Muscular Endurance Training | The Benefits | Best Training Methods

Updated: Jul 11, 2021

Introduction | Muscular endurance training methods | Muscular endurance fitness tests | Benefits of muscular endurance training | Muscular endurance exercises

a woman swinging a kettlebell as part of a muscular endurance training session

Muscular endurance is merely the ability to apply force against a resistance for extensive periods of time. For example, a person who can perform, say, 50 kettlebell snatches or complete a set of 100-unbroken press-ups, is said to have good muscle endurance.

Looked at another way, endurance is a term ‘used to describe the durability of an object or an individual’s ability to tolerate circumstances that are less than pleasant,’ (Watson 1995). Thus the grand tour cyclist crawling up a mountain pass or the marathon runner pushing on in spite of the pain and fatigue is showcasing extreme muscular endurance.

Some characteristics of muscular endurance training include

High repetition sets – 12-plus reps
The resistance is light
The period of time the exercise spans exceeds 30 seconds – there is no absolute upper limit (apparently the planking world record stands (or lies) at a little over 35 hours!)
The repetitions are performed in a smooth unbroken continuous movement with no noticeable breaks or pauses
Rest periods between sets should be short

Best training methods for developing muscular endurance

Perhaps the single most effective method of developing muscular endurance would be to take part in regular circuit training. This is because the characteristics that define a circuit – minimal rest periods coupled with high-intensity/volume output – aligns almost exactly to the characteristics that define endurance training.

In fact, it would be true to say that in the vast majority of cases a circuit is populated by a series of muscular endurance activities; usually resistance exercises of a light to moderate weight.

Another highly effective method of developing muscular endurance is by regularly engaging in AMRAPs. I’ve covered this training methodology in a different article (AMRAP Training), so I won’t go into detail here. But the basic principal of an AMRAP is predicated on performing an exercise continuously for a specified period of time.