Muscular Endurance vs Muscular Strength: Which one should you train for?

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Most people associate endurance with the svelte marathon athletes they see on TV. Lifters, on the other hand, are baffled by the concept of muscle endurance. Muscle endurance and strength training are two different approaches that can both contribute to increased hypertrophy. Muscular strength vs. muscular endurance has a few key differences. When it comes to muscle endurance, the ability of a muscle to exert force continuously without tiring is referred to as muscular endurance.

In contrast, muscular strength refers to the amount of pressure a muscle can create with a single peak effort. Thus, muscle endurance and strength training necessitate different approaches, yet they both have the same goal of boosting performance.

For starters, let’s look at the similarities and contrasts between bodybuilders and powerlifters; both are elite athletes, but they train in quite different ways. For example, those who compete in bodybuilding seek enormous hypertrophy, whereas those in powerlifting seek more strength.

Physical endurance vs. muscular strength will be discussed in-depth in this post, but our goal is not to judge which is superior but to educate you on the advantages of both training approaches. We’ll also teach you how to enhance both in the paragraphs that follow.


What is the high level of Muscular Endurance?

Although training will help you become solid in both areas, don’t mix up physical endurance with cardiovascular endurance.

Cardiovascular endurance is all about the body’s ability to provide oxygenated blood when exercising for an extended period. As far as physical fitness is concerned, muscular endurance refers to your muscles’ ability to work continuously without tiring.

Rowing, skiing, and high-volume weight training help build muscular endurance, while jogging, skipping, and swimming build cardiovascular strength.


What is the purpose of muscular endurance in the process of growing larger muscles?

In this post, we’ll focus on hypertrophy (muscle growth), so let’s take a look at the benefits of improving your physical endurance for hypertrophy.

By increasing your muscular endurance, you’ll be able to perform more repetitions and sets without feeling tired or failing.

As a side effect of training for muscle endurance, a specific adaptation occurs within muscle cells, aiding in the production of mitochondria.

When you train at a high volume, your glycogen stores are depleted, which tells your brain that your muscles need more energy. As a result, the body activates “mitochondrial biogenesis” to meet its increasing energy needs.

More mitochondria mean more ATP, and more ATP means you can go harder when you’re strength training.

Gymnasts train for muscle endurance to increase their body’s ability to perform special maneuvers like the IRON CROSS and STRADDLE PLANCHE.


What do you mean by muscle strength?

Muscle strength probably doesn’t require an introduction, but I’ll give you a quick rundown anyhow.

The amount of force a muscle can generate with a single maximal effort is its muscular strength. Therefore, calculating a person’s one-rep max is an excellent way to determine their muscular strength.

Squats, deadlifts, and bench presses are the most exemplary indicators of muscle strength.

Next, we’ll talk about the most incredible ways to build both muscular endurance and muscular strength.


Muscular strength vs. muscular endurance: which is better?

Knowing the difference is necessary to understand the relevance of both, and knowing the difference will also assist you in selecting the best strategy for achieving your objectives.


1- The involvement of muscle fibers

The ability to stimulate multiple muscle fibers is one of the critical differences between endurance and strength training.

Strength training aids in developing fast-twitch muscle fibers, whereas muscle endurance training aids in the development of slow-twitch muscle fibers.

Fast-twitch muscle fibers are noted for their capacity to apply maximum force in a short amount of time, and they can also become bigger and stronger.

Slow-twitch fibers can withstand modest force for lengthy periods. These muscle groups come into action whether you’re running vast distances or rowing.

In skeletal muscle, the ratio of slow-twitch to fast-twitch fibers determines strength and endurance. Together, they will improve performance and hypertrophy.

However, when you push your muscular endurance training to the point of failure, you create both slow and quick-twitch muscle fibers.


2- Source of energy

People have assumed for decades that exercising high volume with high reps would result in muscle toning and fat loss.

But then came the self-proclaimed fitness gurus who said things like “cardio is terrible” and “lift heavy to shred fat.”

Endurance training is mainly based on fat metabolization, whereas strength training is primarily based on glycogen stores.

Our cells require oxygen to convert fat into ATP, whereas carbs can generate energy even if oxygen is scarce.

Because of the increased availability of oxygen during muscular endurance exercise, fat oxidation is improved.

That isn’t to say that lifting hefty weights won’t help you burn fat; in fact, lifting weights boosts your metabolic rate, leading to fat loss.

Furthermore, every pound of muscle mass gained raises metabolic rate by 50 calories, so acquiring 4-5 pounds of muscle mass can enhance resting metabolic rate by 200-250 calories.

End Note: Performing a large number of reps will help you build muscle endurance and help you burn fat.


3- Strength and Hypertrophy

We all know that strength training will help you become bigger and stronger. But is it possible to achieve the same hypertrophy with high rep ranges (20-30 reps)?

High rep ranges are effective in increasing muscle development and hypertrophy in several studies. The “Henneman’s principle of muscle fiber contraction” states that muscle fibers work in a very efficient manner.

