One of the best ways to increase whole-body strength, reduce the risk of injuries, and improve your posture is to incorporate muscular endurance and strength exercises into your workouts. Regardless of your fitness goals, making time to train on both muscular endurance and strength will help you a lot to achieve your goals.
What are Muscular Strength and Endurance?
Muscular strength and endurance both play a big part in your everyday life regardless if you are an athlete or not. Muscular strength refers to how much weight you can lift at one time. Muscular endurance, on the other hand, is the ability of how many times you can lift a certain amount of weight over a period of time.
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Importance of Muscular Strength and Endurance
- Helps build stronger and healthier muscles and bones.
- Develops and maintains good posture.
- Improves balance, stability, and flexibility to avoid injuries.
- Improves body composition by increasing lean body mass which elevates metabolic rate and depletes fatty tissue.
- Can help improve healthy sleeping patterns and boost mood and confidence.
Muscular Endurance Exercises
By doing muscular endurance exercises, you will be able to execute physical tasks for a longer period. While strength allows you to lift weights, endurance allows you to continue doing this over time.
If you are focusing on getting stronger, you may want to consider stepping up the exercises by increasing your body resistance and/or using heavier weights. However, if you are limited to working out at home, the bodyweight exercises examples below will help you get your strength training goals.
Here are upper body bodyweight workouts that can improve your muscular endurance:
Doing different pushup variations help in working out the bicep and tricep, the two main muscles found in your upper arm, as well as your chest. The biceps are located in the front while the triceps are in the back. These muscles are in charge of the lifting and pulling actions done with your arms.
- Begin with your hands placed on the floor, shoulder-width apart, fingertips facing forward.
- With your legs extended, with your feet together and your toes pointing down. Lift your keeps and keep your chest in front of your hands. Make sure to keep your head, neck, and spine in line and maintain it throughout the exercise.
- Slowly lower your body down to the floor and always aim to go as low as you can with the proper form.
- Slowly push yourself back up to the starting position.
- Do 8-12 reps for 3 sets.
*The wider your hands, the more you’ll work your chest muscles. The closer your hands are and the closer your elbows are to your body, the more you’ll work your triceps.
Tricep pushup is a more challenging variation of a standard pushup. In this exercise, your hands should stay closer together with your elbows directly at your sides and close to your body as you lower. This works your tricep muscles to push you back up to starting position.
- Begin in a plank position with your hands on the floor, shoulder-width apart, and keep your body straight and aligned.
- Slowly lower your chest toward the floor with control while keeping your elbows to your sides and your arms straight.
- Slowly push back up to the starting position.
- Do 8-12 reps for 3 sets.
The lateral raise is one of the best exercises in building a “shoulder boulder”. Aside from stronger and larger shoulders, lateral raises also increase shoulder mobility. It may seem like a simple movement but it will burn your shoulders.
Remember to start with light weights and gradually increase them. If you don’t have dumbbells at home, you may use water bottles and other similar items.
- Stand tall with arms at your sides, a dumbbell in each hand, and palms facing in.
- Slowly lift the dumbbells out to your sides, until your arms are almost parallel to the ground, not raising them above your shoulder level.
- Hold for two to three seconds with a slight bend on your elbow.
- Slowly and with control, lower the dumbbells back down to starting position.
- Do 10 to 12 reps for 3 sets.
A pull-up is an upper-body exercise that involves muscle endurance by hanging from a bar with your hands. The motion of pull-ups is lifting your entire body up with your arms and back muscles until your chest touches the bar, followed by an eccentric movement downwards. It is considered a compound exercise as it uses multiple muscles at once to complete the move.
This skill is considered an intermediate as not many beginners can easily do a pull-up when first starting.
Here’s how to do a pull-up with the correct technique:
- Start by standing directly below a pull-up bar. Place your hands in an overhand grip with your hands slightly further than shoulder-width apart. Jump into the pull-up bar or if it's too high use a safety step. Once your hands are holding onto the bar, you’re in your starting position.
