When you hear the phrases “stamina” and “endurance,” you might automatically think of runners. Runners, after all, must run for lengthy periods while covering large distances with a minimal amount of breaks.
However, endurance means various things to different individuals, and no matter what activity you participate in, you will always need to train harder and longer. Endurance, by definition, is your ability to carry out a physical task for an extended period.
The two primary forces that determine your level of endurance are your heart and muscles. While they’re both vital for getting you through challenging exercises, it’s crucial to know the difference between cardio and muscular endurance, especially if you want to achieve your fitness goals. The road to fitness must first start with educating yourself. It can also be harmful if you rush in without preparing yourself first.
Before we get into the strategies to boost your endurance, let’s discuss the difference between Cardiovascular Endurance versus Muscular Endurance.
More About Cardiovascular Endurance
The capacity of your cardiorespiratory systems like your heart, blood vessels, lungs, and airways to keep your body active for an extended length of time is known as cardiovascular endurance, otherwise known as aerobic fitness.
Your body needs oxygen to provide energy to your working muscles during aerobic activities such as jogging, bicycling, and climbing stairs, to name a few. Depending on how fit you are, you could do aerobic workouts for a long time.
Now, Muscular Endurance
The capacity of a single muscle or a group of muscles to execute repeated contractions against a load for an extended length of time is known as muscular endurance. In layman’s terms, this refers to the number of reps you can do without breaking form for any specific exercise. Think how many sit-ups you can do in a row without the desire to flop over for a break.
A simple way to measure this is to count how many push-ups or sit-ups, whichever you prefer, you’ll be able to accomplish in 60 seconds. Then some simple googling of the standard amount that you can compare yours to should do the trick.
Is One Better Than the Other?
Not necessarily. Actually, it’s not possible to place one above the other. To truly be considered a healthy individual, you’ll need to have a good amount of endurance for both. The practice of both is necessary for completing different kinds of workouts successfully, so it’s always best to train both whenever you can.
Now that the differences make a little more sense, here are seven tried and tested strategies to boost your endurance. These are strategies that are used widely among fitness buffs and athletes alike.
Mix Strength and Cardio Workouts
You’ve most probably heard of people that have dedicated workouts for specific days. For example, they have a separate day for tackling strength workouts and a different day for cardio. Try combining the two for your workout. You’ll find that it is more tiring, but it’s definitely more rewarding.
A good workout you could do, for example, are mountain climbers for a minute and then follow it up with some dumbbell squats. Feel free to mix up some of your favorite workouts!
Push For Less Rest in Between Sets
Of course, still, listen to your body and take breaks if you absolutely have to. But still, try to push yourself to complete more reps without breaks. Having lesser breaks in between sets will help improve your stamina and endurance. Keep your rest to a minimum and even if you do rest, try to keep the rest period short.
High-Intensity Strength Training is Your Best Friend
Not only will using dumbbells at a high rate enhance your strength, but it will also improve your endurance. In fact, because it engages more fast-twitch muscle fibers, it’s one of the best methods to enhance your metabolism. Fast-twitch muscle fibers create a more prominent and more strong force for shorter periods and are easily fatigued.
Only doing endurance-related activities, you’ll end up only recruiting slow-twitch muscle fibers, which isn’t bad, but as we’ve mentioned, it’s best to work on both. Slow-twitch muscle fibers are resistant to fatigue and are more inclined to sustained, smaller movements.
Include More Compound Movements Over Isolated Workouts
The more muscles that feel the burn as you exercise means that you’re taxing your cardiovascular and muscular endurance more. Compound movements are movements that require the use of multiple muscle groups. Yes, they may be more challenging than your usual workout and require more focus, but they also burn more calories and stimulate your muscles and energy. This’ll accuse an increase in your stamina, endurance, and overall strength.
Some common examples of compound movements would be squats, push-ups, and thrusters. You don’t necessarily need the assistance of dumbbells to strength train, and you’ll still be able to have a great strength workout session by just using your body weight.
Switch it Up!
Getting into the rhythm of consistently working out and having a workout routine that works for you is excellent. But, it’s also important to switch it up once in a while. Just like people, if you keep doing the same thing, you’ll eventually get bored. Our body works the same way. Once your body gets accustomed to your usual routine, you’ll notice that your gains aren’t as good as they used to be. That means it’s time to switch it up again to stimulate your muscles fully. A food rule of thumb is that your body takes about two weeks to adjust to your routine. After two weeks, it’ll be a good time to switch it up.
If you’re usually a swimmer, try going running for once! To continuously progress, you’ll have to work different muscles in different ways. This way, you’ll be less susceptible to injuries from overusing the same muscles, and you won’t get bored. You’ll stay motivated for longer since your workouts will be more fun when there’s variety.
Move More Muscles Together
This is just like compound exercises, just with a bit of a boost. You’ll be combining two compound movements, so you’ll be working more muscles all at once. The more muscles you can engage in a single movement, the better your cardiovascular and muscular endurance will be, and your total stamina will develop much faster.
Make Your Workouts More Explosive
Add an extra burst of energy to your workout. Explosive movements will require a whole lot more energy but will also build strength. Once you practice this more and more, you’ll notice a significant increase in your speed, and you’ll be able to accomplish this more easily. Some examples of this would be burpees or squat jumps.