When weight training, first and foremost be sure to have a goal in mind. What are you trying to achieve through lifting weights? Body weight? Muscle mass? Toning? Endurance? All of these require different workout techniques and training, and by having a set goal you can tailor your workout toward what your goal is.
In this article, I’ll be focusing on weight training for endurance, and what you need to do in order to get a well-rounded workout for utilizing your strength over time. Endurance training can help benefit athletes in sports that require quick movements, like baseball, football, hockey, soccer, and others.
Endurance training is good for both athletes and bodybuilders alike, and will help your overall fitness. You’ll probably be surprised as to how endurance training can even help you in simple chores like mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, carrying groceries, or other things you may deem as menial tasks.
Strength endurance, simply put, is training in order to give you the ability to be strong for an extended period of time. Endurance is focused around one movement: forward. This should be a focal point for your workout, not a focus point, as suggested by Mens Fitness; make sure to also move laterally and rotationally in order to balance out your body and to prevent overuse of certain muscles.
Training for endurance helps exercise two functions in your body: how well your body utilizes the oxygen it retains, and how quickly your body can remove lactic acid; these are known as the VO2 max and the lactate threshold, respectively .
We’ll focus around three critical parts that Bodybuilding.com suggests to include in your workout routine if you are weight training for endurance:
Lift heavy weights
This is an easy one to understand: you need to lift heavy weights in order to get stronger. There are two different routes you can take: compound lifts (also known as multi-joint lifts) or individual lifts; it is suggested that you take the route of compound lifts for time’s sake, as individualized and specific body part lifts take longer. Lifts to keep in mind for endurance training include deadlifts, squats, bench presses, kettlebell clean and jerks, kettlebell swings or snatches, and upper body lifts.
By weight training, you will help stabilize your core and retain better posture. As Shah Training mentions, weight training will help your overall performance and stability, while training in your specific sport of choice will help you gain endurance and speed. If you’re an endurance athlete, then you’re likely to also be cycling, running, swimming, etc. and it is important to remember that weights cannot substitute for a bike ride or laps in the pool. Weight training, however, can definitely help strengthen these muscles.
Shorter rest periods
Like all sports and activities requiring endurance, there are short rest periods (or sometimes no rest at all). When training for endurance, Fit Day suggest lifting a heavier weight for 2 to 4 repetitions, but only resting for 30 seconds, as opposed to lifting a lighter weight for 8 to 12 repetitions and resting for 60 seconds or more. As your body adapts, you will want to either increase the amount of weight lifted OR decrease the rest time, never both at the same time. Applying these short rest periods to your workout will get your body exerting strength even when it is tired, and will also encourage quicker recovery time in your body after periods of excessive strain.
Volume/Amount of work
Endurance training boils down to a lot of work with a short amount of rest time; this will help build up your endurance and ensure that you will be working for longer periods of time. Fit Day suggests focusing the volume of your workout around performing the highest number of repetitions of an exercise using a weight that represents approximately 40 percent to 64 percent of your maximum weight threshold.
Timing is everything
Timing, though, is key for your endurance workout. Be sure to space out your workouts and muscle groups accordingly; if targeting the same muscle group, give these a minimum of 48 hours to rest. You can even pair weight training with your regular endurance workouts, like cycling or swimming. Ben Green Field Fitness notes that research has shown that more calories are burned during strength-endurance training when preceded by cardio.
After all is said and done, there are a few tips to keep in mind. Suggested exercises and programs won’t be the best for everybody, especially if you are a newbie just getting your workout on. It is also entirely helpful if you keep track of your progress over time, setting goals and adjusting your workouts for what you are aiming for and/or training for. Start around a medium pace, and work your way up in repetitions and weight as you feel comfortable. Don’t rush your training, even if you feel you are not seeing results as quickly as you would like; rushing leads to mistakes and poor form, and therefore injury.