Okay, so you're smashing out reps as you curl your dumbbells and workout your biceps, but as you hit rep number 10, your muscles start to slow down. Your arm gets fatigued, and by rep number 16, you're struggling to lift the weight. That fatigue and weariness mean that you've hit the limit of your muscular endurance, and your biceps can no longer make any further repetitions.
The aim of muscular endurance exercises is to build on your strength to improve your stamina. The objective is to extend the number of repetitions you can perform in one attempt to increase your endurance. Muscle endurance activities are different from strength-building activities and are often criminally overlooked, despite the benefits that a concentrated program can have on your body.
You can build muscular endurance with free weights, weight machines, bodyweight workouts, and booty bands. We will jump into the world of muscular endurance and present you with our top 5 muscular endurance exercises with resistance bands (exercises that can be performed anywhere)!
What exactly is muscular endurance?
Let's start with the definition, to give you a better understanding of what we mean when we talk about 'muscular endurance' and a better understanding of how these exercises can help to improve your health and fitness.
Muscular endurance is how effective your body is at repeating muscular contractions within a given time frame. The best way to visualize this in practice is by using the muscular endurance examples we gave above. Basically, how many reps can you accomplish in one go?
Endurance is one of the four major fitness elements, the other three being strength, flexibility, and balance. Muscular endurance is a critical element of muscular fitness, and it's just as important as strength or power.
The fundamental difference between strength and endurance training is that strength training allows you to lift heavier weights, while endurance training allows you to lift those weights for longer and more repetitions!
There's more to muscular endurance than just being able to lift weights or perform push-ups repetitively. Muscular endurance is also an incredibly important, yet often overlooked, part of cardiovascular fitness too.
If you want to walk, run, or cycle long distances, you need to improve your muscular endurance. When you're jogging, for instance, your body needs a high level of endurance to continually lift your legs.
What are the benefits of muscular endurance exercises?
As you can see, building up your muscular endurance isn't only for body-builders. It can benefit even the most un-athletic people because we need endurance to perform simple everyday tasks like walking up stairs or placing items into a shopping basket!
Whether you're a runner or a weight lifter, muscular endurance exercises complement other areas of fitness extremely well. You'll start to see results by incorporating even just a few more endurance-focused movements into your strength training workouts or cardio circuits.
Muscular endurance workouts have a vast range of benefits, including the following:
- Improve your everyday fitness for everyday tasks and movements.
- Avoid injuries that can easily be sustained from daily movements or common accidents, at home, around the office, or just out and about.
- Build stamina across a wide range of muscle groupings.
- Workout for longer, be it extended weight lifting sessions or longer bike rides.
- Burn fat, lose weight, and tone muscles.
- Improve flexibility and mobility, boosting the health of your muscles and joints.
- Avoid long-term injuries related to strength or cardio training.
- Build bigger muscles faster, when practiced alongside strength training routines.
- Build a healthier mindset as well as a healthier, fitter body through regular training!
How can I improve my muscular endurance?
Before you can start improving your muscular endurance, you need to establish how much your muscles can already endure. From here, you can develop training plans or set goals to improve your endurance.
The most common muscle endurance test is the simple push-up challenge. Adopt the push-up position on the floor and see how many consecutive you can do. Keep going until your arms collapse. The longer you hold out, the more impressive your muscular endurance is.
The push-up test is a good measure of upper body strength, but don't forget your aim should be to build endurance across your entire body, particularly if you're into cardio and sport, but also for weightlifting. You can use similar tests for any other muscles too. If you want to build your bicep endurance, see how many bicep curls you can do in one set.
Muscular endurance exercises can target all of your major muscle groupings and can be used to improve arm, leg, back and core muscles with a wide range of strength and cardio exercises, including squats, push-ups, sit-ups, and more.
There are tons of possible ways to improve your endurance. The most basic begin with simple choices like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking or cycling instead of driving. You can build on your muscular endurance at the gym, using free weights or weight machines, or work out with your bodyweight at home.
Can I build muscular endurance with resistance bands?
The biggest important thing to remember is that your muscles need to workout against resistance to build endurance. It's not about lifting the heaviest weights; it's about choosing a weight or band that creates enough resistance to engage your muscles while maintaining the movements consistently and for longer.
This is where resistance bands can be incredibly useful. They allow you to work targeted muscle groupings against resistance without a gym membership or heavy dumbbells. Resistance bands are a easy and effective way to build endurance from home, using exercises that are gentler on the joints yet can still be made more challenging with the use of more resistive bands.
Muscular endurance exercises with resistance bands
There are plenty of fantastic muscular endurance exercises that you can practice using resistance bands. The following 5 movements are a selection of endurance workouts that together form a quick full-body workout.
You can practice each exercise back to back, or add them into an existing strength training circuit to add more targeted endurance elements to your workouts. We'd suggest starting with a light resistance band before moving up the resistance levels as your strength, endurance, and technique improve.
You can gauge your current endurance levels by attempting each exercise until failure. You can then adjust the number of reps you should be performing based on this. Aim for 70 percent of your maximum output on each attempt. We suggest performing each exercise at least three times in succession, or throughout the workout for a more varied circuit. On the final attempt, try and max out!
Remember to stretch lightly before attempting any strenuous exercise. Here are our top 5 muscular endurance exercises with resistance bands.
#1 Banded squats
- Loop a booty band around both thighs, resting it just above your knees.
- Stand shoulder-width apart and hold your arms out straight ahead of you.
- Keep your back straight and bend your knees to lower your body into the squat position.
- Hold the squat then raise yourself back to the start position.
#2 Banded push-ups
- Place a long pull up assist band over your shoulders and hold each end in either hand.
- Get into the push-up position on the floor with your back straight, your hands beneath your shoulders, and your legs straight behind you.
- Bend your arms while lowering your chest to the ground, hold, then push back up to the start position.
- Your elbows show be about 45 degrees from your body. They should not be pushed up against your body or sticking out at 90 degrees.
#3 Banded lunges
- Loop a booty band and around both thighs, just above your knees.
- Take a big step back with your left leg.
- Lower your back knee towards the ground. Aim to gently male contact with the ground.
- Raise your knee, and step forward to the standing position.
- Change legs and take another step back. Repeat while alternating legs each rep.
#4 Banded pull-downs
- Loop a long resistance band to a sturdy anchor point above you.
- Stand with your feet loosely apart and your back straight.
- Grab the other end of the resistance band with your right hand.
- Firmly pull the band down until your arm is by your side.
- Hold, then raise and repeat.
- Change arms and repeat on your left side.
#5 Seated row
- Sit down on the floor and loop the middle of a long resistance band around your feet.
- Take the other ends in either hand and hold them at your sides.
- Pull the band towards you with both hands, until the band reaches your chest. Your elbows will be pointing behind your back as you complete a 'row.'
- Release to the center and repeat.
The last word on muscular endurance exercises
Muscular endurance exercises are essential for improving your overall strength and fitness, not just for sports or weightlifting but also for everyday tasks and activities. Improving your muscular endurance can help you avoid injuries, become more mobile and fit, while also contributing to your other strength or cardio training goals. With resistance bands, you can improve your muscular endurance anywhere!
With so many great benefits, why not start including muscular endurance exercises in your regular workouts?