How to increase your athletic endurance

The Best Ways to Build Muscle Endurance & Why You Should

How to increase your athletic endurance

Weight training offers so many health and fitness benefits. That’s why it’s not surprising that almost every health and fitness coach recommends it. We weight train primarily to build muscle strength and to hypertrophy muscles or make them larger. Doing so helps preserve the loss of muscle tissue that’s an inevitable part of aging. Preserving muscle helps us stay functional at all stages of life. In addition, having more muscle tissue and less fat is more favorable for metabolic health as resistance training improves insulin sensitivity. But, there’s another benefit that weight training offers – it helps build muscle endurance.

How Muscle Strength and Endurance Differ

Strength training using heavy resistance increases the ability of a muscle to generate force over a short time period. For example, when you first started weight training, you may have only been able to generate enough force to curl with a 10-pound weight in each hand. But, as you kept training, curling that weight became easier and you were able to work with a 12 pound and then a 15-pound weight in each hand instead as your biceps became stronger. Strength is the ability of a muscle to generate maximum force in a single contraction. The muscle likely also increased in size to make the muscle capable of handling heavier loads.

But, there’s another characteristic of healthy muscles and that’s muscle endurance. Muscle endurance is the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to contract against a sub-maximal resistance for a longer period of time. In contrast to muscle strength where the force generated is maximal, but short in duration, muscle endurance is a muscle’s ability to lift a lighter weight many times without fatiguing.

Why is Muscle Endurance Important?

You need muscle endurance to carry out the tasks you do every day. Yes, you need to be strong to lift boxes out of your car or move furniture, but you need muscle endurance for certain tasks as well, especially if you play a variety of sports. For example, muscle endurance comes in handy if you play tennis where you’re moving your arm repetitively and if you jog or run. Certain occupations also require muscle endurance. If you’re a massage therapist, a hair stylist, or a dog groomer who shampoos dogs for a living, you will appreciate having muscle endurance. With these occupations, your muscles are in motion for a large portion of the day. Although you don’t need exceptional strength to do these tasks, your muscles have to have “staying power,” the ability to keep contracting.

Strength training calls into play fast-twitch, or type 1 muscle fibers, fibers designed to generate maximal force. Unfortunately, these muscles also fatigue quickly. In contrast, activities that require muscle endurance mainly target slow-twitch, or type 2 muscle fibers, those optimized for sustained activity. The slow-twitch fibers don’t have as much capacity to generate force, but they don’t poop-out as fast as the fast-twitch fibers do. That’s why they’re optimal for tasks that require repeated muscle contractions.

Developing Muscle Endurance

The way you train your muscles to build strength is to lift heavy weights. Because the weights are heavy, you’ll only be able to complete a limited number of reps as the fast-twitch fibers fatigue quickly. Building strength is all about the force you can generate short-term. You measure it with the one-rep max test, a test that measures the heaviest weight you can lift only one time. Some fitness trainers use a 5-rep or 10-rep max test and use a table to extrapolate one-rep max from these test. The one-rep max test is harder on the muscles and connective tissue and carries a higher risk of injury.

How do you measure muscle endurance? The American College of Sports Medicine recommends the partial curl-up test for measuring endurance. You can find instructions on how to do this online, along with a chart with age and gender-specific norms. The goal is to see how many curl-ups or crunches you can complete in a set cadence without time restraints. You can also use a timed test where you do as many crunches as you can in one minute.

Another useful test for measuring muscle endurance in the upper body is the push-up test. However, there is a component of strength to doing push-ups as well. For the push-up test, you complete as many as you can before breaking form or you do as many as you can in one minute. Again, there are charts showing values by age and gender.

Improving Muscle Endurance

Training for endurance is a bit different than training for strength. For building endurance, you use a weight between 50 and 60% of your one-rep max and do a higher number of reps. Using this weight, you should be able to complete between 15 and 20 reps before your muscles are thoroughly fatigued. You’re training your muscles to go a little longer than they’re accustomed to. You also build muscle endurance by doing other exercises that involve repetitive muscle contractions such as running, riding a bike, or swimming. These activities primarily build endurance in your lower body.

