When people think of endurance and stamina, all they tend to focus on are cardio activities like running or cycling. But that’s only a small part of the equation—you also need to improve your strength. For example, by building your leg muscles, you’ll be able to propel yourself further in every step you take while running. The added muscle also helps absorb the impact that would otherwise put stress on your joints. Here are seven tactics that you’re probably not trying to boost your endurance and stamina.
Endurance Boosting Tactic #1: Combine strength days with cardio days
It’s a simple equation – the more muscle you can get working, the more it will challenge your heart and your cardiovascular system. Instead of building cardio-only workouts, the pitfall that’ll prevent you from building endurance, make sure to weave strength days into your training. Most people reserve one day for strength and another day for cardio. Try combining the two instead. Use a bench press, immediately followed by pull-ups, then run a mile as fast as you can… and then repeat. Another good example: Jump rope for a minute, followed by squats, an overhead press, and finally sit ups. Repeat.
Endurance Boosting Tactic #2:. Reduce your amount of rest
Women typically give themselves between 60 and 90 seconds of recovery time in between sets, but if your goal is greater endurance, be prepared to sacrifice break time. By the end of your sets, your muscles should be burning—you should be breathing heavily and sweating. Only take a break if you physically can not continue. Select a series of movements like 10 pull-ups, 10 squats, 10 push-ups, 10 sit-ups. Do three rounds of the series back to back, taking as minimal a break as possible.
Endurance Boosting Tactic #3. Do fast-paced, high-intensity lifting
When you use weights at an extremely rapid pace, it will not only improve your strength, but also carry over to improve your endurance activity. It’s one of the best ways to ignite your metabolism. When people do an excessive amount of endurance-only training, they actually slow down their metabolism because it starts to eat away at your muscle tissue.
Endurance Boosting Tactic #4. Choose compound movements over isolation
Compound moves that require using more than one joint—like squats, step-ups, push-ups and pull-ups—will improve your endurance more so than exercises in isolation. Isolated exercises like bicep curls and leg lifts aren’t going to stimulate you enough to increase your stamina.
Endurance Boosting Tactic #5. Remember: Routine is the enemy
Switching up your workout is essential to building endurance and stamina. The human body gets used to a workout after two weeks. So if you’re always running, start doing kickboxing instead. Or if you’re an avid cyclist, change it up by running stairs. You need to move the muscles in a different way so that you don’t develop overuse. Plus, it becomes more motivating. It’s important to keep the mind guessing.
Endurance Boosting Tactic #6. Go for hybrid exercises
A squat with an added overhead press (a “thruster”), jumping pull-ups, and lunges with bicep curls are all great hybrids: exercises that take two separate movements and combine them. The more muscles you can get working in a movement, the more it will stimulate your heart muscles, which in turn improves your stamina.
Endurance Boosting Tactic #7. Add explosive movements to your workout
Explosive movements that take a lot of energy challenge your strength, endurance and stamina simultaneously. Once you become more explosive, you’ll notice that you’ll actually start moving faster. Try adding things like burpees, box jumps, jumping knee tucks and power push-ups to your workout routine.