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Exercises That Build Muscular Endurance

author image Jeremy Hoefs
Based in Nebraska, Jeremy Hoefs began writing fitness, nutrition, outdoor and hunting articles in 2006. His articles have been published in "Star City Sports," "Hunting Fitness Magazine" and RutWear field journals, as well as on the Western Whitetail website. Hoefs graduated with a Bachelor of Science in exercise science from Nebraska Wesleyan University.
Exercises That Build Muscular Endurance
Muscular endurance is an important component to running. Photo Credit John Lund/Drew Kelly/Blend Images/Getty Images

Muscular endurance is defined as the ability to perform a specific amount of work for an extended period of time. Numerous athletes in sports such as baseball, soccer and rugby rely on muscular endurance for success. Exercises that build muscular endurance are designed to improve the amount of effort used and the duration a specific intensity can be held. The key to building muscle endurance is to perform high-rep workouts of several types of exercise.


Push-ups build upper-body strength, but they can also improve muscular endurance. Start in the prone position--with your head facing the ground--and your feet and hands on the ground. Lower your chest to the ground and then press yourself back up to the starting position with your arms extended. Primary muscles worked for muscular endurance include the chest, triceps, shoulders, core and serratus anterior. Adding variations, such as raising one leg, can increase the intensity of the push-up to build additional muscular endurance.

Dead Lifts

Dead lifts are commonly associated with heavy weightlifting, but changing the weight, sets and reps can promote muscular endurance. The complex movement executed during a dead lift requires the body to improve the ability to transport oxygen to the working muscles. Position your feet shoulders-width apart next to a barbell. Grip the barbell just outside your legs and keep your feet flat, hips back and back straight. Press through the heels as you lift the bar straight up the inside of the legs until the hips are fully extended and open. Perform a total of 15 to 20 reps and three to five sets using a light weight to improve muscular endurance.


Squats can be performed in a numerous variations -- overhead squat, front squat, back squat or body-weight squat -- to adjust the difficulty of the exercise. Regardless of the squat performed, muscular endurance is built in the lower body, hips, core and back. Proper squat technique starts with the feet placed slightly wider than shoulders-width apart. Move the hips back and down as the feet stay flat on the floor, back stays arched and the chest stays up. Lower the hips until the thighs are parallel to the ground or until you reach a comfortable range of motion, and slowly return to the starting position.


Running can also build muscular endurance. Specific muscles worked while running include the quadriceps, hamstrings, calf muscles, glutes and abdominals. According to Greg Glassman, founder of CrossFit, incorporating interval training into running can also improve the function of the cardiovascular system and its ability to deliver oxygen to working muscles without sacrificing strength, speed or power. Running interval workouts can be completed by alternating between work and rest for a specific time interval from 20 to 60 seconds.

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