It can be frustrating when you’re hitting the gym, giving it socks, and you’re not seeing the results that you want to see. We’re not just talking about physical results that you can see (although that can be frustrating too), we’re talking about feeling fitter and stronger. We’re talking about muscular endurance! Let’s take a look at how to improve muscular endurance and if CBD workout supplements can help.
We’ve Heard of Cardio, but What Is Muscular Endurance?
Okay, before we get stuck in, talking about how to improve muscular endurance, we need to talk a little bit about what that actually means.
Muscular endurance is all about the strength of each of your muscles or muscle groups. It has to do with your ability to relax and contract your muscles, repeatedly, against a force or resistance for a long period of time. For instance, how many full squats can you do when using a resistance band? Or, how many bicep curls you can do, whilst lifting weight, before breaking form?
Just like every type of training, there are different types of muscular endurance training. For example, if you’re hoping to strengthen muscles groups in your arms and legs, you can use weights and resistance bands. Cardiovascular endurance, on the other hand, concentrates on strengthening the body to support longer periods of movement like cycling, swimming or running.
Why Including Muscular Endurance Training in Your Workout Routine Is Important
Now that we know what muscular endurance training is, let’s take a brief look at why we need it in our lives. According to the NHS, we should be incorporating approximately 150 minutes of moderate exercises into our weekly plans. This means we should spend that time walking, dancing, hiking, roller skating or even pushing a lawnmower or buggy! Alternatively, you could opt for something a little more vigorous like a HIIT workout, running, cycling, swimming or playing sports and bring the time spent down to 75 minutes.
In addition to these exercises, the NHS also recommends spending time strengthening our muscles. They recommend we spend at least two days a week working on the different muscle groups using weights, resistance bands, pilates or by using your own body weight for yoga, or push-ups and sit-ups.
Spending time on muscular endurance benefits us in so many ways. It helps us to perform everyday tasks with ease. For instance, strengthening arm muscles can help you lift and carry your kids for longer. It also means you can carry more weight and even bring in the grocery shopping in one trip (no one likes making two trips). Equally, strengthening leg muscles can help you lift heavier items as well as being able to walk much farther.
Other benefits of improving muscular endurance include:
- Helping you to support a healthy body weight
- Allowing you to progress in your fitness routine
- Reducing the risk of injury when working out or lifting heavy items
- Improving posture
- Improving your performance and stamina when playing sports
How to Improve Muscular Endurance: Our Top Tips
Our first tip on how to improve muscular endurance is to measure where you are at the moment. That way, you’ll know where you started and you can take notes. That’ll make it super easy to keep track of your progress over time. To measure your muscular endurance you can do something simple like a push-up or sit-up test. You can see how many you can do before you need to rest or you can start a timer and see how many reps you can do in that amount of time.
Now let’s talk about exercise to improve muscular endurance.
1. Nailing Weights and Reps
When talking about “load” and building muscle strength, we’re referring to weight or resistance. So, you can use a dumbbell, barbell, or kettlebell or you can hop on the leg press machine. Alternatively, you can opt for resistance training where you can use resistance bands of different levels.
If you’re new to the gym or want to start building your own at-home gym, you might find the weight section a little intimidating. Where do we start? Ideally, you should go for a weight that is less than the maximum weight you can lift/push once. It’s not really about lifting the heaviest weights, it’s about how many reps you can do.
You should be aiming to complete about 10 to 15 reps, for 1 or 2 sets, before breaking form. However, if you’re a fitness fanatic, you can aim a little higher and try 25 reps per set. If you’re unsure where to start with weights you can always ask gym staff for a helping hand!
2. Adjust the Number of Reps to Match Your Speed
When you’ve selected your weights and you’re ready to get moving, you should consider the velocity of your reps – how fast or slowly you’re moving. Different speeds will feel different so it really depends on what works best for you.
Here’s how to improve muscular endurance using velocity. If you’re intentionally moving slowly, it’s harder to lift the weights and hold them. Therefore, you don’t need to complete as many reps per set. However, if you’re more comfortable moving more quickly, it’s more effective to amp up the number of reps per set. For instance, try 10 to 15 reps per set for intentionally slow sets and 15 to 25 reps for faster sets.
3. How Often You Should Be Hitting the Gym
As we mentioned earlier, the NHS recommends that we spend at least two days per week working on strengthening our muscles. But, of course, this will differ on your fitness level and the results that you wish to achieve. So, let’s talk a little about how to improve muscular endurance by upping your workout frequency.
If you want to improve your overall fitness and muscular endurance, hitting the gym twice a week should be sufficient, provided you make the most of your time there. This means coming up with a workout routine that trains each different muscle group. For instance, you’ll need to divide that time between the seven muscle groups:
- Legs & calves (quadriceps, hamstrings, and gastrocnemius)
- Stomach (abdominal)
- Shoulders (deltoid)
- Chest (pectoralis major/minor)
- Back (latissimus dorsi/ trapezius)
- Front of the arm (biceps)
- Back of the arm (triceps)
However, if you’re looking to up your game, you could split your routines into upper and lower body workouts and hit the gym four times a week. This means you spend an equal amount of time on each muscle group – no skipping leg day!
Alternatively, you can split your workouts into muscle groups and train four to six days per week, if you really want to give it socks. It really depends on your fitness level and your personal goals. However, we recommend taking at least one rest day per week when you completely rest or engage in low impact activities like walking or yoga.
