The term ‘muscular endurance’ refers to the ability of any given muscle to exert force, consistently as well as repetitively, over a particular period of time. This plays a massive role in almost every athletic endeavour. A synonym for muscular endurance is ‘stamina’.
Long-distance running is a sport which requires muscular endurance. During the course of a race, a marathon runner’s body carries out the same movement and stride repeatedly. This requires their muscles to possess an advanced level of endurance in order to avoid injury or extreme fatigue.
However, you don’t need to train for a marathon in order to boost your muscular endurance. For the average individual, it can be as simple as doing push-ups until they can’t do any more but while still maintaining good form.
Are There Different Types Of Muscle Endurance?
In strength training, ‘muscular endurance’ refers to the total number of repetitions of a single exercise which you can do without needing to stop and take a break. Examples take into account how many times you can do a full squat, a sit-up, or a bicep curl with a light-to-moderate weight while still maintaining good form.
The specific type of muscular endurance which is used during cardiovascular fitness activities – for example running, swimming, or cycling – is typically called cardiovascular endurance or cardiorespiratory endurance. It is different from the strength training definition.
Endurance training for these kinds of physical activities builds the:
- Energy systems of the body,
- Muscle fibres, and
These can sustain long periods of exercise, such as running a marathon or cycling a 100-mile race.
How To Measure Muscular Endurance
It is recommended that muscular endurance testing – as well as muscular strength testing – is done when you start a strength training program. The results will help your personal trainer set the correct intensity and loads for your exercises.
The push-up test is very often performed as a measure of upper body muscular endurance. During this test, do as many push-ups as you can before you can’t do anymore without good form. There is a modified push-up test for women.
This could also be a timed test in order to see how many you can perform in a minute. You will be able to evaluate how your performance matches up with others in your age and gender category. By tracking this number over a period of time, you will be able to see increases or decreases in upper body muscular endurance.
Exercises To Increase Muscle Endurance
- As a start, lie flat on your stomach (with your hips touching the ground). Have your legs flat with upper body propped up by your forearms.
- Tighten your lower back and shoulder muscles, lift your hips off the ground.
- Hold for as long as you are able to (aim for intervals of 30 to 45 seconds) and then relax. That completes one repetition.
- Perform five reps of your longest hold possible.
- At the end of the fifth rep, your arms should be shaking. This is a good indication that you’re pushing your limits.
If you want to find out about more exercises to increase your muscular endurance then you need to do our Personal Training Diploma. Follow this link to register.