Endurance matters in more than just the bedroom. No matter how you look at it, exercise is based on repetition. In the gym you do 5 sets of 5, on a treadmill you repetitively move your legs, and on the tennis court or playing field you repeat similar movements. When learning how to build muscle endurance it ultimately comes down to repetition.
Why build muscle endurance
The first thing on your to-do list is to know exactly why you want to build muscle endurance. If you have no reason, you’ll have no motivation. Before we get to muscle endurance, so what’s endurance all about.
Endurance is the ability to maintain a challenging situation or process placed on the body over an extended period of time. Sometimes this is unpleasant and other times it’s not. Be aware that this is the scientific definition.
When it comes to exercise, activities like walking, jogging, running, cycling, and swimming require endurance. As you can see, some of them are a lot more challenging than others. Walking, for example, is on the easier end of the spectrum while running is not.
Now apply this to muscle endurance. In this case, it would be the ability to perform multiple contractions (reps) over the course of time. This is usually done with little to no resistance. A lot of team and individual sports require muscle endurance, such as tennis, basketball, swimming, and rowing, to name a few.
And running requires both endurance and muscle endurance, since your leg muscles are still working for an extended period of time.
1 – Do the right exercises to build your endurance
Now that you know exactly what muscle endurance is, you have to learn how to train for it. In reality, it’s actually pretty easy. Instead of doing uber-heavy weights with low reps, you have to think in terms of sport-specific training. What happens in a tennis match? You end up swinging a racket at a high velocity thousands of times over.
The same could be said for boxing. You throw punch after punch after punch. Doing heavy bench presses isn’t going to get you very far in these situations. You need to train specifically for the demands of the sport.
Focus on working the muscles involved with the sport or activity you are taking part in and do light weights and high reps. Let’s take basketball, for example. The game involves a lot of shooting where you do elbow extensions.
It makes sense that you would want strong triceps so that you can do this motion with grace and ease throughout the whole game. Good exercises to do would be dips, push-ups, and triceps kickbacks.
Just a quick side note: You would benefit from running to train for any sport that involves running.
2 – Perform the right number of reps
Remember that sports involve a lot of continuous reps spaced over a long period of time. You want to make sure that you are able to meet these demands, so your training should emulate this. A good range to aim for is 15 to 25 reps with each exercise, and do multiple sets. Somewhere in the range of 5 to 10 is a good option.
You can also train for time instead of reps. For example, if you are doing mountain climbers, look at a clock and go for 30, 45, or 60 seconds. Then take a rest and repeat. Or do a different exercise like medicine ball slams and then come back to mountain climbers.
3 – Increase the resistance
Once you become proficient at doing exercises with light or no load, feel free to increase your resistance over time. In fact, this will help you perform even better in a sport when you have no load.
For example, if you do push-ups with a weighted vest and keep increasing the weight over time, you will find push-ups much easier without the vest on. The same would hold true if you wore it to run with in training. Then in your next soccer game, you’ll feel lighter and be able to move faster.
Knowing how to build muscle endurance could be the trick you need to literally change your game. Start integrating this type of training into your program right now and you will instantly see a difference the next time you play a sport!
If you’re interested in building muscle whilst also improving your endurance then our muscle building guide is where you want to be. Take a look for all of our advice on bulking up.