While the words “muscular endurance” may sound complicated, the premise is simple. It simply means the ability to perform muscle movements consistently and repetitively over time. In other words, it’s like stamina for your muscles, and it comes in handy across a breadth and depth of athletic activities, including everything from tennis to swimming to long-distance running.
But this doesn’t mean you have to run or swim or play tennis for hours every day to build muscular endurance. In fact, doing a few basic exercises until your muscles give out can help you boost your muscular endurance and improve your strength across all of your activities both in and out of the gym. Read on for a roundup of five ways to improve your muscular endurance.
Specifically targeting the chest and arms, push-ups promote upper body muscular endurance. Lying on the floor with your hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart, and your feet hip-width apart, extend your arms to push yourself up while maintaining a straight back and tight core. Then, slowly lower yourself back down again until your chest is hovering just above the floor. Repeat this cycle for 15 to 25 reps. Can’t do that many yet? Keep your knees on the floor. When it comes to building muscular endurance, the number of reps matters!
This muscle endurance exercise delivers a major upper and lower abdominal workout while simultaneously strengthening the back and the thigh muscles. Lying on your back with your legs straight and your arms extended overhead, lift your arms and legs toward each other while balancing on your bottom. Your body will form the shape of a “V.” Try to touch your hands to your toes before slowly lowering back down again. Continue for 15 to 25 repetitions.
While planks are celebrated as one of the best core conditioning exercises, they also promote endurance in the abs, back, glutes, and hamstrings. Begin by lying flat on your stomach and use your forearms to prop up your upper body. Your hips should be touching the ground. Slowly raise your hips while keeping your shoulder and lower back muscles engaged. Hold for between 30 and 45 seconds before releasing back down. Shoot for 15 to 25 cycles. You’ll know you’re doing it right if you’re arms are shaking!
4. Calf Raises
Standing with your feet hip-width apart, slowly raise to a tiptoe before lowering your heels back down to the floor. The movement should be slow and controlled. Use a wall for support and balance, if necessary. Do for 15 to 25 reps.
While calf raises may not seem like much when you’re doing them, they help build strength in two major muscles: the gastrocnemius and soleus. Not only can calf raises help you jump higher, but they can also support the ankle joint and add definition to your lower legs.
5. Bodyweight Squats
Standing upright with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart and your toes facing forward, drop your buttocks as you bend your knees until your legs form a 90-degree angle. (Keep your chest out and your shoulders back.) Keeping your weight on your heels, return to an upright position while contracting your glutes as you go. Looking to get an inner thigh workout, too? Widen your stance and point your toes outward.
Now here’s the really good point. All of these exercises are bodyweight exercises, which means you can do them whenever and wherever. But there is a catch. Form is everything when it comes to maximizing both muscular endurance and injury prevention. To make sure your form is on point, sign up for a personal trainer session today!