Endurance means your body’s physical capabilities to endure strenuous exercise at sub-maximal intensity for an extended period of time. For the cardiovascular system, this means supplying the body with oxygen and blood necessary to perform. For skeletal muscles, this means having the ability to work continuously without getting tired. These types of endurance go hand-in-hand, but there is a slight difference in training styles to target these capacities.
Your muscular endurance capacity can be determined by genetics predispositions to stronger muscles, tendons, ligaments, and more. Furthermore, cardiovascular endurance can be genetically impacted as well, heart conditions will greatly limit your ability to train cardiovascular endurance. However, in most cases, cardiovascular and muscular endurance can be trained and improved when following a specific workout routine and proper health practices.
Why is Endurance Important?
The numerous benefits of endurance are well agreed upon among health scientists as research continues to show that endurance training helps strengthen the circulatory system and heart, improves lungs elasticity, helps to increase metabolic rate, regulates blood pressure, and much much more. The importance of endurance training is even more significant for athletes as endurance training has shown to improve performance and reduce injuries.
How to Improve Strength Using CA Fitness Plans:
The CA app tracks your endurance capacity through your 1RM (rep max) scores on endurance activities such as your 1 mile time, 5k row, etc. Upon entering your 1RM scores for each of these exercises, the CA app will provide a rating of your endurance ability compared to individuals of your sex and age.
You can use the information you see on your fitness radar chart to determine if you need to implement more regular endurance training into your workout routine.
Another helpful tool to track your endurance capacity provided by the CA App is your VO2 Max, or Maximal Oxygen Consumption. This score indicates the amount of oxygen you can utilize during intense exercise, and is currently the best measurement of cardiovascular fitness and aerobic endurance collected via fitness watch.
The easiest way to ensure you are getting enough endurance training in your routine is to simply navigate to the fitness page, click “add a program”, complete the short questionnaire, and start using the CA program that best fits your answers. Each of the CA workout plans provided will already have science-based endurance training pre-programmed in the weekly schedule.
How to Improve Strength: Using the Custom Build Feature:
Endurance, or aerobic, exercises are ones that have repeated isotonic contractions of large skeletal muscle groups such as: running, jumping rope, jogging, swimming, cycling, etc. Other forms of endurance training also includes sports like basketball, soccer, tennis, hockey, and more.
Novel exercisers should aim to start simple. Even walking and jogging for 15-30 minutes a day has been shown to be beneficial to improving endurance. However, in order to continue to improve your capacity, the work load should get progressively harder, this goes for everyone.
You should work your way up to endurance training 3 days/ week, mixing up your training styles from sport, to running, to biking, to swimming. Create a diverse endurance training regiment to avoid burn out, and train multiple muscle groups.
It is also helpful to train your 1RM consistently to track your progress overtime. Consider testing your 1 mile time once every month after regularly training endurance throughout the month to see if your endurance routine is truly improving your endurance capacity.
Another important factor to know while creating an endurance plan is your heart rate ranges. Cardiovascular health experts suggest working within certain heart rate ranges to help you numerically and systematically track your endurance overtime. Aerobic exercise can be improved by working within anywhere from 30-100% of your maximum heart rate. Moderate-intensity exercises will be within 50-70% of your maximum heart rate and can be performed at longer periods of time, whereas high-intensity exercise will be from 70-100% for short bursts of time.
To estimate your heart rate max, temple subtract your current age from 220 (for example, if you are 32, your heart rate max will be 188bpm).
Muscle Endurance Training:
Training your muscles for endurance can be achieved in the weight room as well. Training compound lifts at higher rep ranges (10-15), with lower load (30-60%) will help increase your muscle endurance. For distance athletes like cross country runners, soccer, lacrosse, and tennis players, where you must perform for long periods of time, this training style may be favorable to improve your performance in season over heavy weight training.
Sources and Further Reading Opportunities:
Appel, M., Zentgraf, K., Krüger, K., & Alack, K. (2021, July 21). Effects of genetic variation on endurance performance, muscle strength, and injury susceptibility in sports: A systematic review. Frontiers in physiology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8334364/
The American Heart Association. (2023b, May 15). Target heart rates chart. www.heart.org. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/target-heart-rates
The American Heart Association. (2022, March 23). Endurance exercise (aerobic). www.heart.org. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/endurance-exercise-aerobic
Brennan, D. (2021, November 27). Cardiovascular endurance: What it is, and how to improve it. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/what-is-cardiovascular-endurance
Booth, F. W., Ruegsegger, G. N., & Toedebush, R. G. (2015, September 5). Endurance exercise and the regulation of skeletal muscle metabolism. Progress in molecular biology and translational science. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26477913/
Morici, G., Gruttad’Auria, C. I., Baiamonte, P., Mazzuca, E., Castrogiovanni, A., & Bonsignore, M. R. (2016, June). Endurance training: Is it bad for you?. Breathe (Sheffield, England). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4933620/#:~:text=Endurance%20exercise%20training%20exerts%20many,all%2Dcause%20and%20cardiovascular%20mortality.
National Library of Medicine. (2012). Health-Related Fitness measures for youth: Cardiorespiratory endurance. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK241309/
University of Virginia. (2023, April 25). Vo2 Max testing. Exercise Physiology Core Laboratory. https://med.virginia.edu/exercise-physiology-core-laboratory/fitness-assessment-for-community-members/vo2-max-testing/#:~:text=VO2%20max%2C%20or%20maximal%20oxygen,cardiovascular%20fitness%20and%20aerobic%20endurance.