Muscular endurance definition. It’s the bodies or specifically the muscles ability to repeat a movement or contract a muscle. It’s one of the five parts of physical fitness and it’s different from physical strength, the two are sometimes wrongly considered to be the same.
As your muscles contract your muscle fibers are placed under stress, they can only cope with a certain amount of stress before your muscle fibers reach failure. So to improve muscular endurance you must perform a high number of muscular contractions, over time this will increase the size of the muscle fibers and the number of capillaries, it will also increase the muscles ability to store carbohydrates (glycogen) which gives the muscles energy and allows them to complete muscular contractions.
Two types of muscle fibers, Red (slow) twitch fibers and white (fast) twitch fibers.
- Red or slow twitch fibers are designed for endurance and repeating a muscular movement. These fibers are short and they are not designed to unleash a great deal of strength and power.
- White or fast twitch fibers are longer and they are better at providing short bursts of power or strength, however they have less ability to sustain a repeated movement, or in other words they are not as good when it comes to endurance. Fast twitch fibers will fatigue quickly.
The type of muscle fibers that we have is a genetic thing, so our ability to improve at muscular endurance is limited by our genetics. With that being said, everybody can still improve our bodies ability to repeat a muscular motion.
Sprinters, bodybuilders and power lifters are more likely to have dominate levels of fast twitch fibers. Long distance runners are more likely to have an abundance of slow twitch muscles.
Good exercises to improve muscular endurance
- Press ups
- Pull ups
- Tricep dips
Playing a sport would also be an ideal way to improve endurance, for example, football, rugby, tennis and pretty much any sport that involves running and athletic repeated motions. Weight training can also be effective for endurance, use higher reps and less weight as this will target those slow twitch muscle fibers.
Simply set yourself a target, whether that be a time limit or number of repetitions. When you achieve your target simply increase it.
In time and with repetition you will slowly start to condition your muscles, specifically your slow twitch fibers, and you will be able to perform more and more repetitions and muscle contractions.