What Is Muscular Strength & Endurance?

by Dr. Rick Kattouf II

About Dr. Rick Kattouf II

Dr. Rick Kattouf II has been writing health/fitness articles since 1997. His articles have appeared in "GO Magazine," "Velo News," "Chicago Athlete," "Champion Nutrition.com," "New O.D.," "TrainingPeaks.com," and "Florida Racing Magazine." Kattouf received his Doctor of Optometry degree in 1997 and is a food psychology coach, wellness and nutrition consultant, sports nutrition consultant, MMA conditioning coach, and an ITCA triathlon coach.

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Muscular strength and endurance can be enhanced through weight, or resistance, training. Muscular strength is the ability to lift a maximal amount of weight for one repetition. This is similar to a one-repetition maximum bench press test. Muscular endurance is the ability to lift an amount of weight that is lower than the maximum you can lift as many times as possible. Muscular strength is built by performing only a few repetitions of an exercise, where muscular endurance is built by performing several repetitions of an exercise.

Improving Strength

In order to improve muscular strength, lifting heavy amounts of weight will be beneficial. During your training sessions, you want to train your upper and lower body about two to three times per week. For each exercise, use the appropriate amount of weight to successfully perform three to five repetitions. The weight should be heavy and leave the muscle fatigued after performing the repetitions. Do two to four sets, resting one to three minutes in between each set.

Achieving Endurance

Muscular endurance will be achieved using a much lighter amount of weight for each exercise. You can alternate weeks where one week you can train muscular strength and the next week muscular endurance. You want to train both your lower and upper body two to three times per week. For each exercise use the necessary amount of weight so you can successfully perform 12 to 25 repetitions per exercise. Perform two to four sets per exercise, and rest one to three minutes in between each set.

Reducing Injury

Toning and strengthening your muscles not only helps you look good, but also helps prevent injury. For example, crunches will increase the strength of the abdominal muscles that partially support the spine thereby reducing the risk of back injury. Muscular strength and endurance in the lower body will reduce stress on the lower back. Tendons and ligaments will also become stronger through weight training which will also reduce the risk of injury.

Ftiness Improvements

Aside from improved posture and injury prevention, muscular strength and endurance will lead to an increase in lean muscle, and a lower amount of body fat. It is this increase in lean muscle that will lead to a higher metabolism creating a higher calorie burn during rest as well as during exercise. The benefit of less body fat as a result of good muscular strength and endurance can also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Focusing Your Training

When training muscular strength and endurance, you can be very sport specific in terms of what you want to focus on. For example, a power lifter will focus on muscular strength in training as this will benefit a power lifter to lift as much weight as possible. An endurance athlete, such as a triathlete, will want to focus primarily on muscular endurance. No matter what your goals are, enhancing muscular strength and endurance can enhance performance in life, fitness and sport.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.