exercises for recovery, resulting in more work time and greater effect on endurance.
Training to failure is another way to boost endurance. When training to failure, one involves performing the exercise until you are unable to do another rep. When applying this technique, look out for breakdowns in form as this could result in injuries.