by Christine Al Hakeem PT
Muscular endurance is the capability of a muscle to sustain repeated contraction against resistance over a period of time. Most athletes, who are involved in sports requiring sustained activity for long periods of time, are in need of muscular endurance training.
Muscle endurance should not be confused with muscle strength. The difference is that while muscle endurance focuses on the number of repetitions a person can exert, muscle strength on the other hand, is the ability of a muscle or a muscle group to develop maximal contractile force in a single contraction.
In order to further understand what you should do to develop your muscle endurance, we’ll break it down further.
Every muscle has two types of fibers; Type 1-Slow twitch fibers and Type 2- fast twitch fibers. Type 1 are fatigue resistant and the energy system that fuels them is aerobic (requires oxygen). Type 2 fibers contract rapidly and forcefully but fatigue easily and the energy system that fuels them is anaerobic (does not require oxygen).
Muscle endurance training is used to develop Type 1 muscle fibers. Every person is born with a certain amount of Type 1 and Type 2 fibers which cannot be increased or decreased: however we can train to increase the total size of a muscle.
This article will focus on improving muscle endurance by exercise training.
Every athlete uses different muscle groups based on their sport. For a motorbike racer, the main muscles used are:
- Abdominal: Used for positioning and stability on the motorbike.
- Upper Arm: Used for positioning and stability on the motorbike.
- Forearm: Used for positioning, control and movement.
- Inner Thigh: Used for positioning, but mostly for gripping the motorbike.
To start, the athlete need to know their body well. Taking a self-endurance test will help you as an athlete know what muscles are weaker than others and what you need to focus on. This will also help you track your progress.
Below are some examples of muscle endurance test;
- Abdominals: Do as many repetitions of abdominal crunches until you are fatigued.
- Squats: Do as many squats as you can in 1 minute or until you are fatigued.
- Pushups: Do as many pushups as you can in 1 minute or until you are fatigued
- Motorcycle rider fitness. Retrieved November 27, 2016, from http://www.diseno-art.com/riderfitness.htm
- Muscle strength. (2003). Retrieved November 27, 2016, from http://facstaff.elon.edu/ehall/Assets/CD/files/strength.htm
- Muscle fiber types and training. Retrieved November 27, 2016, from http://www.coachr.org/fiber.htm
- Nunley, K. A muscular endurance test for the legs. Retrieved November 27, 2016, from http://healthyliving.azcentral.com/muscular-endurance-test-legs-11349.html
- Halse, H. (2016, November 10). Push-ups and muscular endurance tests. Retrieved November 27, 2016, from http://www.livestrong.com/article/260042-push-ups-muscular-endurance-tests/