Some bodyweight exercises can also help you build muscle endurance. Push-ups, bodyweight squats, planks, and calf raises are good examples. The key is to do them to the point of complete fatigue. Over time, you’ll be able to complete more reps using the same resistance and you’ll have greater muscle endurance.

The Bottom Line

Building strength is important but having more muscle endurance will serve you well too, especially if you run, cycle, or play sports that require your muscles to work at a sub-maximal load for long periods of time. One way to work strength, power, and endurance is to periodize your workouts so that you’re working each component during different cycles. Doing this adds variety to your training and reduces the risk of injury. So, don’t be so focused on building strength that you neglect muscle endurance. It’s what gives your muscles staying power!

References:

American College of Sports Medicine. “Getting a Professional Fitness Assessment”

Asian J Sports Med. 2012 Dec; 3(4): 267–273.

How to increase your athletic endurance

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  • What Is Stamina in Sport?

Endurance, in basic terms, is your ability to perform heart-rate raising activity for more than three consecutive minutes. To increase your endurance quickly, you must incorporate healthful behaviors that enhance all of the body systems that play a role in converting the food you eat to energy your cells can use. Furthermore, you must include behaviors that make it easy for your body to regulate the intake of oxygen to your lungs, the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, the transport of oxygen to your working muscles and the removal of cellular waste from your muscles.

Step 1

Consume a meal with complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats before your endurance workout, giving your body sufficient time to digest your food; this meal ensures you will have enough energy to exercise for a longer duration, thus providing the stimulation your muscle cells need to increase your endurance.

Step 2

Wear a beverage belt or keep a beverage bottle nearby to take small sips of a carbohydrate-rich sports beverage; exercise beverages consumed throughout your endurance workout provide your body with an immediate supply of simple sugars, or glucose, so you can exercise longer, increasing your endurance quickly.

Step 3

Incorporate a 10- to 15-minute light warm-up mimicking your endurance activity prior to beginning your training, thereby increasing the blood flow and tissue temperature of your working muscles; your body becomes more efficient at converting cellular energy into mechanical energy and removing cellular waste so you can perform for a longer duration in a short period of time.

Step 4

Add five to 10 minutes to each training session, increasing your endurance in a short amount of time; your body adapts by creating more capillaries and producing more enzymes to convert food energy into mechanical energy, enhancing your ability to exercise for a longer duration.

Step 5

Include one short but intense aerobic workout once a week to enhance your endurance, such as increasing your pace every four minutes for one minute for a total of 30 minutes; this aerobic interval workout forces you to train at a harder pace, enhancing the cardiovascular adaptations so you can increase your overall endurance in a short time.

How to increase your athletic endurance

Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

Have you ever found yourself winded from climbing the stairs? You’re not alone. Whether you’re an avid runner or a person who enjoys a long walk once or twice a week, endurance plays a big part in both our daily lives and our fitness routines. To help increase our stamina, we reached out to Ben Wegman, a trainer at The Fhitting Room.

Just as the act of working out is important, so too is increasing our stamina. According to Wegman, endurance is a significant part of any physical activity, as it “increases the amount of oxygen in the body, therefore increasing or boosting your ability to perform an exercise for a longer period.” Be it carrying groceries into the house or running a marathon, endurance activities benefit “every aspect of your life,” says Wegman.

Read on for Wegman’s seven tips on how to build endurance.

Meet the Expert

Ben Wegman is a trainer at The Fhitting Room, offering small, challenging workouts live or on-demand. Ben is Fhitting Room’s Chief Curriculum Officer with several certifications, including Kettlebell Concepts, PROnatal Fitness Pre and Post Natal, TRX, and Kettlebell Athletics.