The brain only uses slow-twitch fibers (due to their fuel efficiency) to get any movement done. Once those slow-twitch endurance fibers fatigue or fail to bear the amount of resistance, the brain uses stronger fast-twitch fibers.

Lighter weights were proven to be just as beneficial as bigger weights in a 2016 study done at McMaster University.

They put two groups of trained athletes through their paces, one doing 20-25 repeats till failure and the other doing traditional strength training with moderate 8-12 reps.

“At the point of tiredness, both groups would have tried to activate their muscle fibers to the maximum extent possible to generate force,” explains the principal research analyst.

According to a study, both groups gained similar amounts of muscle. So for those who like to go light, it’s a win-win situation.

Although strength training is superior to endurance training in terms of achieving strength, this does not negate the importance of muscular endurance training in developing physical power.

Including some muscular endurance workouts in your workout plan will help you gain a few inches.

So, if you’re doing a solid bench press for 8-10 reps, adding 20 more reps with 15kg dumbbells is a terrific idea. This strategy will help you simultaneously improve muscle strength, hypertrophy, and endurance.


4- Cardiovascular conditioning

Heart conditioning is vital whether you want to increase your quality of life or work out for a more extended period.

Strength training will not aid with heart conditioning unless you complete super-sets or have a very brief rest period between sets.

For obvious reasons, a muscular endurance practice promotes cardiac conditioning.


5- Bone and joint health

Many lifters have been hurt as a result of putting too much emphasis on muscular strength. For example, lifters proceed to lift a larger weight too soon in an attempt to gain muscle, resulting in injuries.

Sometimes all you need to do is allow your joints the time they need to adjust to the increased resistance and become used to it.

Muscle endurance workouts involve lifting a modest weight for a higher number of reps, which protects the joints from excessive stress while also allowing for a better mind-muscle connection.

Furthermore, performing high reps improves muscle memory, allowing you to perform the same reps more fluidly and naturally.


What’s the point of working on both at the same time?

Because most expert lifters do it this way, so it is essential to merge muscular endurance training into your strength-training routine if you want to get the best results from all of your muscle groups.

Increasing the size of your slow-twitch muscle fibers will help your fast-twitch ones lift more weight.

To assist your body in recovering from intense strength training days, do your muscular endurance training on your low carb days or on days when you do modest lifting.


How can one increase their muscle endurance or stamina?

Long-distance lunges, bodyweight squats, or spinning can all help you build lower-body muscular endurance.

Using a rowing machine at the gym is a great approach to build muscle endurance. The rep range between 15 and 25 will also put a strain on your endurance, causing it to improve.


What are the best ways to build muscle mass?

The best approach to gain strength is through progressive overload. If you prefer bodyweight exercises, it’s critical that you gradually increase the difficulty of your motions or wear a weighted vest to feel the difference in resistance.


A Few Frequently Asked Questions on Muscular Endurance

How Important Is Muscular Endurance, Exactly?

Movements that don’t need a great deal of muscular endurance, such as a golf swing or an Olympic lift, are preferred by athletes.

Muscular endurance is required for improved performance in other activities such as boxing, wrestling, skied, kayaked, etc.

When it comes to dealing with the daily bustle of carrying heavy objects, gardening, cleaning, or taking care of children, your muscular endurance is critical.

Muscular endurance is also essential for having more time to spend making love with a spouse.


When it comes to pushups, do they test your muscle strength or your endurance?

At first, consistent pushups will help you build strength in your upper body, but once you reach a certain point, you’ll be able to do more of them without becoming tired.

Pushups enhance the amount of time your body spends under tension since you can do more of them. The more time you spend under stress, the more you’ll need to strengthen your arms, shoulders, and core.

Working on enhancing time under tension improves both muscular endurance and strength.


Squats and lunges achieve the development of muscular strength or endurance

When you lift heavy weights and perform squats and lunges, you’re building strength.

Exercising muscular endurance means making a lot of bodyweight squats and lunges in a short time. But there is nothing to it.


Why is it so challenging to build upper body strength and endurance?

Do you want to improve your overall strength and stamina in the upper body? Introduce 3-times-a-week calisthenics training.

High-volume bodyweight training improves muscular endurance and has a positive effect on the joints’ health.

Kettlebell swings are a terrific technique to build upper body strength and endurance as well.


Strength/Muscular Endurance vs. Stamina: an analysis

This section was included as a result of popular demand from you, our readers. Physical stamina differs from muscular endurance.

The ability to work at the same intensity for the duration of an exercise is what determines your stamina. Stamina, for example, is the length of time you can run at 15 mph before you get tired.

Endurance refers to your body’s capacity to keep up with the intensity of a task while still completing it. To put it another way, if you can run 5K in under an hour, that’s an indication of your stamina.


Shakir Hasan is a fully qualified personal trainer and award winning writer, with a decade’s worth of experience under his belt. He has helped hundreds of people to meet their dietary and fitness goals, writing exercise and nutrition plans to suit any and every requirement. Shakir founded ThisIsWhyIamFit as a way to share his vast knowledge of exercises, diets, and general fitness advice.