In the last few weeks, we’ve covered energy systems and the types of training that use different energy systems. Namely Strength and Hypertrophy. This week looks at endurance training and the different types of endurance training; the popular and not so popular. When working to increase your work capacity, no matter what the discipline, endurance training is going to be your go-to tool.

Why Endurance Training? I Don’t Want to Do An Ironman…

Endurance training has been seen by many as being something that marathon runners or Ironman athletes do. However, it has great benefits for the regular gym goers too. Apart from working wonders for your insulin sensitivity, it also allows you to give more to your workouts by increasing your work capacity. You may feel it’s not something that has much merit to the type of training you do, but adding the right type of endurance training to complement your workouts can be a great help.

When you’re in the midst of a workout and feel you can’t give anymore. If you’re falling short of completing your workouts or falling apart at the seams when you do. When you’re sure you could have done more but your body wouldn’t cooperate – it’s your endurance that’s lacking. Even though I’ve never been one for marathons, adding in selective endurance training has always led to my best results. My clients are well aware of added barbell complexes or weight based endurance circuits to complement their training.

What’s Makes Endurance Workouts Different?

Endurance workouts are brutally hard. Make no mistake about it. They’re the workouts that can have you close to tears, in extreme agony and close to bringing up your breakfast. Sounds like fun right? However, it’s also important that you choose the right workout for your goals.

If your main goal is strength, you may look to strongman style workouts, or if you’re looking for for a blend of strength, muscle and endurance, you may try something along the lines of Crossfit or Gym Jones. If you are however focused purely on endurance, then training for a half or whole marathon, an ironman or even a obstacle based event is going to be your best choice.

Workouts like these have more befits then just increased performance. This type of workout helps improve your cardio health, allows you to use fuel more efficiently and you stay lean. The sheer amount of work means that your body becomes highly efficient in the way it uses fuel, meaning you support your muscles to work harder and less of what you eat is stored as fat.

How Do I Go About Training Increasing My Endurance?

The articles over the last few weeks, on energy systems or strength, show you that endurance training has specific requirements. You can do exactly the same movements, exercises and movement patterns you usually do, but the amount of work you do for them increases. Specifically the number of reps per set increases while the weights you use decrease.

The goal of training to increase your endurance, meaning you have to try to push yourself a little further every workout. Pushing yourself to complete more reps and more sets every time you workout. However, there is a point of diminishing returns. As mentioned in last weeks article, you need to stay within your body’s capacity to recover. So if you over do it, you’ll be doing all the hard work without getting any of the benefit.

When training for endurance, especially if it’s new to you, start small. You can increase the amount of work you do, or decrease the amount of rest you take as the weeks and months go by. But tying to do it all at once, will just leave you feeling broken with a bad taste in your mouth. Start out slow, get a feel for it and take it from there.