Stamina helps you work longer without tiring. People who have good stamina are less likely to suffer muscle injuries, soreness and backaches. Building stamina also improves overall fitness, general health and appearance, advises “Fit for Life,” lead author Charles B. Corbin. You can build your muscular stamina with isotonic weight training. Training for stamina is done more frequently than training for strength because you use lighter weights instead of overloading muscles with maximal contractions.
Use free weights and choose exercises including squats, lunges, step-ups, bench flies, incline flies, incline presses, bench presses, bar dips, bent rows, chin-ups, shoulder presses, shoulder shrugs, barbell curls, triceps extensions, abdominal trunk curls, advises Wayne L. Westcott in “Building Strength and Stamina.” Utilize proper form to get the best benefit from each exercise, recommends the American Council on Exercise.
Determine your repetition maximum, or RM, for each exercise, advises Corbin. This is the maximum amount of weight you can lift for one repetition using proper form utilizing an isotonic contraction. An isotonic contraction, simply put, means you are moving against a constant resistance, or weight, in both the upward and downward phases of the exercise, such as a bicep curl done with a barbell.
Next calculate what 20 percent and 55 percent of this RM are by multiplying your maximum weight by 0.2 and 0.55. For example, if you can lift 30 pounds during a bicep curl, 20 percent of your RM is six and 55 percent is 16.5.
Utilize a weight that’s in the 20 percent to 55 percent range for each exercise. Ensure that you can do more than 12 repetitions of each exercise, which is the amount needed to develop muscular endurance, according to the U.S. Army. Add weight if you can do more than 25 repetitions. Only add 5 percent to 10 percent at a time.
Start with one set of each exercise three days per week, and work up to doing three sets six days per week, advises Corbin. Increase your number of repetitions first as you progress, and then increase your weight. Remember, the more repetitions per set the greater the improvement in stamina, advises the U.S. Army.