Add Intervals

“Too often, endurance is sacrificed for simple, heavy strength training or steady-state cardio,” says Wegman. To be a well-rounded athlete, he suggests adding endurance work to your everyday fitness routine, as studies show that sessions of sprint interval training increase “muscle oxidative potential” and “endurance capacity.”   To add intervals to your workouts, Wegman suggests breaking up your cardio routine with a few short stints of sprints.

Catch Some Zs

How to increase your athletic endurance

A good night’s rest is essential to building endurance. “Being well rested allows your body to work longer and harder simultaneously,” says Wegman. So just what qualifies a good night’s sleep? According to a 2019 review in the International Journal of Sports Medicine, seven to nine hours is ideal, and even more, may be necessary if you’re an athlete. Less sleep than that can negatively affect your appetite, metabolism, and performance. If you struggle to get enough sleep, try increasing your current sleep cycle by an hour, and see if it improves your fitness endurance.

Eat A Balanced Diet

According to a study in Nutrition Journal, appropriate nutrition improves athletic performance, conditioning, and the avoidance of injury.   According to Wegman, a balanced diet, specifically one with healthy carbohydrates like whole-grain rice and bananas, is essential to increasing fitness endurance instead of their more heavily processed counterparts. For a breakdown on eating healthily, check out these nine commandments for a balanced diet, as told to Byrdie by nutritionists Kelly LeVeque and Elissa Goodman. Don’t forget to keep hydrated when you’re working on endurance, too, and add electrolytes if you’re exercising over an hour or in humid conditions.

Before any exercise, make sure you warm up your body by performing dynamic movements and active stretches.

How to increase your athletic endurance

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We all want to be the kind of guy who’s able to join any group of friends in all kinds of sports and activities. Soccer? Sure, why not. Intense intramural football? Of course. A half marathon next month? Uh, I’ll get back to you on that…

Let’s face it, not all of us were three-sport athletes in high school. A lot of guys settled on the sport they excelled at most, and focused on improving and honing their skills, more or less abandoning other sports. This hyper-sensitive specialization happens to a number of guys in workout regimens, too.

If your’re a muscle-bound guy with no cardiovascular endurance, you might want to avoid the torture of struggling around the track; likewise, if you’re a distance runner, you might fear the embarrassment of benching the bar plus a few mini weights in the gym. Part of this has to do with maintaining a sense of pride; the other’s a complacency to settle into a comfort zone. To better your athletecism, though, you need to break out of the norm. Here’s how:

Add more variety to your training

You’re sacrificing some huge potential gains by avoiding the exercises you hate doing.

“I certainly love variety,” says Todd Durkin, a trainer who’s successfully worked with several top athletes, such as NFL star Drew Brees. He’s also the owner of Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego and the author of the IMPACT! Body Plan. “I think variety allows for maximum diversity and maximum results. I don’t always think in terms of exercise, I think in terms of movement,” he adds.

To put it in practice, complete variations on your usual go-to exercises, such as squats (split or one-legged, with a barbell, with kettlebells, etc.) or pushups (plyometric, incline, leg-kick, etc.). These are all similar at their core, but effectively work different areas of the body. Switching up the exercises you already do can go a long way in diversifying your workouts and skillset.

For a guy with a relatively undefined workout program, or for someone who gets bored and loves trying different things, a versatile training schedule that includes strength training, steady-state cardio, and interval training should be pretty easy to set up. This will also help in any impromptu games of pickup basketball, rec league soccer, even softball. If you’re a more specialized athlete (marathoner or powerlifter), Durkin and Greg Robins, an accomplished Boston-based strength and conditioning coach, have some tips for you, too.

For the strongman who wants to run

Robins says guys who’ve spent a long time keeping cardio out of their training need to take baby steps at the start. “The first thing you need to do is increase your mobility,” Robins says. “Maybe spending a little more time upfront in your workout increasing motion… start with quick runs and sprints, stuff like that.”

