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Power Endurance Exercises

by 
author image Lauren Bedosky
Lauren Bedosky is a Minnesota-based health and fitness writer.
Power Endurance Exercises
Power Endurance Exercises Photo Credit: Kerkez/iStock/GettyImages

Most sports — from rock climbing to rugby to martial arts — call for power endurance, or the ability to execute multiple explosive movements over a longer period of time. So, whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a weekend warrior, developing power endurance is well worth your time and effort.

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Master the following power endurance exercises to build up your explosive capacity and stamina. Depending on your sport of choice, you may want to prioritize specific exercises over others.

Many of these movements are highly technical and intense. Seek the assistance of a coach or trainer to nail down your form before increasing difficulty or frequency.

Lower-Body Focus

These moves will help you develop stamina in your quads, glutes, hamstrings, hips and calves to keep you running, jumping and cycling with ease.

Squat Jumps

Squat jumps challenge your hips, thighs and glutes.

HOW TO DO IT. Begin standing with feet shoulder-width apart. Push your butt back and bend at the knees to lower into a squat. Keep your torso upright and knees in line with your toes throughout the movement. Once your thighs are parallel to the floor, push through your feet to explode upwards, driving your arms overhead. Land softly and repeat.

Box jumps

Jumping up onto an elevated surface fires up the glutes, quads and hamstrings.

HOW TO DO IT: Stand facing a box or sturdy bench. Start with a lower height and progress once you’ve built up strength and proficiency in the movement. Push your butt back and bend at the knees to lower into a semi-squat position. From there, push through your feet to jump up onto the box or bench. Land softly. Step both feet back down to the floor and repeat.

Bounding

This exaggerated running motion builds power, speed and coordination.

HOW TO DO IT: Jog to start the drill. After a few steps, push off explosively with one foot and bring the leg forward, while simultaneously driving the opposite arm forward. Immediately repeat with the other leg and opposite arm. Focus on creating an exaggerated running motion, making sure to push explosively off each foot with every repetition.

Read more: The Best Plyometric Exercises for Legs

Upper-Body Focus

Target the chest, back, shoulders, triceps and biceps to build power and stamina for throwing, pushing and pulling.

Upper-body power endurance exercises are a must in many sports training programs.
Upper-body power endurance exercises are a must in many sports training programs. Photo Credit: Antonio_Diaz/iStock/GettyImages

Power Push-ups

Hit your chest, triceps and shoulders with this pumped-up version of a traditional push-up.

HOW TO DO IT: Assume push-up position. Elevate your hands on a box or sturdy bench if needed. Bend at the elbows to lower your chest toward the floor or box. Once you reach the bottom of the movement, push up forcefully so your hands leave the surface of the floor or box. Land softly and immediately repeat.

Chest Passes

Build chest and triceps power with chest passes.

HOW TO DO IT. Stand holding a medicine ball at your chest with both hands. Facing a partner or a wall, brace your abs and throw the medicine ball. As soon as the ball returns to you, throw it again.

Overhead Passes

Overhead passes work your back, biceps and chest.

HOW TO DO IT: Stand holding a medicine ball with both hands. Take one step forward and bring the ball up over your head. Throw it as far as possible, using your legs and hips to help transfer power to your shoulders and arms. As this movement focuses on your smaller shoulder muscles, you’ll want to use a lighter medicine ball than you might for other exercises.

Read more: Agility, Balance, Coordination, Power & Speed Exercises

Total-Body Focus

Generate full-body power with exercises that teach the upper- and lower-body muscles to work together.

Kettlebell Swing

This classic kettlebell move fires up your hips, glutes, hamstrings, back, abs, shoulders and chest.

HOW TO DO IT: Begin standing with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly apart, with a kettlebell on the floor about a foot in front of you. Grip the handle of the kettlebell with both hands and, keeping your back straight and shoulders down, hike the kettlebell back and up between your legs. Once the kettlebell can’t go any farther, forcefully extend your hips to propel the kettlebell upward. Keep your arms straight throughout the movement. When the kettlebell reaches chest-height, pull it back down between your legs. Keep your chest high at all times.

Kettlebell Clean

The kettlebell clean develops strength and power in your hips, glutes, hamstrings, abs, back and biceps.

HOW TO DO IT: Begin standing with feet shoulder-width apart, with a kettlebell on the floor between your legs. Bend at the hips and knees to grip the handle with one hand, knuckles facing outward. Initiate the movement by driving your feet into the ground and forcefully extending your hips to propel the kettlebell upward, as with the kettlebell swing. However, instead of letting the kettlebell drift in front of you, keep it close to your body. Imagine you're facing a wall.

Once the kettlebell reaches chest height, pull it towards you and push your hand up and through so the kettlebell is resting on top of your forearm. Your elbow should be tucked in close to your body. Leading with the elbow, lower the weight by flipping it back over your hand. Continue to keep the kettlebell close to your body as you swing it back and in between your legs. Repeat.

Dumbbell Thruster

This exercise works your quads, glutes, hamstrings, shoulders, back and core.

HOW TO DO IT: Begin standing with feet hip-width apart. Holding two dumbbells or kettlebells at shoulder-height, push your butt back and bend at the knees to lower into a squat. Once your thighs are parallel to the floor, drive through your heels and use the power of your hips and glutes to propel you back to standing. At the same time, press the dumbbells or kettlebells overhead. Lower the weights back down with control and immediately drop into your next squat.

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