A lot of athletes look for endurance when it comes to measuring their progress in whichever fitness activity they’re passionate about. However, the average bodybuilder or weightlifter probably considers endurance to be the least important facet of their training.
Bodybuilders generally believe they won’t really revolutionize their training by increasing their endurance. That’s because they typically do slow 8-12 sets that allow them to focus on building muscle, rather than lasting longer in any given sport.
However, if you’re a bodybuilder or weightlifter, increasing your endurance allows you to train with higher volum and get more sets in any given workout. This ultimately helps you make more gains and lose more fat. Training your endurance even offers healthy anti-aging effects.
1. Time Your Rest Periods
Are you one of these guys who go to the weight room, lift your weights, finish your sets, and then go talk to your friends or sit on your phones for 10 minutes?
This is the worst thing you can do for your endurance. If you’re trying to increase your endurance, you’re going to need to time your rest periods. We recommend starting by limiting your rest period lengths to 30-180 seconds in general, 60-90 seconds if you’re doing compound movements, and 30-60 seconds if you’re doing isolation movements.
2. Do High Repetition Training
There are two ways to do high rep training. Instead of doing 8-12 rep sets, you can do 12-15 reps at minimum in order to increase your endurance. You can also do monster reps if you’re really hoping to boost your endurance.
Monster reps are anything between 20-50 reps in a set. Just think about it, have you ever tried doing squat sets with 20-50 reps, or just doing sets of 20 on squats? We guarantee you that you’ll be sucking in air, huffing and puffing after you get out of that squat rack.
You can actually combine this tip with the first one. In other words, use high rep ranges with supersets and giant sets, combined with short rest periods, and you’ll feel like a beast. However, we recommend doing this in a progressive fashion. Start off by lowering your rest periods, then progress to supersets, then progress to giant sets, which means three or more exercises performed at once.
You’re guaranteed to boost your endurance through the roof if you combine step #1 with #2. However, are you interested in going beyond that? Well, there’s something you might’ve been doing wrong all this time that’s been sabotaging your endurance.
3. Do Exercises That Work Most of Your Body
You’re not going to gain a lot of endurance just by doing leg extensions and calf raises, which are isolation movements that target a single muscle. Instead, you need to be doing movements that train most of your body–things like squats, lunges, deadlifts, and standing military presses–and then progressively making these exercises harder.
Need an example? Say you’re working your forearms and you’re in that starting pose where you hold your weights. Instead of just standing there, you can start walking with the weights in your hands, that’s called a farmer’s walk.
Instead of doing a seated military press, which is the easier version, you can do a standing military press, which relies on you capitalizing on that stability factor in order to train your whole body. The difference between these two exercises will have you sweating, sucking air, and improving your endurance all the more.
In summary, you need to shorten your rest periods, do higher reps, and make sure you’re doing whole body exercises if you’re truly trying to increase your endurance with resistance training.