“I think mentally, it sometimes plays tricks on guys if you start to lose size or strength, but if your goal is to improve your conditioning, then you need to make sure you get [that done],” says Durkin.

He recommends for a guy like this to simply cut back on strength training and fill that void with cardio. For example, if he’s used to doing one-hour sessions, he should think about cutting the strength training back to 40 or 45 minutes, then finishing with 20 minutes of cardio—two days of steady-state cardio (often constant speed jogging or cycling) and another day or two of intervals. He says you should be able to get the same results whether you knock them both out (steady state and interval) on the same day or spread them out over the course of the week.

For the marathon man who wants to lift

Likewise, for distance runners, guys that only focus on cardio, he recommends two to three days of strength training each week for at least 30 minutes. He also says incorporating plyometrics into one of those sessions will help to increase explosiveness and power. Also, according to Robins, resistance training is hugely beneficial for someone who wants to improve strength while maintaining strong cardio levels.

While CrossFit is great for bettering overall fitness, Durkin and Robins say don’t say everyone should jump in a class. You need to be careful you don’t go overboard at the start.

“If someone wants to be versatile, the idea makes sense, but going to a place and just taking a workout that’s not necessarily built for how someone moves can be unsafe,” Robins says.

The best exercises for versatility:

Incorporate these protocols into your regimen.

> Squats
> Dead Lifts (Romanian)
> Pushups
> Pullups
> Core Rotations
> Plyometrics and Sprinting

All these tips and exercises may not make you a phenom in the next sport you participate in with your buddies, but they’ll definitely help to provide a base of strength and endurance for whatever comes up. Any athlete needs superior stamina and power to succeed, so strive for the skill sets that’ll make you the most well-rounded and versatile.

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Practically all sports require athletes to have a certain amount of stamina and endurance. Sports like football, basketball, baseball, and soccer will demand that you run up and down a field or court. An athlete who gets winded in the first 10 minutes of the game will likely not have the ability to make it through the entire game.

Fortunately, strength, stamina, and endurance are all things that you can build. Over time, you will notice that you can play for longer and not feel fatigued early on.

If you have a 5- or 6-year-old child who is participating in competitive sports and you notice that they are getting tired easily, they may need to help them build their stamina and endurance. However, before anything, get them checked up for a sports physical by their pediatrician to ensure there aren’t other reasons why they get tired easily. Some kids may suffer from nutritional deficiencies, or there may be other factors at play.

Once your child’s doctor gives you the go signal, you can help them build endurance. Here are some ways that you can encourage your kid to increase their stamina and endurance without making it feel like extra practice or drills:

Aerobic Activity

Because most sports involve a lot of running, a good place to start would be to get your kids into running. The best part is that you can join them. Go for runs around your neighborhood, and you may even want to bring the family dog along. Start slow. Build endurance by starting with a 15-minute run and work your way up to a 30-minute run. Make it fun by changing up the scenery with different trails. And you may want to finish the run with a race to the house.

Play Longer and Harder

There are dancing video games that only look like fun but in reality, can give you quite the workout. In fact, many adults are using these dancing games to lose weight and get fit. For you and your child, it’s a playful way to get active and build endurance. And because you’re following dance moves, it will also develop their coordination and agility.

Take them to parkour facilities or trampoline parks. These places are absolute fun but surprisingly, require you to have a lot of stamina and endurance. The more you play with your kids, the more you’re actually helping them improve their capacity to last in competition longer.

Circuit Training

Circuit training should be reserved for older kids or teens who are keen on improving their athletic skills. Circuit training can be too “hardcore” for young children. This type of training will take your child from one exercise to the next with brief breaks in between each activity. Here are some exercises you can incorporate in their circuit training:

  • Sit-ups
  • Shuttle runs
  • Squats
  • Let lifts
  • Jumping over hurdles
  • Lunges
  • Jumping jacks

All these exercises will push your child to move harder in order to last longer. Start them slow and encourage them to level up when they’re ready. Older kids who are determined to improve their athleticism will have no problem with the dedication it takes to make it through circuit training.

