What Is Muscular Endurance And How Do You Improve It? - CoachMag

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What Is Muscular Endurance And How Do You Improve It? - CoachMag

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For some people, success in the gym can be measured by the size of their muscles and the numbers on the weights they can lift. However, many of those people don’t consider how long they can lift those weights for, a quality known as muscular endurance. It’s a mistake to overlook that element, especially if you are going to the gym to improve your performance playing sport.

For more information on the importance of muscular endurance and how you can go about improving yours, we spoke to Ben Walker, personal trainer and owner of Anywhere Fitness.

What is muscular endurance?
Muscular endurance is the ability to continuously contract a muscle against a given movement or resistance. The more repetitions managed without the muscle failing, the greater the endurance. This isn’t to be confused with muscular strength, which is best achieved when lifting weight that fails the muscle between eight and 12 reps.

Athletes or fitness enthusiasts who want to avoid a bulky look and keep their muscles lean, flexible and with the ability to move through their full range of motion during sports performance will want to focus on muscle endurance as opposed to strength.

How do you improve your muscular endurance?
You want to avoid being in the target zone for hypertrophy [building muscle mass], so focus on lifting less weight and completing more reps. If training for a specific sport activity, mimic the movements performed on game day against resistance. For example, a basketball player who is continually jumping off either foot will want to include high repetitions and variations of jumps and plyometrics to keep jumping high for the duration of a game. Aim for an average of 15 to 40 reps for three to four sets of any given exercise to increase your muscular stamina for that particular movement.

Another way to increase stamina is with holding exercises like planks and wall sits. It’s good to include these along with high rep exercises because the muscle is contracted for the entire duration of the routine and endurance is achieved from a different method of contraction.

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