Why Is Muscular Endurance Important in Football?

Pileup at Goal Line
Football player getting tackled (Image: Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images)

According to Gray Cook, physical therapist and founder of Functional Movement Systems in Danville, Virginia, muscular endurance and strength work together to produce quality performance and cannot be trained in isolation. Since football is an anaerobic sport, which requires short and powerful bursts of power and periods of short recovery, athletes must have both muscular strength and endurance to resist fatigue, avoid injury, and last longer in the game.

Stabilty and Mobility

Endurance and strength are the foundations to speed, agility and power, which are the sport-specific skills needed in football.To attain high levels of endurance, football players must have excellent stability and mobility. Stability describes your ability to control movement and maintain posture, and mobility equates to your freedom of movement. Stability and mobility are the foundations to all human movement. They work together to maintain posture, protect your spine and organs from injury, and allow for force production as you transfer work and energy from one body part to another -- punting, pushing an opponent, catching and then running. Lacking quality stability and mobility decreases the athletes' performance and increases the risk for injury.

Significance

Muscular endurance is the ability to perform work for a long period of time. Not to be confused with aerobic endurance, muscular endurance refers to a muscles ability to maintain strength through repeated contractions over an extended period of time. Muscular endurance training is often trained at short bouts of moderate to high-intensity exercise, with short periods of rest in between.

Benefits

Having good muscular endurance allows you to increase your capacity to train for longer periods of time in high intensities, resist fatigue, reduce recovery time and strengthen your cardiovascular system. It also increases the number of red blood cells and blood plasma in your circulatory system which increase the volume of blood being pumped by the heart. The number of mitochondria (energy generators in all cells) increases in the muscles, which increases the athletes' muscular endurance.

Warning

Football players should not over-train themselves or they risk severe muscle soreness, strains, burnouts, and inflammation of joints from overuse. They should also work with a coach and an athletic trainer to gauge their progress and how much training they should do in-season and off-season.

Expert Insight

One type of training that football players do is super-setting, where they do two to three exercises that train different movement patterns consecutively without rest. When they are done with the exercises (counts as one set), they rest for one to two minutes before starting another set. As their muscular strength and endurance improve, the amount of work increases and the recovery decreases.

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