When it comes to stamina and endurance, it’s always best to assess your child’s level of interest in the sport. Some might find the stamina and endurance training too intensive, and it might make them resent the sport. As the parent, it’s up to you to think of creative ways and activities that can help build up their ability to last longer and overcome fatigue.

How to increase your athletic endurance

Stamina Vs. Endurance

Let us first understand the difference between the two. Although the both words mean “staying power”, there is a slight difference between the two.

Stamina is about how long you can perform a certain task continuously before needing a break. For instance: sprinting. The longer the time you can sprint, higher is your stamina.

Endurance has more to do with extended periods of time. How many 100 m sprints can an athlete perform or how long can a marathon runner run.

Stamina is a short-term measurement. It measures the size of your energy surges. Endurance is a long-term measurement. It measures how much energy you have.

What Happens To Endurance And Stamina As We Age?

Each individual experiences the process of aging differently. However, based on things like genetics and lifestyle, in general endurance and stamina decrease as you age. Many attribute the lack of energy, endurance, and stamina to poor diet and exercise habits.

Based on averages, a human body begins to lose 3 to 5 percent of lean muscle tissue and gains that much body fat every decade after age 30. After age 45, adults tend to lose about one-quarter of a pound of muscle (replaced by fat) every year. By 60, you’d have naturally lost 4 pounds of muscle and gained about 4 pounds of fat from average natural body processes from the age 45 to 60. All along as you age your heart also weakens and your cardiovascular health gets deteriorated too.

Wants to maintain or gain your stamina and endurance? Read on here to find the best tips about maintaining your stamina & endurance while you are growing old plus ways to increase stamina and endurance to live an active happy life in old age.

Relationships Between Muscle Loss & Stamina; Cardiovascular Health & Endurance

While the muscle loss is directly related to loss of muscular strength and your stamina, your cardiovascular health is directly related to endurance. Endurance testing is often used by cardiologists.

The loss of endurance and stamina over 60 make physical movements more difficult, you tire more rapidly and your metabolism slows, making it easier to add weight.

Can You Gain Stamina And Endurance In Old Age?

Endurance and stamina is not exclusive to the young. One can develop endurance and stamina at practically any age. It may just require more efforts as you get older.

Best Ways To Maintain Endurance And Stamina As You Age

Maintaining or increasing endurance and stamina in elderly may be somewhat difficult, but is very much possible. Fortunately, even a small amount of exercise can increase your stamina and help you perform daily tasks such as walking up stairs, going food shopping and performing household chores.

According to the New York Times, one prime factor for building physical endurance and stamina over 60 is regularity. It was shown that with regular exercise, healthy people over 60 can regain some muscle mass.

A study performed by the Sinai School of Medicine suggests that exercise for older adults results in improved stamina and endurance, as well as reduced depressive symptoms, enhanced mobility and a decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Exercise Tips To Maintain And Increase Your Endurance As You Grow Old

If You Are New To Exercise: Begin slowly. Consider increasing the amount of time spent moving your body around the house. For instance, walk up the stairs more often, perform more demanding household chores or lift heavier objects in your house.

Do cardiovascular activities regularly. Identify an activity that elevates your heart rate and which you can perform at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. That’s 150 minutes of cardiovascular activity per week, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some instances of cardio activities include brisk walking, light jogging, riding a stationary bicycle and working on the elliptical machine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in their report “Growing Stronger” recommends strength training as one of the best ways to keep the muscles strong and healthy. Strong, healthy muscles will help you to exercise longer, which in turn will boost your endurance and stamina.

Incorporate at least 2 days of strength training to your weekly exercise regime.

For instance, you can do bicep curls by using some weight such as a bag of groceries in your hands, one by one – alternatively, to strengthen your biceps. Tuck your elbows in to your sides. Bend each hand elbow (one hand at a time) and curl your hand to meet the shoulder of the same side. Lower your hand back to the side and repeat the exercise until your arm muscles are fatigued. You can do this exercise by using your both hands together or one hand at a time, alternatively.

