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Build Muscle: How To Increase Muscle Strength While Increasing Endurance And Stamina

Updated on June 25, 2013

Cardiovasular Endurance

Cardio exercises like running and jumping rope can speed up your heart rate and your breathing. You may struggle to get enough oxygen. Cardiovascular endurance is your body's ability to provide your body with oxygen. If you have good cardiovascular endurance your heart rate and breathing are slower. It is easier to breath while exercising. The cardio exercises I did increased my cardiovascular endurance.

Individual Muscle Endurance

When exercising you can experience muscle fatigue in one or more the the muscles that you are working. The muscle does not seem to want to work anymore. You may also experience pain because exercise can damage the muscles. Your muscle endurance is your muscle's ability to keep working. If I keep doing dumbbell curls I start to experience muscle fatigue and pain in my bicep muscle. The muscle begins to fail. It feels a lot like the weight is getting heavier. The muscle strain and fatigue is localized to the muscles that are being used.


Your body's ability to provide your muscles with energy is referred to as stamina. Muscles need energy to function. While exercising there are times when you feel weak and tired because of a lack of energy. To increase your stamina do exercises that use up a lot of energy. Make yourself feel weak and tired before resting. A healthy well balance diet is also important. Food provides your body with energy.

I worked out a lot doing different cardio exercises. Then I tried to workout my upper body. Even though I had not been straining my arm muscles the muscles did not work very well because my body was no longer providing me with enough energy.

Me doing exploding push ups while wearing a heavy backpack.
Me doing exploding push ups while wearing a heavy backpack.

Strength And Speed

Strength is your ability to apply force. For instance I use strength to lift a heavy dumbbell. Speed is your ability to quickly move your body. I can pedal really fast on my exercise bike when the resistance is low. Combine strength and speed and you have power. Pushing my upper body off the ground while doing push ups is a power exercise. Jumping, sprinting uphill, biking uphill and shadow boxing are other power exercises.

Woman riding a bike.
Woman riding a bike. | Source

Build Strength Width Endurance Exercises

Running, biking, kayaking and other cardio exercises are considered endurance exercises when done for long periods of time but they also require strength. My leg muscle are large, hard and strong because I go for long bike rides. Biking up hills and against the wind requires a lot of strength. I also have my bike on the highest resistance setting. It puts more emphasis on strength and less on speed.

If you are using an exercise machine you can increase the resistance to strengthen your muscles while you work at increasing your endurance. As your muscles become stronger increase the resistance. You need resistance to increase your strength with endurance exercises.

Me, doing side planks.
Me, doing side planks. | Source
Woman doing yoga.
Woman doing yoga. | Source

Holding A Pose

Yoga and other bodyweight exercises that have you holding a pose require strength and endurance. Try lifting your body off the ground or off a chair using your your arms. Then keep holding your body in the air for a minute while your feet are extended in front of you. The exercise is called an L-sit. To do the plank exercise you get into the raised push up and try to hold it for a minute or more.

You probably stand on your legs a lot but standing on one leg can become difficult very fast. These exercises are mostly endurance exercises. The objective is to increase the duration of the pose while maintaining proper form. However if you want to increase your strength you can switch to a pose that requires more strength. While doing exercises like planks my abs became a lot stronger.

Me, doing dumbbell curls.
Me, doing dumbbell curls. | Source

Build Muslce Endurance With Strength Exercises

For weightlifting increasing your strength means increasing the amount of weight you can lift. Increasing your endurance means increasing the number of times you lift the weight. To increase strength and endurance focus on increasing the number of repetitions but increase the weight as you get stronger. When you increase the weight you can reduce the number of reps.

I try to increase the number of reps to 12. Then I work at increasing the number of sets. When the first set feels like it is getting a little too easy I increase the weight. If I can handle the new weight then I start the cycle over again with the heavier weight. If not I switch back and try again alter. The routine above is what I do with dumbbell exercises and bodyweight exercises. For bodyweight exercises find ways to make the exercise more difficult or switch to another exercise instead of just increasing the number of repetitions.

If you keep increasing the number of repetitions the exercise is not going to become easier but the first 6 to 12 repetitions should. When that happens increase the weight or resistance.

Strength, Endurance and Stamina

When I focused on increasing the distance I could bike and getting there faster my strength, endurance and stamina increased. When I focused on doing more reps and lifting more weight my strength, endurance and stamina increased. I work at increasing my endurance so I can exercise longer and increase the intensity so I make good use of my time. If I can't make the exercise more difficult then I switch to a more difficult exercise. As a result I have strength, endurance and stamina.

The body adapts to your exercise routine. I was doing a lot of long distance running on my elliptical trainer and biking outside. One of the first things I noticed when I started jumping rope was that I could only do it for very short periods of time before my muscles started to give out. Changing my grip slightly when lifting weights can make the workout much harder. So you should figure out what you are going to do with your body. The exercises you do might not prepare you for the other activities you want to do.

What Type Of Exercise Do You Prefer

See results

My strength, endurance and stamina can be improved with cardio, bodyweight or weight lifting exercises. I do all three but I prefer to do cardio because it is more practical for me. For instance I can bike to a beach, hike in the woods, run around a park, rollerblade, go on a canoe trip, etc. I prefer bodyweight exercises over weight lifting for the same reason.


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