Why is Muscular Endurance Important in Sports?

Endurance, strength and speed are all keys to good performance, but the combination of endurance and strength creates muscular endurance, allowing an athlete to perform multiple repetitions against resistance for a long period of time. Sports such as distance running, rowing, cycling and-cross country skiing require significant muscular endurance.

Why is Muscular Endurance Important in Sports? (Image: microgen/iStock/GettyImages)

Understanding the importance of muscular endurance can lead you to better overall performance while participating in your sport. Strong, healthy muscles will help you go the distance, no matter which athletic event you participate in.

Types of Muscular Endurance

The type of muscular endurance that you need to develop depends on which sport in which you participate. In many cases, athletes need to build more than one type of muscular endurance.

  • Power endurance: Baseball players, sprinters, wrestlers, tennis players and freestyle swimmers all must producer powerful movements and repeat them time and again for success. Having power endurance means the athlete can create that necessary power with each movement. With training, power endurance can be converted into explosive power, which helps the athlete resist fatigue during these repetitive efforts.
  • Short-term muscular endurance: Sports that require short, intense bursts of activity require an athlete to have short-term muscular endurance. These sports include sprinting, football and soccer. With training, short-term endurance lets the players deal with fatigue and lactic acid build-up in the muscles.
  • Long-term muscular endurance: Marathoners, rowers, basketball players and other athletes with games or races that last more than a couple of minutes at a time need long-term muscular endurance. When building this type of endurance, light loads are used so the player can continue to endure for a significant period of time.
Push-ups and planks help build muscular endurance. (Image: jacoblund/iStock/GettyImages)

Building Muscular Endurance

Building endurance takes a more significant commitment than building strength, as it requires you to push your muscles over and over to build that endurance. However, boosting your strength is vital to improving muscular endurance.

To work on both, do circuit-training workouts three to four times a week. These back-to-back style of workout tax your muscles, both in strength and in endurance. An example of a circuit workout might be:

  • One minute of ab exercises, such as a crunch or plank;
  • One minute of push-ups;
  • One minute of squats;
  • Repeat three times.

One minute of a move might sound easy; however, you must do these back-to-back without any resting period—that means 9 straight minutes of pushing your muscles before you can take a break. This builds both strength and muscular endurance.

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