7 Tips for improving endurance

If you’re looking to increase stamina during workouts and improve your endurance, check out these 7 tips for upping exercise endurance. Try one or all 7 to see the best results.

Tip #1 Interval training

Interval training is an exercise method where you switch between levels of intensity rapidly. Tabata training is one example of HIIT (high-intensity interval training). Typically done in the rhythm of 20 seconds high-intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest for 8 rounds, equaling a 4-minute completed Tabata.

Times can easily be adjusted to accommodate less intense exercises. For example, 45 seconds of squats followed by 15 seconds of rest. Interval training can be applied to most forms of exercise including weight training, cardio, and bodyweight training. Using the interval training method improves your body’s ability to recover quickly from higher intensity exercises. The better your body becomes at recovering quickly, the more likely you will be able to perform exercises for longer and at higher intensity levels.

Tip #2 The run walk run method

Jeff Galloway began and popularized the run walk run method. To help beginner runners improve their endurance and reduce fatigue, Galloway introduced the technique of using walking breaks during long distance runs. While some find this method frustrating and want to “run the whole thing”, the run walk run method has many benefits.

Some of these benefits include reduced fatigue, conservation of resources, quicker recovery, and reduction of core body temperature according to the Jeff Galloway training website. Galloway’s method boasts of faster long-distance runs (yes, even with walk breaks) than those that persevere to “run the whole thing”. According to his site, the average runner shaves 7 minutes off a half marathon using the proper run walk run ratio. To find your run walk run ratio, click here.

Tip #3 Change up your routine

As the saying goes, “variety is the spice of life”. Applying this concept to your workout routine can really spice up not only your interest in exercise but your endurance as well.

“The best way to avoid a fitness plateau is to continuously vary your workout routine.” (Healthline.com) This means you should include many different types of exercise in your week-to-week routine. A varied routine might look something like this:

Monday: HIIT workout

Tuesday: Yoga class

Wednesday: Weight training

Thursday: Walk or jog

Friday: HIIT workout

Saturday: Long run

Sunday: Weight training

Tip #4 Up the intensity

Our bodies are generally pretty good about making the movement (exercise) as easy and efficient as possible for us. However, this is counterproductive to a workout routine. If your body has lifted a 10-pound dumbbell a million times, it will find nothing challenging about lifting a 10-pound dumbbell.

If you lift that dumbbell while also performing a lunge or choose to up the weight of the dumbbell and perform the same number of reps, you are teaching your body to accept a higher intensity level for an equal amount of time (improving endurance!).

Tip #5 Couch to 5k

If you’ve never been an avid runner or have never gotten beyond your running threshold, try a couch to 5k plan. There are endless apps to download that will walk you through the process of a couch to 5k, but the general concept is simple. With this method, you slowly work your way toward being able to run a 5k or 3.1 miles.

Using similar methods to run walk run and other interval lengths, you will begin mostly walking and slowly work your way up toward running the majority of your distance and eventually running the entirety. A couch to 5k is a perfect way to increase endurance in a safe and healthy way. Even if you typically only weight lift, do yoga, or do nothing at all, increasing your running abilities can only help in any workout method you prefer.

Tip #6 Ladder your workout

Like interval training, ladder workouts involve slowly making your workout more or less difficult. For example, begin with a basic squat for your first interval. Then, step up to a squat jump for your second interval. Finally, perform a round of burpees.

For an added challenge, make your way back down the ladder and attempt to maintain the same intensity as the first rounds. You can ladder weight training exercises as well by increasing or decreasing reps and weight. This might look like: 12 bicep curls at a lightweight, 9 at a moderate weight, 6 at a heavyweight, and finally, 3 reps at the heaviest weight you can perform curls with. Again, you can go back up or down the ladder for added endurance training.

Tip #7 Combine workout styles

Combining workout styles into one day’s workout is another great way to increase endurance. If you typically do a 40-60-minute weight training workout, try cutting your weight training to 30 minutes and add 20-30 minutes of cardio, flexibility, or balance training.

Just like adding variety to your overall workout routine helps keep your body on its toes, completely switching gears during your workout forces your body to work differently and learn to adjust. Any opportunity to confuse your muscles will require them to “rewire” and improve to accomplish the workout. Increased muscle endurance is the natural result.