Being able to complete everyday tasks and activities, such as walking or lifting an object, happen because you have conditioned your muscles to endure or handle that activity. Muscle endurance exercises give your body the sustained ability to complete not only everyday tasks, but to play sports games or with the kids. Performing muscle endurance exercises at a moderate to high intensity at least two to three times a week can strengthen your total body, as well as develop and maintain muscle mass.
With the heart being one of the most important muscles of your body, keeping it in top form can be accomplished through endurance exercises that exert the heart and improve oxygen output. Exercises like walking, jogging and swimming raise the heart rate and, over time, will improve the endurance of the heart and rest of the body. As you exercise, you use your large muscle groups, which become stronger through the exercise.
Using Your Bodyweight
Isometric or bodyweight type exercises improve muscular endurance by keeping a steady pose or position for a length of time. Yoga and Pilates are examples of exercises that improve muscle strength and endurance. The plank position in yoga is an example of an exercise that works on the endurance of your core area and your upper body. Squats are a lower body exercise to strengthen the large muscle groups of the lower body. Being able to hold your muscles in a position without shortening or lengthening the muscles involved will improve your body’s ability to endure for long term activities.
Using Weights for Intervals
You can use free weights or exercise equipment in exercises to develop your muscular endurance. Interval training can be done with weights to give you a mix of cardio and muscle endurance in one session. When developing an interval training program, include weight exercises such as 12 to 16 repetitions of biceps curls, triceps press, chest flys and lat pulldowns, with two to three sets of each exercise so all major muscle groups of your body are challenged. For cardio intervals, you can choose jumping jacks, skipping rope or running in place.
Consult with your physician or health care provider before starting a muscle endurance training program. Because some of the exercises may cause a temporary rise in blood pressure, breathe throughout your exercise and do not hold your breath. Drink water and stay well hydrated by consuming water before, during and after exercise.
- AceFitness.org: When Strength Training, Is It Better To Do More Reps With Lighter Weights or Fewer Reps with Heavier Weights?
- American Council on Exercise Personal Trainer Manual: Muscular Strength and Endurance; W. Westcott