- Lift your feet up from the floor or the safety step so that you’re hanging from the bar, and engage your core by using your scapular muscles. Pull your shoulders back and down.
- Engaging the muscles in your arms and back, bend your elbows and raise your upper body up toward the bar until your chin is over the bar. You can imagine bringing your elbows toward your hips if that makes the movement easier. As you move, avoid swinging your legs around or shrugging your shoulders up. You want to make sure your shoulder blades remain back and down throughout the exercise.
- At the top of the movement, inhale. Then extend your elbows and lower your body back down to the starting position.
Muscular Strength Exercises
Muscular strength is the amount of force you can put out with a single effort. Building muscle strength helps with body alignment, increases metabolism, and makes carrying out daily actions easier.
Bodyweight squats are a lower-body strengthening exercise that can be done anywhere with minimal to no equipment. It's a highly functional movement working all the major muscles of the legs such as the quads and glutes.
- Set your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out on the sides. Engage your core, and keep your eyes straight ahead.
- Slowly bend your knees until your legs are parallel to the floor, keeping your heels flat on the floor.
- Pause for 2 to 3 seconds at the bottom and powerfully push back up to the starting position.
- Do 8 to 12 reps for 3 sets.
The plank exercise is one of the best muscular strength exercises. Why? Because your entire core is very significant in providing support to your entire body when doing everyday movements. More than strengthening your core, this exercise also works out your leg muscles, arms, hips, and your back, making it an ultimate whole-body exercise!
- Start by doing a pushup position, keeping your body and leg straight.
- Keep your palms planted on the ground. Maintain your back straight and engage your core.
- Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Start with the same position and form as the high plank.
- Lower down to your forearms and maintain a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Then engage your core.
- Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Lie on your side with your knees bent, and pivot your upper body up on your elbow.
- Raise your hips off the floor, and hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Switch to your other side and repeat steps.
Calisthenics for Advanced Home Workouts
If the above exercises are too easy to do, then step up the exercises by doing calisthenics workouts. Calisthenics workouts involve mostly bodyweight exercises but require a lot of muscular strength. Workouts like the planche, front and back levers, muscle ups, and handstand push-ups rely on extreme muscular strength from the core muscle groups. The mentioned calisthenics exercises can sometimes take weeks, months, or even a few years to fully develop.
What are some workouts to improve muscular endurance and strength for running?
One way to improve muscular endurance and strength for running is to perform bodyweight training. Bodyweight training is a form of weightlifting that does not require any equipment. There are many different workouts that can be done with just your own body.
Some workouts that can be done with just your own body include:
- Bodyweight Squats
- Walking Lunges
- Lying Superman
- Dive Bomber Push-ups
- Russian twists
- Single leg lateral jumps
- Fire hydrants
For more in-depth guides on these home workout exercises check The Best No-Equipment Home Workout for Runners.
How long does it take to build muscular endurance?
The process of building muscle endurance is an incremental process. It can take months to build up your endurance, but it all depends on what you do.
There are three main factors that affect how long it takes to build muscle endurance: the intensity of your workout, the frequency of your workout, and how much time you spend at rest between workouts.
How many reps should I do for muscular endurance?
The answer to this question depends on what your training goal is. If you are training for hypertrophy then you should do more reps with lighter weight, while if you are training for muscle strength then you should do fewer reps with heavier weight.
How many times a week should you do muscular endurance?
It is recommended that you do some type of strength training 2-3 times per week on non-consecutive days. This will help your body repair and recover from the workout sessions as well as allow your muscles time to rest and grow.
Doing 30 to 45 minutes of strength and endurance training two to three times a week is a great way to build stronger muscles, burn more calories, and improve your metabolism. The greatest benefit of the muscular endurance and strength exercises we tackled today is they don’t require much equipment.
You can even do them anywhere even in your living room. Challenging your muscles often helps them to get bigger and increase your muscle strength. Your training can be fun and creative by using your kid, your wife/husband, or your pet as an added weight to challenge you!