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Muscular Endurance Exercises: 7 Best Workouts For Strength 2023
Are you thinking of improving your physical fitness? Incorporating muscular endurance exercises into your fitness routine is essential for great results. Train muscular endurance by completing exercises that will build muscle strength! Muscle training can help increase your physical fitness and is also associated with several health benefits. What’s even better is you can complete this workout plan at home!
7 Muscular Strength And Endurance Exercises
- Bodyweight squats
- Calf raises
- Walking lunges
- Tricep dips
Top 7 Muscular Endurance Exercises
You can complete seven of the best muscular endurance and muscular strength exercises at home. These are bodyweight training exercises, so equipment or free weights are required to complete these muscle endurance exercises. The exercises listed below are an entire body workout, as there are exercises targeting your upper body, lower body, and core.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your arms at your side.
- Bend your knees and lift your arm straight out in front of you.
- Bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the ground and your legs are bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Hold for 3 seconds then return to standing.
- Complete 10 – 15 reps.
- Go on your hands and knees on the floor with your spine in a neutral position.
- Extend one leg back and then the other.
- Press with the heels of your hands, tighten your midsection, and keep your spine neutral.
- Hold for 20 – 30 seconds, then repeat 1 – 3 times.
- You can do a modified plank by bending your knees rather than having your legs fully extended.
- Lay flat on your stomach on the floor.
- Bend your elbows, so your hands are by your shoulders.
- Push up using your hands until you are in a plank position.
- Bend your elbows to lower yourself back down; remember to keep your elbows tucked in.
- Complete 10 – 15 reps.
- You can do a modified push-up by bending your knees rather than having your legs extended.
- Lay on your back with your hands behind your head and your knees bent and hip-width apart.
- Lift your upper body so your shoulder blades come off the ground.
- Keep your feet planted on the ground and keep your head and neck relaxed (you can use your hands to support your head).
- Return to lying on the ground slowly.
- Complete 10 – 15 reps.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and keep your arms straight by your side.
- Raise up onto your toes, then slowly return to standing on flat feet.
- Complete 10 – 15 reps.
- Stand straight with your feet at least hip-width apart.
- Step forward on your right foot and bend your knee to 90 degrees.
- Press with the foot of your right leg and return to standing.
- Step forward with your left leg and bend your knee to 90 degrees.
- Press with the foot of your left leg and return to standing.
- Complete 10 – 15 reps.
- Find a sturdy surface such as a bench or chair.
- Face away from the chair and place your hands on the surface shoulder-width apart.
- Have your legs straight out in front of you.
- Bend at your elbows to lower your butt down towards the ground.
- Straighten your arms to return to the starting position.
- Complete 10 – 15 reps.
What Is Muscular Endurance?
Muscular endurance is defined as the ability to do a strength exercise repeatedly without fatiguing. This is different from muscle-building exercises, also referred to as hypertrophy exercises, that require you to exert maximal force, for example, heavy weight lifting, where you just repeat the exercise a small number of times. It is also important to note that this is different from endurance training, which refers to aerobic endurance training such as jogging or running.
The National Strength and Conditioning Association described muscular endurance training in their Foundations of Fitness Programming as exercises that combine high repetitions (10 – 15 reps) and short rest periods of 30 seconds or less between each rep. Each exercise set should be completed one to three times if you are just starting out. Once you have built up your ability, you can then increase to doing three or more sets, depending on your fitness level. This type of exercise results in high metabolic stress levels, therefore, you would need to use lighter weights or simply bodyweight exercises.
These types of exercises involve strength training, weight lifting, or resistance training. They are most often performed in standard sets, where you complete one exercise and then move on to the next, such as in circuit training. Your muscular endurance exercise list and muscular strength exercise list will look very similar, and differences will be in the intensity of the exercise, meaning the amount of weight used, the number of reps and sets, and the length of rest periods in between each rep. The main difference is muscular endurance training will train slow-twitch muscle fibers whereas muscle-building training will train fast-twitch muscle fibers.
Benefits Of Building Muscular Endurance
A review article published in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal explains the benefits of muscle training and improving muscular endurance. The related health benefits detailed in the review article are summarized below.
Regularly completing muscle training exercises will increase muscle mass among adults of all ages. This shows that it is never too late to start exercising!
Protection Against Bone Loss
Participating in resistance exercises and strength training programs is consistently associated with increased bone mineral density. This type of exercise participation is protective against osteopenia, the medical term for bone loss.
Our body’s resting metabolism increases with every pound of resistance-trained muscle. This is because, at rest, resistance-trained muscles burn more calories than untrained muscles. Increased resting metabolism means you will burn more calories daily, which can help with weight maintenance and loss.
Strength training is also associated with fat loss. Two specific scientific studies cited in the review even identified that resistance training could reduce intra-abdominal fat in older women and men.
Diabetes Prevention And Management
The review determined that resistance exercise and strength training is linked to improved insulin sensitivity, glycemic control, and reduced abdominal fat, which is associated with reducing insulin resistance.
A more recent 2020 review found similar results. It determined that resistance training (consisting of exercises that build muscular endurance and hypertrophy training) improved hemoglobin A1c, insulin levels and sensitivity, muscle strength, body mass index, waist circumference, and fat mass.
Research has demonstrated that consistently participating in resistance exercise is linked to a reduction in high blood pressure. Some studies in the review showed that resistance exercise is as effective at reducing blood pressure as aerobic exercise.
A more recent 2021 study showed that circuit training had greater benefits on blood pressure levels than conventional resistance training.
The review determined that the effect of resistance exercise on cholesterol levels is not clear. There are some studies that showed resistance exercises were associated with improved cholesterol levels, however, other studies did not demonstrate the same results.
A recent 2022 study, however, did determine an association between resistance exercise and cholesterol level. This study involves having women with obesity participate in one of two diet and exercise approaches. The women who participated in supervised circuit resistance training three days a week had greater decreases in their blood cholesterol level and body fat percentage, and greater increases in fat loss and lean muscle mass gain.
How To Improve Muscular Endurance
If you are new to muscular endurance training, or even just exercise in general, it is important to remember to go slow and build upon your abilities. The American College of Sports Medicine and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all adults complete activities that maintain or increase muscle strength and endurance at least two days per week.
They also recommend that all healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 65 years should complete at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic endurance training five days per week or vigorous-intensity aerobic endurance training for at least 20 minutes three days per week.
When just starting it is practical to start with just a few exercises and then work your way up to a more intense muscular workout plan. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd Edition state to exercise safety and reduce the risk of injury, people should start low and go slow, meaning people should start with lower-intensity exercises and increase the intensity over time. The best exercises you can do are really determined by yourself based on your own ability level. If you have any health-related concerns about your ability to exercise, it is best to speak with your doctor.
It is also important to consider your diet when trying to build muscle endurance and muscular strength. It is important to eat enough protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Protein is particularly important when you are trying to build muscle and should generally be 1.2 – 2.0 grams/kilogram/day.
Remember, the only person you need to compare yourself to is yourself! Keep track of your progress over time to see your improvements and stay motivated. Also, you can always seek a personal trainer’s guidance if you need more structure and support.
Muscular endurance training is a great way to get yourself into good shape and improve your health. Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and we should all strive to be physically active. Remember if you are new to exercise, start slow and work your way up! It can take time to achieve the desired results, but each workout puts you one step closer.
+ 9 sources
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- Westcott, W.L. (2015). BUILD MUSCLE, IMPROVE HEALTH. ACSM’S Health & Fitness Journal, [online] 19(4), pp.22–27. doi:10.1249/fit.0000000000000134.
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