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If you’re wondering to yourself, what is endurance training, it’s defined as building your capacity for extended periods of intense physical exertion. Having a high level of endurance gives you an increased ability to tolerate pain, stress, and fatigue. Marathon running and long-distance cycling are perhaps the best-known types of endurance exercises, but there are many others that all have their own specific benefits.

Endurance training can be broken down into cardiovascular endurance training and muscular endurance training.

Cardiovascular Endurance Training

Cardiovascular endurance refers to your aerobic capacity, or the ability of your heart, lungs, and blood vessels to deliver oxygen to your muscles over long periods of time. It also means that your body becomes more efficient at converting carbohydrate and fat into energy. Cardiovascular endurance training has the ability to increase metabolism, boost energy levels, and improve the heart’s function. As such, aerobic endurance training can improve your overall health as well as your athletic performance.

What counts as an endurance exercise varies widely by activity type. But, as an example, endurance running is anything over 30 minutes long. Other aerobic fitness training activities include skiing, climbing, swimming, team sports, and endurance competitions like Ironman.

You’ll know that your stamina training is having an effect when your heart beats at a slower rate when undertaking strenuous physical activity. When compared to a person who is only moderately active, a person who engages in endurance training would find it easier to hold a conversation mid-exercise without being too winded. They will also recover easier afterward.

A simple way to increase your cardiovascular endurance is to slow down and try to add more minutes to your total workout session. Slowing your cycling or running, for example, will allow you to go for longer. You’ll find you’re able to speed up again as your endurance increases. 

Muscular Endurance Training

Muscular endurance means being able to perform strength training exercises with proper form for longer. The most effective way to increase muscular endurance is to engage in low to moderate intensity training that you can keep up with for thirty minutes or more. Body weight exercises such as planks, burpees, and wall sits are a great way of doing this. You’ll be able to complete more reps as your stamina starts to increase, and eventually, you’ll find that you can add weights to your muscular endurance exercises to increase the challenge.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) sessions can also increase your endurance. Despite them being short and powerful workouts, HIIT classes can increase your muscles’ ability to utilize oxygen and therefore build endurance.

How to Build Endurance

Cardiovascular endurance training techniques can differ from person to person depending on their fitness level and the sport or activity they’re engaging in. There are five key endurance training programs that can improve aerobic endurance:
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) sessions can also increase your endurance. Despite them being short and powerful workouts, HIIT classes can increase your muscles’ ability to utilize oxygen and therefore build endurance.

  • Slow-distance training – if you haven’t been training long or you’re building up to a marathon or a long-distance bike ride, this is a great method for you. Training periods should last anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours, and you should be working at about 80% of your maximum heart rate.

  • Pace-tempo training – this involves training at just above race pace for 20-30 minutes. By working at a slightly higher heart rate, you should see improved energy production from your aerobic and anaerobic pathways.

  • Interval training – this consists of brief 3-5 minute stints of intense physical exercise, such as running at 85% of your maximum heart rate followed by short rest periods. The ratio of interval training should be 1:1 and the entire workout should last between 30 and 45 minutes.

  • Repetition training – this is the most intensive form of aerobic endurance training and it’s often used to improve speed in activities like running and cycling. A specific set of exercises are performed in quick succession for between 60 and 90 seconds, followed by a break of five minutes or more.

  • Fartlek training – this method incorporates all of the above aerobic endurance training techniques to create long training sessions. A medium intensity level of around 70% of your maximum heart rate forms the foundation of fartlek training, which is combined with high-intensity bursts of activity. 

    If you’re wondering how to increase endurance in strength training, using bodyweight-based circuit training is a great option. 8fit recommends the following 15-minute workout as being a good test of your endurance. Try to perform five sets of the entire circuit without breaking between exercises. You can take a 1-minute break at the end of each set.

    • Inchworms: 5 reps
    • Push-ups: 10 reps
    • Plank jacks: 15 reps
    • Sumo squats: 20 reps
    • Butterfly sit-ups: 25 reps
    • Swimmers: 20 reps
    • Dips: 15 reps
    • Walking lunges: 10 reps
    • Burpees: 5 reps

    Nutrition for Endurance Training

    Endurance workouts require a lot of fuel, so the food you consume can be the difference between smashing your goals and coming up short. Bars and gels are lifesavers during endurance-length workouts, but when you’re not training you need to pay close attention to your macronutrients. Your diet needs to be bursting with lean protein and complex carbohydrates, and you should be eating as much fruit and veg as you can. It goes without saying that you should be avoiding fatty junk food, alcohol, and caffeine as much as possible. Well-fed athletes enjoy consistent performance and quick recovery, so you also need to make sure that you’re eating enough.

    Hydration is also incredibly important. Achieving the correct balance of fluids and electrolytes can improve digestion, nutrient absorption, and brain power. It’s not as simple as drinking the standard eight glasses of water per day, though. Every athlete must monitor their own requirements depending on their size, activity levels, and sweat rate. Weather and altitude are also important factors for thirst, so consider your surroundings. It’s advised to alternate plain water with electrolyte drinks for the most effective hydration possible.

    Training Peaks
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    Is Endurance Training Bad for You?

    Studies have been conducted to determine whether endurance training exercises are actually good for you. Concerns including heart-rhythm abnormalities and reduced testosterone levels are increasingly being reported in scientific literature, and there have been instances where endurance athletes have suffered sudden cardiac death.

    Should you worry if you’re engaging in endurance training? Not necessarily, but it’s certainly important to take the proper precautions. Workouts designed to increase endurance such as HIIT training are highly demanding on your heart, muscles, and lungs, so it’s smart to get the all-clear from your physician before you embark on a new training plan. It’s wise to start slowly to avoid over-exertion, then build up to longer and more challenging workouts over time. Always ensure that you do a proper warm up and cool down too, to avoid injury. 

    Final Thoughts

    When performed safely and with a steady approach, endurance training is highly effective for tackling your fitness goals. It’s sensible to increase endurance in increments, so it can take time and practice to find your stride. But, once you do you’ll find endurance training to be one of the most effective ways of increasing your fitness and looking after your health.

    Do you have an endurance training success story? Tell us about it in the comments. 



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