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Improve Endurance: Build Unstoppable Endurance with Bodyweight Circuits

By 14th December 2016Improve Endurance
Improve endurance with bodyweight circuits

Improving Endurance

Lots of people exercise for muscle strength and size but almost all sporting activities and many of the more demanding chores people do on a daily basis need something else; they need endurance.

Endurance, in technical terms, is the ability of a muscle or muscle group to perform low-intensity activities for a long duration without suffering undue fatigue. In simpler terms, it’s your ability to keep on keeping on!

Many activities require endurance and training for this type of muscle fitness can help tone and firm your muscles without making them big and bulky. That doesn’t mean that training for endurance is just for women though, men need it too.

Any repetitive action requires endurance if you want to do it without feeling totally exhausted before you are ready to quit. Gardening, walking, team sports, DIY, playing with your kids, and distance running all involve an element of endurance.

Endurance is the result of a combination of factors…

  1. Well-develop aerobic fitness – aerobic fitness is the ability of your body to deliver oxygen to your working muscles via your cardiovascular system which comprises of your heart, lungs, and blood vessels. The more oxygen you can get to your muscles, the longer they will be able to continue working before you start to feel the dreaded burn.
  2. Lactic acid tolerance – that aforementioned burn is the result of the build-up of lactic acid in your muscles. Being aerobically fit slows the build-up but you also need to be able to tolerate its effects if you want to demonstrate endurance. With training, you can improve your ability to tolerate lactic acid – both in terms of discomfort and speed at which your body clears it from your system.
  3. Increased muscle function – where lifting heavy weights develops muscle strength and size, doing high-rep sets with lighter weights will enhance your muscular endurance. This is because of the specificity principle; what you do is what you get good at. The more work (reps, exercises etc.) you do, the more work your body will be able to do as your muscles adapt to the stress placed on them.

How to Develop Muscular Endurance

What is the best way to develop total body endurance? Good question! While you could do cardio and high rep strength training in the gym, you’ll get much better results by performing bodyweight circuits.

Bodyweight circuits are easy to organise, can be done almost anywhere, require no specialist equipment, develop both muscular and cardiovascular endurance and are also a superb way to burn calories and lose fat. The exercises themselves are safe, effective, challenging and fun and you can move quickly from one to the next which is essential for keeping your heart rate elevated.

This type of training has long been popular with boxers, martial artists, and the military because quite simply it provides the best possible results.

Here are some tried-and-tested bodyweight circuit exercises for you to try yourself. Each one will help you lose weight, firm up and develop unstoppable endurance. After a few weeks of this type of training, you will develop unbeatable stamina and become indefatigable!

Workout One

Perform as many laps of this four exercise circuit as you can in twenty minutes. Rest when you need to, but strive to do as much work as you can in the allotted time. If 20 minutes’ sounds like too long, feel free to reduce the time to 15 or even 10 minutes. Conversely, if you are super-fit, up the ante and go for 25 or even 30 minutes…

  1. 10 Squats
    With your feet shoulder-width apart, push your hips back; bend your knees and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Stand back up and repeat. Keep your chest up and don’t round your lower back.
  2. 10 Squat thrusts
    In a crouched position, jump your feet out and back into a press-up position and then jump them back in. really pump those legs!
  3. 10 Press ups
    With your hands shoulder-width apart and your legs straight, bend your arms and lower your chest to touch the floor. Push back up and then repeat. If you prefer an easier workout, bend your legs and place your knees on the floor – a three-quarter press up.
  4. 10 Burpees
    Squat down and place your hands on the floor. Jump your feet back and into the press up position. Perform a single press up. Jump your feet back into your hands and then leap up into the air. That’s one repetition – nine left to go! If you prefer, you can omit the press up and/or jump for a slightly easier workout.

Workout Two

Perform five laps of 20 repetitions of the following. Rest 60-90 seconds between laps. If 20 reps seem like too much adjust the reps to 15 or even 10.