Stretch your muscles regularly to fight muscle tightening. If you don’t do, your muscle fibers shrink and become shorter, resulting into lose of flexibility and reduction in your range of motion. Make sure to stretch all your major muscle groups at least for five minutes before and after each exercise session. Here are some stretching exercises for seniors.

Bonus Tips For Building Endurance And Stamina After You Are 60

(i) Can’t go to gym? There are many exercises for gaining endurance and stamina that you can do at home. Some of them can be done even while sitting on a chair. The best thing about chair exercises is that you can exercise while watching TV!

(ii) For elderly, there are many options to build strength and “longer workout-time” with as little impact as possible. No gym or special equipment needed for building endurance and stamina. Soup can or a bottle of water can be used as weights. Standing or sitting, you can build endurance anywhere, at home or in a park.

(iii) And for the seniors who suffer from mobile disabilities, walking for increasing or maintaining endurance and stamina is a boon. Walking for as less as 20 to 30 minutes per day offers many health benefits at any age.

Make exercises a part of your everyday routine and live happily after.

Developing endurance and stamina after 50 or even 60 plus may seem impossible to many people, but believe me it’s very much possible. It doesn’t call for much effort. All you have to do is make the choice to activate your body almost every day.

How to increase your athletic endurance

Do you feel that your lungs or lactic acid build-up are holding you back? Well both of those issues can be decreased through lung training. In this article we compare various methods of improving your lung capacity, endurance and strength.

Endurance Training versus Resistance (Weight) Training

47 males training for 12 weeks showed the following improvements in the table and chart below.[1] The results were very clear, the endurance training group improved their lung power (VO2MAX) far more than the resistance training group (11.2% vs 3.3%), and the resistance training group increased their strength far more than the endurance training group (21.6% vs 4.6%). That result is as would be expected. It shows that resistance training is somewhat effective at improving lung capacity, but is not optimal.

Also notable, the resistance training group had the greatest improvement in body composition (reduction in body fat percentage), a fall of 2.5% compared to 1.5% in the endurance training group. The resistance training group increased muscle and decreased fat, while the endurance training group only decreased fat.
How to increase your athletic endurance
How to increase your athletic endurance

Voluntary Isocapnic Hyperpnea Training versus Resistive Respiratory Muscle Training

Let’s refer to these two as VIHT and RRMT. They’re complicated to explain, but I’ll try to do so simply with pictures:

  • VIHT involves re-inhaling some of your exhaled CO2 to reduce the amount of oxygen inhaled. These machines are rare however, mainly existing in laboratories.
    How to increase your athletic endurance
    How to increase your athletic endurance
  • RRMT adds resistance to your inhaling and exhaling. This equipment is far more available to the average person, it’s even available to purchase on Amazon (Power Lung) for a little over $100.
    How to increase your athletic endurance

So let’s get to the results.[2] This study was done on 8 experienced runners for 3 days per week, 30 minutes per day. It included 4 weeks of RRMT then 4 weeks of VIHT after that. So don’t be confused by the chart below, the RRMT group had 4 weeks or training while the VIHT group had 4+4 weeks of training.

RRMT alone increased endurance run time by 18% while RRMT+VIHT increased endurance run time by 46%, so the additional 4 weeks of VIHT added an additional 28% to the endurance run time. VIHT looks to be somewhat superior, but RRMT was also effective. Considering their comparative availability, I’d recommend VIHT only to serious athletes with a big budget, and RRMT to other athletes.

How to increase your athletic endurance

Another study found that 4 weeks of training for 30 minutes per day, 5 times per week increased swimming endurance time by 33% from RRMT, and 38% from VIHT.[3] Considering the results are similar, RRMT is very useful for swimmers.

