What is the correct technique to adopt during endurance training?

The term ‘endurance training’ refers to a particular manner of exercising, the goal of which is to improve endurance. The expression ‘endurance training’ usually refers to the training of the aerobic system as opposed to the anaerobic system of the human body. The requirement for endurance in sports is often based on the need for cardiovascular as well as pure muscular endurance. However, the issue of endurance is far more complicated than what is popularly thought.

The two categories of endurance training

Endurance exercises can be divided into two categories:

  • General endurance, as well as
  • Specific endurance.

‘General endurance’ characterises the ability of your entire body to withstand endurance exercises while fatigue is being diminished. The better your general endurance is, the better you can stand longer efforts at various sporting disciplines. For example, if you are one 500m runner and have high level of general endurance, you can perform at a relatively high level at 10 000 m as well, but you can’t compete against 10 000 m runners who have been developing their distance-specific endurance.

The term ‘specific endurance’ refers to the ability of an athlete to stand against fatigue in sport-specific conditions. The better your sport-specific endurance, the better you can perform at this specific sport. Specific endurance can be characterised as a combination of various types of endurance that you need to maximise your ability to achieve success in your discipline. In other words, everybody aims to achieve specific endurance in their sports. For example, if you’re one 500m runner, you make use of a combination of endurance training methods to perform better at your specific distance.

The correct endurance training technique

Warm-up

The warm-up should function to up your heart rate and blood pressure, increase your oxygen consumption, dilate the blood vessels, improve elasticity of the active muscles as well as increase the heat produced by the muscle groups to be used during exercise.

A proper warm-up consists of two phases:

  1. A graduated aerobic warm-up activity: This is a warm-up to get the blood flowing into the muscles and to heat the muscles to make them less prone to injury. Any aerobic exercise done at very low intensities can serve to warm up the muscles, tendons and ligaments.
  2. Stretching or flexibility: This is to be applied to the muscle groups you would be exercising during your cardiovascular activity. An example would be a quadriceps stretch before bicycling.

The warm-up phase should last anywhere from between five and 10 minutes. For most activities, five minutes may be good enough. Stretching should always follow the low-intensity aerobic warm-up exercise as it is easier to stretch the muscle groups when they are warm. An example of a proper warm-up will be five minutes of walking followed by three minutes of light stretching. Attempt to hold your stretch for at least 20 seconds during the warm-up.

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Cool down

The aim of a cool down is to decrease the cardiovascular work and overall metabolism slowly, which were elevated during the cardiovascular exercise. A cool down is made up of slowing down the intensity level of the cardiovascular activity that you are performing slowly. Stopping exercise suddenly can be dangerous. A cool down is crucial for people who are in the beginning stages of an exercise programme.

A proper cool-down should last about between five and 10 minutes for every 30 minutes of exercise. If the cardiovascular activity is performed for more extended periods or is of a higher intensity the cool down phase should last for longer.

Knowing how to perform endurance training correctly is not just a case of performing the exercises. You need to know how to carry out the workout routine in its entirety. If you are still unsure of how to do endurance training properly, you should think about hiring a personal trainer. Even better, why not do a personal training course such as the ones that we offer.

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