Muscular Endurance – A Closer Look
If your goal is to build muscle and create a physique you can be proud of, it is important to know about the concept of muscular endurance.
At its core, muscular endurance is the ability for your muscles to persist. An example might be knocking out 10 bicep curls as part of a four-part set (10, 8, 8, 6).
We define and measure muscular endurance as the repetition of submaximal concentrations or submaximal holding time. Without your muscular ability to endure, you wouldn’t be able to focus on one body part at a time as part of a strength training work out.
When you have the strength to perform a repetitive task, the additional performance largely depends on muscular endurance. And while strength certainly is important, the power to lift a given set of weights doesn’t mean much if you don’t have the ability to persist.
Muscular Endurance and Strength
Let’s spend a few moments looking at the differences between muscular endurance and strength; terms that are very different physiologically.
As we’ve explored, you achieve muscular endurance by engaging in repetitive contractions of muscle fibers, over the course of time. As part of this dynamic, you need a continuous supply of energy and muscle fibers with oxidative capabilities.
As a result of these repetitive contractions, you enhance your aerobic enzymes, mitochondria, [the powerhouse of the cell], and respiratory system; which are all needed to keep the lifts going.
Conversely, strength comes from lifting heavy weights and increases over time. Essentially, strength is all about your muscular ability to exert force.
Can strength be measured? Absolutely. Here’s how.
Let’s say a person with the maximal capacity to arm curl 50lbs has two times the strength of someone who can arm curl 25lbs. Using this example, we can define strength as the maximum weight the individual can lift in one single effort.
Typically, this is referred to as the 1- repetition maximum or 1 RM. Make sense?
As you can see, the two concepts go hand in hand but aren’t the same. Without endurance, you can’t develop strength.
In the final analysis, if your goal is to pack on muscle, you’ll want to do things that increase your stamina, over the course of time.
More than anything, consistency in your workouts is what you’ll need to make that happen. Did you go to the gym today? If not, hop to it!