7 Steps To Build Strength And Endurance

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When you are trying to lose weight fast and stay really healthy at the same time, you have to follow a fitness program based on both strength and endurance. By constantly building more muscle strength, you’ll boost your metabolism and turn your body into a calorie burning engine. You know that the stronger your muscles are the better results you’ll get! And by building endurance, you will be able to do progressively harder workouts and lose weight faster than ever before.

Here are a few ways to improve physical strength and endurance fast:

heart rate chart

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1. Make sure you are exercising at your maximum heart rate.

The heart is the biggest muscle of your body, and it controls the oxygen flow to your your muscles during physical activity. It is basically working out with you when you are exercising.

To increase cardiovascular endurance, you have to elevate your heart rate by adding more intensity to your cardio exercises. Don’t walk or run slowly for 1 hour on the treadmill at the same moderate pace – you have to increase your heart rate by adding incline on the treadmill or by pumping up the resistance on the elliptical and bike.

To target your maximum heart rate, a good rule of thumb is to subtract your age from 220. For most weight loss exercises your heart should be beating at 60-75% of your maximum heart rate. If you have any heart problems, you should talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program.

2. Vary your repetitions and sets -  lift heavy weights for strength and light weights for endurance.

If you use heavy weights for strength training, do a low number of reps: 5-10 reps for 2 sets – remember, use weights heavy enough that you reach muscle failure towards the end of the set. To build endurance, the key is to use lighter weights and lift them as many times you can (at least 15-25 reps). It doesn’t matter what exercise you do, use these above guidelines to make the exercise either strength or endurance. Great exercises for both are triceps dips, squats, bicep curls, and chest presses.

3. Take a High Intensity Interval Training class or choose Circuit Training.

chair dips

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Both develop strength and endurance!  A circuit can be very short, but it should be at least a 20 minute workout without rest and the circuit should be repeated 3-4 times by performing each set once. You can do this yourself – For example, do one leg-squat and curl, one plank with leg lift, jump squats, etc… followed by any form of abdominal training.

4. Use your body weight as resistance for strength training.

Push-ups, sit-ups, heel raises, chair dips and lunges are just a few exercises that get you into shape fast. For example – when you don’t have the props to do your upper body workout on a bench-press, do a set of 12 push-ups to get the same effect.

5. Watch your breath when lifting weights.

Don’t hold your breath! It can reduce the blood flow to the heart and leads to dizziness and weakness. During strength training, it’s recommended to exhale every time as the exercise gets more difficult and intense.

6. Do Plyometrics.

Plyo exercises are fast, explosive and involve both strength and endurance. This type of training uses a lot of jumps and hops, which improve your body coordination: they coordinate your foot, calf, ankle and hip muscles and build great balance. For example, you just have to hop from one foot to another in 30-60 sec intervals – try it with weights.

 7.  Don’t forget to regularly evaluate your muscle endurance and strength. 

Every couple of weeks, assess the progress you’ve made and try to move toward the next fitness level.

To test your endurance performance, do the squat or the sitting tucks test:

Sitting Tucks: sit on the floor, with your back and toes off the floor and your hands on your head, then bring your one leg to the chest and extend it away from your body while you bring the other leg in. Alternate legs and do as many reps as you can. Count them – this will be your performance baseline.

To test your strength, the push-up test is great:

Do as many you can without a break and when you can’t do anymore, it means that you have reached your maximum performance.

The benefits of strength and endurance performance are numerous: it will lower your body fat, protect you against injuries, help you maintain good posture, and prolong life by reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Mihaela Blaga

Mihaela Blaga is a blog contributor at Lucille Roberts. Originally from Romania, she has B.A. in Journalism and a B.A. in Philosophy from Spiru Haret University in Bucharest. She is passionate about fitness, nutrition, and languages–in addition to Romanian she speaks Italian and Spanish. Before joining the editorial department, Mihaela worked at Lucille Roberts 42nd St.

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