An alternative RRMT product to the Power Lung mentioned above is the Power Breathe for a little under $100. If you want to measure your progress over time, Peak Flow Meters are very affordable.

Singing

Personally I’d rather the respiratory resistance training devices mentioned above, but singing is also effective for increasing lung capacity. As you can see in the table below, both girls and boys who sing have 24% higher lung capacity than those who don’t. So if you sing loud and often, it will in turn improve your lung capacity and in turn your sports endurance (swimming, running, rowing, etc).
How to increase your athletic endurance

Swimming

You probably guessed this already, but swimming leads to improved lung capacity.[4] One thing of note though is that swimming is superior to running for lung capacity, so swimming could be beneficial for runners in that regard.

Swimming for Asthma

Swimming reduces the symptoms of asthma and is less asthma inducing than other sports.[5] So not only is swimming good for lung capacity for sport, but it’s good for asthma sufferers too.

Lung Capacity Test

If you’re looking to test your lungs then a Peak Flow Meter will test your lung strength or simply blowing up a balloon with a single breath then measuring the size/diameter can test your lung capacity (make sure to use the same batch of balloons for future comparison tests).

How to increase your athletic endurance How to increase your athletic endurance

Conclusion

Simply practicing endurance exercise at a good intensity does help your lung capacity, but there are also devices available that can help you to improve even further. As with most of our articles, the goal is to help you beat the competition or improve yourself, and lung training is just one more way you can do so.

Practically all sports require athletes to have a certain amount of stamina and endurance. Sports like football, basketball, baseball, and soccer will demand that you run up and down a field or court. An athlete who gets winded in the first 10 minutes of the game will likely not have the ability to make it through the entire game.

Fortunately, strength, stamina, and endurance are all things that you can build. Over time, you will notice that you can play for longer and not feel fatigued early on.

If you have a 5- or 6-year-old child who is participating in competitive sports and you notice that they are getting tired easily, they may need to help them build their stamina and endurance. However, before anything, get them checked up for a sports physical by their pediatrician to ensure there aren’t other reasons why they get tired easily. Some kids may suffer from nutritional deficiencies, or there may be other factors at play.

Once your child’s doctor gives you the go signal, you can help them build endurance. Here are some ways that you can encourage your kid to increase their stamina and endurance without making it feel like extra practice or drills:

Aerobic Activity

Because most sports involve a lot of running, a good place to start would be to get your kids into running. The best part is that you can join them. Go for runs around your neighborhood, and you may even want to bring the family dog along. Start slow. Build endurance by starting with a 15-minute run and work your way up to a 30-minute run. Make it fun by changing up the scenery with different trails. And you may want to finish the run with a race to the house.

Play Longer and Harder

There are dancing video games that only look like fun but in reality, can give you quite the workout. In fact, many adults are using these dancing games to lose weight and get fit. For you and your child, it’s a playful way to get active and build endurance. And because you’re following dance moves, it will also develop their coordination and agility.

Take them to parkour facilities or trampoline parks. These places are absolute fun but surprisingly, require you to have a lot of stamina and endurance. The more you play with your kids, the more you’re actually helping them improve their capacity to last in competition longer.

Circuit Training

Circuit training should be reserved for older kids or teens who are keen on improving their athletic skills. Circuit training can be too “hardcore” for young children. This type of training will take your child from one exercise to the next with brief breaks in between each activity. Here are some exercises you can incorporate in their circuit training:

  • Sit-ups
  • Shuttle runs
  • Squats
  • Let lifts
  • Jumping over hurdles
  • Lunges
  • Jumping jacks

All these exercises will push your child to move harder in order to last longer. Start them slow and encourage them to level up when they’re ready. Older kids who are determined to improve their athleticism will have no problem with the dedication it takes to make it through circuit training.

When it comes to stamina and endurance, it’s always best to assess your child’s level of interest in the sport. Some might find the stamina and endurance training too intensive, and it might make them resent the sport. As the parent, it’s up to you to think of creative ways and activities that can help build up their ability to last longer and overcome fatigue.

