Try endurance interval training to boost your aerobic endurance and mix up your routine. Instead of high-intensity intervals, this involves practicing lower-intensity, longer exercise sessions mixed with periods of rest, typically at a one-to-one ratio. This type of interval training works well with exercises like swimming, long-distance running and cycling. Mix three to five minutes of exercise with three to five minutes of rest, going back and forth. You would generally do this type of workout for 30 to 45 minutes for one to two times a week, mixing in different types of exercise and rest days in between.
As opposed to interval training where you allow your body time to regroup between sets of sprints, circuit training offers no rest. Circuits of different exercises are performed back to back, which means an intense workout that has no recovery and leads to the muscles experiencing fatigue. This type of training improves your strength and stamina. Circuit training can be done either at a gym or at home. Choose six to eight strength exercises that focus on your lower body, your upper body and your core. In addition, work in a few aerobic exercises, such as jump rope or running, that will be interspersed with the strength. Move through your circuit focusing on each exercise for only 30 seconds and continue through the circuit until you have reached your desired time. Always remember, the key to circuit training is to not rest – if your body doesn’t feel weak after a training session, you weren’t working hard enough.
Skip the Weights Sometimes
Depending on the goals you are trying to achieve, the amount of weight you are lifting plays a large role. For instance, if you are trying to build muscular strength, use the heaviest weights you are capable of lifting. However, on the other hand, if muscular endurance is what you are after, then lift a light to moderate weight. In most cases, your own body weight can be used. While fewer repetitions benefit strength and power, you should perform 15 to 20 repetitions of each exercise to improve your muscular endurance.
Go back to the basics for exercises that use your own body weight and build endurance – lunges, squats, squat jumps, chin-ups, etc. These exercises are staples for a reason, they work. To increase the intensity of a few of these routines, such as squats and lunges, add a balancing ball (half ball with flat bottom) to the mix. This will not only work your legs but your stabilizing muscles will be engaged the whole time to maintain your balance.
The key to improve muscular endurance is to do resistance exercises that use the weight of your own body along with aerobic exercise. An example of this would be running up and down stairs. The running increases your heart rate to an aerobic level while your body’s weight provides resistance and builds the strength of your leg muscles. Basically, any exercise that causes the muscles to contract against an external resistance. Resistance training, according to the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI), is to “gradually and progressively overload the musculature system so it gets stronger”. Therefore, you are pushing your body through a rigorous work out that, over time, will allow you to be stronger athlete.
-Ken Campbell is an avid lifter and hockey player. His off-season hockey core training consists of using some of the methods indicated above to improve his endurance and performance.