Stamina, also commonly known as endurance, refers to your ability to sustain physical effort over a longer period of time. It involves not only organs like your heart and lungs, but your muscles as well. Whether you want to improve your performance in your sport of choice or you simply want to be able to carry your groceries without gasping for breath, these are the stamina workouts you need to be doing.
High-Intensity Interval Training
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a time-efficient method for improving your stamina. In fact, research suggests it may be a better endurance builder than steady-state cardiovascular exercise. The most you have to remember about HIIT is that you exercise intensely for a period of time and then dial it back to manageable levels to recover.
Think two minutes of running and one minute of walking, for example. It is a very flexible technique in that the intense period, the rest period and the types of exercise are completely customizable to your fitness level, age and amount of time you have to spare.
There are many ways to perform HIIT, but one tried-and-true method is the Tabata protocol: Perform one dynamic exercise (think sprints, burpees or pushups) as quickly as possible for 20 seconds. Then rest 10 seconds. Repeat for a total of eight rounds. To avoid injury and burnout, limit HIIT sessions to two or three per week.
Cardio Stamina Exercises
When it comes to building endurance, nothing beats good old-fashioned aerobic exercise (think jogging, walking or cycling). So make aerobic exercise a regular part of your weekly routine. First, choose your activity. Then perform it for a minimum of 30 minutes.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends performing moderately intense aerobic activity 150 to 300 minutes a week. Aim to increase your time by five to 10 minutes each week or try to cover more ground in less time. Minimize the wear and tear on your muscles and joints by choosing a variety of high- and low-impact activities such as jogging and swimming. And be sure to pick activities you enjoy doing as this will make it easier to stay consistent.
Build Stamina With Weights
To build muscular stamina, you need to lift weights. Lifting light for high reps is a great way to build muscular endurance. However, for pure power, you need to think heavier. And the quality of your lift has to be spot on. The barbell snatch, the clean and jerk, and other movements for improving your stamina can build power with as few as one to five reps according to the American Council on Exercise.
The same caution should be used with medicine ball throws and box jumps, which should be performed no more than six to eight times. Not only are you avoiding muscle fatigue but the possibility of injury. Most gyms give you the opportunity to work with a trainer for one to two days. Avail yourself of their expertise.
- University Sports Medicine: Training for Cardiovascular Fitness
- American College of Sports Medicine: Interval-Based Exercise: So Many Names, So Many Possibilities
- ACE Fitness: How Many Reps Should You Be Doing?
- Health.gov: Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd Edition
- Active: Tabata for Beginners