4. Switching Things Up
Switching up your workout routine is one of the best tips on how to improve your muscular endurance. It doesn’t necessarily mean you should change your routine every single time you hit the gym, it just means you should alternate between a couple of different routines.
Studies have shown that it is far more effective to train one muscle group multiple times a week instead of just once. In addition, experts believe that muscles need about 2 days to recover properly. So, how do you work out multiple times per week whilst still making sure you’re getting enough rest? By grouping muscle groups into upper and lower body routines!
As the name suggests, it simply means focusing on multiple muscles groups at the same time, splitting them into two sections – the upper body and lower body. This way you can concentrate on exercises that build strength in the muscle groups in your upper body one day. The following day, you can concentrate on the muscle groups that fall into the ‘lower body’ category the following day.
This way you can work on multiple muscle groups at a time, and your body gets adequate rest time in between.
5. Making Sure You’re Getting Enough Rest
When talking about how to improve muscular endurance, rest periods are super important. There are two different types of rest periods – rests between sets, and rest days.
When you’re in the zone and you’ve just smashed out 20 reps, you might not feel like you need a break. On the flip-side, you might be counting down the reps, becoming evermore grateful that you’re coming up to a rest! Either way, rests are important. Without rest, you’ll quickly fade and it defeats the purpose of the exercise. You want to make sure you’re completing each set without breaking form. You certainly can’t do that if you’ve keeled over onto the floor!
If you’re working on sets with lots of reps (15 to 20), you should rest for 2 or 3 minutes between sets. If you’re doing between 10 and 15, you should rest for a minute.
As we mentioned, experts believe it takes muscles about 2 days to recover properly. That’s another reason why alternating workout routines are recommended. It means that you can make sure each muscle group gets adequate recovery time and still get multiple training sessions in each week. Here’s an example:
Monday: Lower body routine
Tuesday: Upper body routine
Wednesday: Rest day
Thursday: Lower body routine
Friday: Lower Body routine
Saturday: Rest day
Sunday: Rest day
6. Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard
This might sound like a strange or obvious one but it’s definitely one of our most effective tips on how to improve muscular endurance. Let us explain.
When we push ourselves too hard we can hurt ourselves. This isn’t just painful and uncomfortable, but it also messes up the workout routine we’ve spent so hard perfecting. That’s because injured muscles need longer recovery times. Not only are you missing out on making progress in the gym by taking time off, but you’re also risking long-term damage to your muscles too.
There are a couple of ways you can avoid injury and the first one is to make sure you’re warmed up properly before getting stuck in. We recommend stretching properly for at least 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can hop on the treadmill or spin bike for some light cardio before lifting weights. You really will feel the difference.
Next up, we suggest nailing your posture and form. This means using the correct techniques and posture when lifting weights. To make sure you’re doing things correctly, we suggest getting advice from a gym instructor before you start. They can give you detailed tips for each exercise in your routine. If you’re worried about slipping into bad habits when it comes to form, you can work out in front of a mirror so you can spot it if you’re going wrong.
Nailing breathing techniques can also help. Try to make sure you’re exhaling when you’re doing anything that requires effort i.e. lifting or pushing. Then, when you should inhale during the easier parts of your routine.
7. Using CBD for Endurance
Our last, but by no means least, tip on how to improve muscular endurance is to incorporate CBD into your workout regimen. Okay, so you can’t technically use CBD oil for muscle building, but you can use CBD for muscle recovery!
If you’ve been hitting the gym, you will have noticed your muscles feeling tight or sore the following day. That’s because when we exercise, we put our muscles under pressure and that causes the microscopic fibres to tear. No wonder walking up the stairs is like climbing Mt Everest the day after leg day! To repair those fibres, the body produces more protein fibres, except this time they’re often bigger and bulkier. This is to protect them from tearing again – it also means that our muscles appear bigger.
When these fibres tear, it triggers an immune response which means the surrounding area becomes inflamed, stiff, and sore. This is where using CBD oil for muscle recovery comes in. Studies have shown that CBD oil has anti-inflammatory properties and therefore, may help to calm and soothe irritated muscles. By applying a CBD-infused balm or a CBD oil to the affected area, the cannabinoid interacts with receptors in the local area, helping to reduce swelling and discomfort.
Whilst CBD can’t really help us build muscle, it can help to lower recovery times. This means we can get back into the gym faster, letting us spend more time and effort improving muscular endurance and fitness. It also means that you can minimise annoying aches and pains the day after too. What’s not to love?
Summing Things Up
When it comes to our top tips on how to improve muscular endurance, it really comes down to nailing your workout routine. We suggest taking the time to sit down and working out how many times you want to work out each week, and how to make the most out of those trips to the gym.
To do this, we suggest splitting up muscle groups into upper and lower body routines. This way you can work on multiple muscles in one routine, and it’s easier to make sure you get enough rest in between workouts. Ideally, you should make a plan for each trip to the gym which includes the number of reps and sets per exercise, and how many exercises per muscle group. Then, you can work on nailing the velocity of each rep, your rest periods and your form. As you become stronger, you can work your way up with heavier weights too.
Rest times between reps and rest days are equally important in your weekly workout routine. Each muscle needs time to rest so opt for low impact stretches or exercises on rest days if you want to keep moving. In addition, adding CBD-infused balms and oils can help to ease stiffness and discomfort in sore muscles. This can help make sure you’re fighting fit and ready to smash your goals when you’re back in the gym again!
You can read more about using CBD in your fitness routine by checking out our CBD & Fitness page right here.