Faster, Better, Stronger
If you’re a regular at the gym, you’ve probably thought a lot about increasing lean muscle mass as well as your overall strength. After all, these are 2 main goals of resistance training.
But have you thought about muscle endurance?
Muscle endurance is your muscles’ ability to withstand repeated contractions against some sort of resistance for an extended amount of time.
While muscle endurance may not be your primary goal at the gym, it actually has a lot of practical applications. If you’re an athlete, it obviously plays a role in your athletic performance, as many sports involve repetitive movements. At a more basic level, greater muscle endurance can make for easier workouts and more efficient daily activities.
This article looks at 5 methods for increasing muscle endurance. Follow these tips, and watch your stamina improve in some major ways!
How to Increase Endurance: 5 Tips
1. Monitor Your Heart Rate – The easiest way to start monitoring your muscle endurance is to invest in a heart rate monitor like this Bowflex Classic Strapless Heart Rate Monitor. First, calculate your maximum heart rate, which you can determine by subtracting your age from 220. Those with a high level of muscular endurance can generally sustain repeated movements (cardio or resistance training) with a heart rate between 65 and 75%.
By monitoring your heart rate, you can start training your body and slowly improve your endurance over time. It’s a good indication of when you need to push yourself!
2. Lift a Little Less Weight – The best way to improve endurance with weight training is to do some exercises at a slightly reduced weight – approximately 75% of your maximum resistance (the point where you can’t lift anymore). Do 3 sets at about 15-20 reps. Exercises like squats, bicep curls, and tricep dips are all great exercises for improving endurance.
A bonus with lifting a little less weight is that you can also introduce supersets where you do two different exercises back to back without taking a rest. This will accelerate your heart rate and get you sweating bullets which is perfect for leaning you up and at the same time give you the capacity to improve each time you step into your workout.
3. Lift Faster – In addition to reducing your level of resistance, another effective method for improving endurance is to do reps at a faster-than-normal speed while at a reduced weight. Occasional exercises like this (1 or 2 per workout) will gradually build your muscle endurance over time.
4. Start High Intensity Interval Training – High intensity interval training (HIIT) is one of the most effective workout techniques for improving muscular endurance. It’s all about short bursts of super intense movements in a series of intervals. Within each interval, you’re totally pushing your body to endure. Read my article on HIIT here for more information, and consider investing in a good jump rope like this LCD Digital Jump Rope, which offers some great exercises for increasing muscle endurance.
5. Try a Creatine Supplement – Creatine has really gotten a bad rap in recent years, but there are a number of safe and effective Creatine supplements on the market that you should totally take advantage of. My top picks are Kre-a-fem for women and Fusion Purple K for men. This simple supplement will drastically improve your muscle endurance, strength, and recovery. These two are the best endurance supplements on the market, hands down.
Assessing Your Muscle Endurance
One effective method for testing your muscular endurance is the pushup test. Simply perform as many pushups or modified pushups as you can in a row before your form starts to break. When you can’t do any more pushups with proper form, you’ve reached your max. Record this number, and do the test again every couple weeks. This is an easy way to track the progress of your muscle endurance training.
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