How to increase your athletic endurance

Do you feel that your lungs or lactic acid build-up are holding you back? Well both of those issues can be decreased through lung training. In this article we compare various methods of improving your lung capacity, endurance and strength.

Endurance Training versus Resistance (Weight) Training

47 males training for 12 weeks showed the following improvements in the table and chart below.[1] The results were very clear, the endurance training group improved their lung power (VO2MAX) far more than the resistance training group (11.2% vs 3.3%), and the resistance training group increased their strength far more than the endurance training group (21.6% vs 4.6%). That result is as would be expected. It shows that resistance training is somewhat effective at improving lung capacity, but is not optimal.

Also notable, the resistance training group had the greatest improvement in body composition (reduction in body fat percentage), a fall of 2.5% compared to 1.5% in the endurance training group. The resistance training group increased muscle and decreased fat, while the endurance training group only decreased fat.
How to increase your athletic endurance
How to increase your athletic endurance

Voluntary Isocapnic Hyperpnea Training versus Resistive Respiratory Muscle Training

Let’s refer to these two as VIHT and RRMT. They’re complicated to explain, but I’ll try to do so simply with pictures:

  • VIHT involves re-inhaling some of your exhaled CO2 to reduce the amount of oxygen inhaled. These machines are rare however, mainly existing in laboratories.
    How to increase your athletic endurance
    How to increase your athletic endurance
  • RRMT adds resistance to your inhaling and exhaling. This equipment is far more available to the average person, it’s even available to purchase on Amazon (Power Lung) for a little over $100.
    How to increase your athletic endurance

So let’s get to the results.[2] This study was done on 8 experienced runners for 3 days per week, 30 minutes per day. It included 4 weeks of RRMT then 4 weeks of VIHT after that. So don’t be confused by the chart below, the RRMT group had 4 weeks or training while the VIHT group had 4+4 weeks of training.

RRMT alone increased endurance run time by 18% while RRMT+VIHT increased endurance run time by 46%, so the additional 4 weeks of VIHT added an additional 28% to the endurance run time. VIHT looks to be somewhat superior, but RRMT was also effective. Considering their comparative availability, I’d recommend VIHT only to serious athletes with a big budget, and RRMT to other athletes.

How to increase your athletic endurance

Another study found that 4 weeks of training for 30 minutes per day, 5 times per week increased swimming endurance time by 33% from RRMT, and 38% from VIHT.[3] Considering the results are similar, RRMT is very useful for swimmers.

An alternative RRMT product to the Power Lung mentioned above is the Power Breathe for a little under $100. If you want to measure your progress over time, Peak Flow Meters are very affordable.

Singing

Personally I’d rather the respiratory resistance training devices mentioned above, but singing is also effective for increasing lung capacity. As you can see in the table below, both girls and boys who sing have 24% higher lung capacity than those who don’t. So if you sing loud and often, it will in turn improve your lung capacity and in turn your sports endurance (swimming, running, rowing, etc).
How to increase your athletic endurance

Swimming

You probably guessed this already, but swimming leads to improved lung capacity.[4] One thing of note though is that swimming is superior to running for lung capacity, so swimming could be beneficial for runners in that regard.

Swimming for Asthma

Swimming reduces the symptoms of asthma and is less asthma inducing than other sports.[5] So not only is swimming good for lung capacity for sport, but it’s good for asthma sufferers too.

Lung Capacity Test

If you’re looking to test your lungs then a Peak Flow Meter will test your lung strength or simply blowing up a balloon with a single breath then measuring the size/diameter can test your lung capacity (make sure to use the same batch of balloons for future comparison tests).

How to increase your athletic endurance How to increase your athletic endurance

Conclusion

Simply practicing endurance exercise at a good intensity does help your lung capacity, but there are also devices available that can help you to improve even further. As with most of our articles, the goal is to help you beat the competition or improve yourself, and lung training is just one more way you can do so.