Muscular Endurance: Definitions, Benefits and How to improve it

In this article we talk about the definition of muscular endurance, what are the benefits of muscular endurance and how to improve it.

What is Muscular Endurance?
Talking about Endurance most people often refer to cardiovascular endurance, which is how long can your heart function in a physical activity before your get out of breath. However there is another form of endurance that is very important and is not that well appreciated. It is called muscular endurance, which is defined as a sustained amount of repetitive force generation against resistance, before your muscles get tired and cannot work anymore.

To really appreciate this concept picture yourself performing a strength exercise for a number of repetitions, as you perform more repetitions, your muscles will start to get tired and lactic acid will start to build up. Muscular endurance of your muscles will be defined by the repetition where lactic acid build up in your muscles is so strong that you are no longer able to perform any more reps.

As an example when you see someone perform 100 push ups, they are basically building up their muscular endurance.

Why is Muscular Endurance Important
In everyday life, most of the activities and chore are performed over many repetitions rather than just one time. Be it raking the leaves, or cutting that log, or rowing the boat or carrying a baby, you need to use your muscles over a long period of time. Having Muscular Endurance hence helps you in performing these activities easily.

In sports, muscle endurance helps you in lasting longer in the activities. It is muscle endurance that helps you in running jumping and swinging for longer periods of time than your opponents

Beyond these performance benefits, muscular endurance also helps prevent overuse injuries and makes your bones and joints stronger and more able to withstand repeated stresses

How to Develop Muscle Endurance
To improve endurance, just like improving any other fitness parameter, you must challenge this system. Muscle Endurance oriented resistance training requires consistent and regular exercises that last several repetitions (typically greater than 12). Generally load in these exercises are kept low in order to sustain the movement for higher repetitions.

For example, let’s say you want to prepare for backpacking up a mountain. In addition to your cardiovascular endurance, you must also improve endurance in your leg muscles so that your quads, hamstrings and calves can last the whole day. So, in addition to your practice hikes, to strengthen these muscles you may perform exercises such as hill sprints, lunges, step-ups and step-downs. To really develop endurance, you will perform these exercises for more than 12 reps.

One thing to keep in mind while developing muscular endurance is that before developing endurance there should be some amount of base of strength already there. So if you have never strength trained before, building muscle endurance will prove to be a challenging task.

When working on strength in the hopes of later developing endurance, remember that sets should last less than 12 repetitions. Loading more weight is more effective than adding repetitions to improve strength. You may refer to our previous blog on how to build basic strength if you want to learn more.

Authors: Rahul Yadav & FD Bulsara