Muscular endurance is terminology used to describe the body’s ability to do repetitive muscle contractions for an extended period of time. Exercises that build this type of endurance work your slow twitch muscle fibers. Fast twitch fibers, the other type of muscle fibers in the body, get called into play when you do fast, explosive motions such as pressing a barbell over your head. To train for muscle endurance, you need to do exercises with high reps and little added resistance. A rep range of 15 to 30 is a good starting point. You can also go by time and use 30 to 45 seconds per exercise as a rule of thumb.
Push-ups can increase your upper body muscular endurance. To do a push-up, lie on your stomach with your hands slightly wider apart than shoulder-width. After curling your toes under your feet and placing them hip-width apart, push yourself off the floor. When your arms are fully extended, lift your hips and tighten your core to get your back straight. From this position, slowly lower yourself down until your chest is within a fist-width of the floor. Push yourself back up and repeat.
Dips are exercises that focus on the back of the upper arms. This exercise can be beneficial if you extend your arm repetitively, such as in a basketball game. To do dips, stand with your back to a workout bench. Place your palms on the edge of the bench approximately shoulder-width apart with your fingers wrapped down around the bottom of the bench. Walk your feet forward and ground your heels into the floor so your toes are pointing straight up. Your arms should now be straight and tight against your sides. Your legs should also be straight and your butt should be just in front of the bench. After contracting your core, lower yourself down towards the floor. When your elbows bend to a 90- degree angle, push yourself back up and repeat.
Back extensions are performed from a face-down position on the floor. To execute them, place your hands on the sides of your head and lift your torso up in the air. After holding for a second, lower yourself back down and repeat. When performing this exercise, keep your core tight and lower body pinned against the floor. Back extensions work your lower back muscles and abs.
A v-up exercise creates muscular endurance in your abdomen. To do this exercise, lie face-up on the floor with your arms extended behind your head. While keeping your arms and legs straight, lift them off the floor and toward each other simultaneously. Once you touch your toes with your hands, lower yourself back down and repeat.
Prisoner squats can build muscle endurance in your legs. To perform them, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and place your hands on the sides of your head. After you tighten your core, lower yourself down by bending your knees. When your thighs parallel the floor, stand back up and repeat. During this exercise, make sure to keep your back straight and your eyes looking forward.
Plyo Squat Throws
Plyo squat throws are explosive exercises performed with a medicine ball. To do these, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the medicine ball against your chest with both hands. After lowering yourself down into a squat, jump in the air as high as possible and throw the ball above you. As soon as you land, pick the ball back up and repeat. When doing this exercise, throw the ball slightly in front of your body to prevent getting hit on the head.
About this Author
Kevin Rail has worked in the fitness industry since 2001 and has been writing since 2004. He has professional experience as a certified personal trainer, wellness coach, motivational engineer and freelance fitness writer. He currently writes a monthly column for Ron Jones High-Performance Health. Rail has a bachelor’s degree in sports management: fitness and wellness from California University of Pennsylvania.