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Effective Training For Muscular Endurance

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We first need to define exactly what muscular endurance is so that we are all on the same page. If we can agree that the definition of muscular endurance is the maximum force produced for the maximum amount of time with obviously the force being generated that will then decrease the longer you do it.

But muscular endurance can be split into two categories and the one is Anaerobic like sprinting and the other is Aerobic muscular endurance like running a marathon or cross country. The strength that we can produce can be divided into three main energy systems:

1. ATP-PC Energy System (Anaerobic, 10 Seconds): Most of us know that ATP is the main source of all our energy used in our muscles. Studies have now shown that the ATP stored in your muscles can be depleted in less than only 3 seconds. The body is able to compensate for this by producing Phosphate-Creatine (PC) used to restore your ATP levels until all your PC is finally depleted which will give you about 10 seconds in total.

2. "Lactic Acid" [Glycolytic] System (Anaerobic, 60 seconds): If you exert maximum effort for more than 10 seconds and all your stored ATP and PC have been used your body then starts a process called glycosis. This is a process that takes a bit of time to complete as it breaks down carbohydrates without the use of oxygen. The problem is that it produces a by-product called Hydrogen ions which is what causes that burning pain sensation in your muscles which obviously decreases the maximum amount of contraction that you can do.

3. Aerobic System (Aerobic, 60 Sec+ And Anything Slow Paced): The aerobic system functions very efficiently using oxygen constantly in order to prevent the glycosis mentioned above from creating lactic acid. Also known as "slow glycosis" and theoretically can continue like this without stopping, but at a much slower pace.

It should be noted here that when we are talking about muscular endurance being developed in the aerobic system a higher aerobic threshold is a pre requisite because the system will prevent the creation of any lactic acid build-up and if you have a higher aerobic capacity you will be able to prevent your energy system changing to the Glycolytic system, and save a lot of energy as well as muscle soreness.

With the three primary energy pathways listed above we can then work out exactly what we will need to concentrate on depending on what type of sport we do. When talking about the development of muscular endurance there is definitely a downside to training aerobically as research tells us that it more than likely will result in strength and speed losses.

The bottom line is that when training for an increase in your muscular endurance with ATP-PC you should do normal weight training or 30 to 70 yard sprints. When training for lactic acid as mentioned above you should do sprint up a hill and walk down or work on a stationary bike training hard and fast for 25 seconds, then do a nice an easy pace for 5-10 minutes.


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