  1. 20 squat jumps
    With your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees to 90 degrees and then leap up into the air as high as you can. Land on soft knees and then repeat. Use your arms for extra drive.
  2. 20 squats
    With your feet shoulder-width apart, push your hips back; bend your knees and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Stand back up and repeat. Keep your chest up and don’t round your lower back.
  3. 20 jumping lunges (10 each leg)
    Start in a lunge position with your legs bent and rear knee lightly touching the floor. Jump up and into the air and change your legs so your back leg swings forward and vice versa. Land as lightly as you can and then immediately perform another repetition. Continue jumping and alternating legs for the duration of your set.
  4. 20 lunges (10 each leg)
    Take a large step forward and then bend your knees so your rear knee comes to within an inch of the floor. Push off your front leg and spring back up to your starting position. Immediately perform another repetition leading with your opposite leg.
  5. 20-second wall squat hold
    Stand with your back against a smooth wall. Bend your knees and slide down the wall until your knees are bent to 90 degrees and your thighs are parallel to the floor. Ideally, your shins should be vertical. Push your back against the wall as hard as you can for 20 seconds – don’t just sit there!

Workout Three

Skipping is great exercise and can be either aerobic or anaerobic depending on how fast you go. Make sure your rope is the right length for you by standing on the centre of the rope with your feet together. The handles should reach your armpits. If the rope is too long, tie a couple of knots in it. If the rope is too short, discard it and get another! Either way, having a rope that is the right length can make skipping much less tricky!

Perform 30 seconds of each exercise in the flowing sequence and then rest for 60 seconds before repeating. Five to eight laps should do the job!

  1. Skipping
    If you are new to skipping, start off by keeping your feet together and staying on the spot. As you become more practiced, move to a heal-toe action – sometimes called a boxer’s skip. Once you have mastered that, move to jogging on the spot and finally progress to lifting your knees up and sprinting on the spot. If you are really proficient, try two rope turns per jump – the so-called double under!
  2. Crunches
    Lie on your back with your legs elevated and your knees bent to 90 degrees. Place your hands on your temples. Flex your abs and lift your head and shoulders off the ground so your elbows touch your knees – don’t pull on your head, though! Slowly lower your upper body back to the floor and repeat.
  3. Skipping
    As above.
  4. Press ups
    With your hands shoulder-width apart and your legs straight, bend your arms and lower your chest to touch the floor. Push back up and then repeat. If you prefer an easier workout, bend your legs and place your knees on the floor – a three-quarter press up.
  5. Skipping
    As above.
  6. Power squats
    Stand with your feet together and your hands by your sides. Jump your feet out and, immediately on landing, squat down by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Jump up and bring your feet together so you land in your original starting position. Try to be as light on your feet as possible – not like an elephant!

Nutrition for Endurance

Good nutrition and nutritional supplements can help you develop even better endurance. Try these products to boost your endurance and become even more unstoppable!

  1. Creatine – creatine is a precursor of your primary energy source adenosine triphosphate or ATP for short. Taking create means you’ll have more ATP in the first place and be able to replace it faster, both of which will contribute to greater endurance. Creatine is also a known lactic acid buffer which means you’ll feel less of a burn during exercise.
  2. Caffeine – good old caffeine can boost endurance by giving you energy without calories. It increases the mobility of your fat cells making them easier to use for fuel. Use a caffeine supplement or drink a strong cup of black coffee before your workouts to take your training to the next level.
  3. Branched chain amino acids – your body can use branched chain amino acids for energy in lieu of carbs or fats which means that if you have BCAAs in your system, you have more fuel to power you through your workouts. BCAAs before or during your workout should mean you have more energy during exercise and recover faster afterwards.

Endurance training can be tough but it is rewarding and there is no better way to shape up and get lean in minimal time. There is a reason that this type of workout is so popular with serious athletes – it works!

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