Endurance is the key to your body lasting longer through any physical activity or training – it’s what you need in order to outlast your opponent: whether that opponent is a competitor, or your own mind. Unfortunately, many people aren’t exactly sure how to train for an increase in endurance. When they hear endurance, their minds link to low intensity cardio training. This is not necessarily the answer! Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to get that strength that will keep you going when others have exhausted their bodies.
Increase Endurance: Warm Up
Your warm up plays a crucial role, but what you DON’T want to do is perform a simple a jog or bike as your initial warm up. For endurance training, your body is going to need more than that. You’re going to want to perform different bodyweight movements to fire up muscle groups. Perform exercises such as lunges, squats, push-ups and jumping jacks. These moves use your entire body, which improves mobility and reduces the chance of injury mid-training. Also, remember to stay hydrated.
Increase Endurance: Drink Water
You need to take in a decent amount of water before you even begin your workout (about 16-24 ounces beforehand), and continue to consume as you begin to sweat. A good rule of thumb as to how much water a person needs to drink each day is half of their bodyweight. So if you weigh 190 pounds, your body will need 95 ounces of water. Remember to drink more when you plan on working out a significant amount. No one wants muscle fatigue and cramps, so don’t forget to drink plenty of water!
Increase Endurance: Weight Training
Remember that many people base their endurance training around cardio only? This is where we find out what you REALLY want to be doing to increase your endurance. I cannot stress it enough- USE WEIGHTS! In order to truly build lasting endurance, your body needs strength training. Studies have shown that when you add strength training to your workout program, energy and speed increase, while cases of injury decrease. And if you aren’t one who normally participates in strength training (or you just don’t want it to be the basis of your regimen) as long as you perform some type of strength workout three times a week for about 30-40 minutes, then you’ll be on your way to higher endurance. Incorporating strength training also means incorporating shorter rest periods.
Increase Endurance: Rest Less
Here’s the thing, most people generally take about a 30-90 second rest between sets. When you’re training for endurance, you’re going to need to sacrifice a good portion of that rest period. The entire reason behind endurance training is to get your body to the point that you’ll be able to exert maximum energy when your body is not yet fully recovered (aerobically, of course).
You also want to be able to train your body to recover faster (from maximum strain) and sustain that strain longer, or sustain it in quick succession. And if you’re a biker or runner, you’ll want to add interval training. A good example I like to do myself: one minute of work with 30 seconds of rest, normally performing sprints on the treadmill with an incline. Doing interval sets 2-3 times a week will train all three of your energy systems- ATP-PC, glycolysis, and oxidative; basically, the short, medium and long energy systems. By the end of your sets, you should be breathing heavier, sweating, and feeling the burn in your muscles. You really should try doing sets back-to-back, with as minimal a break as possible. As with shortened rest periods, volume is imperative.
Increase Endurance: More Reps
I’ve seen A LOT of people perform a high amount of reps, but with low weight. Essentially, this will do nothing at all for you. There will be no increase in endurance or any other form of strength. Now, these people do have one thing correct: the high amount of reps. The most important factor here though, is not to lower the weight just so you can perform all those reps without breaking a sweat. You want that nice little struggle with the last 2-3 reps of your sets. That’s one of the best indicators to let you know whether or not you’re using a good weight. When you combine a high volume of work with short rest periods, THAT is what will give you endurance. So to break it down simply: heavy weight, shortened rest periods, and higher volume are the key to gaining strength-endurance. Follow these steps will to achieve optimal endurance.
Training your body to work for an extended amount of time can be key in progressing your fitness and outlasting your opponents. Following these five steps will take you on your way to increasing your endurance levels for whichever sport you participate in.