What is strength-endurance training? Fitness trainers answer the most googled questions

Posted by for Strong Women

What is strength-endurance training? We asked the experts how you can train both of these skills at once. 

The benefits of building strength are huge. Not only do you feel amazing in the gym, but you also reap the benefits in your everyday life by having better posture and being able to move and lift things easier.

There are lots of different styles of strength training that will help you reach the same goal, but one often forgotten style of training is strength-endurance training. This is a crucial part of building a resilient body, but how do you do it?

Each week, Stylist’s Strong Women ambassadors answer some of the most asked questions from women who want to get into lifting. Today, they’re explaining what strength-endurance training is, and how we can use it to up our workouts.

What is strength-endurance training?

ALICE MILLER, STRONG WOMEN AMBASSADOR: 

“Strength-endurance training is almost an oxymoron, because if you train for strength you’re typically working with heavier loads with fewer reps. And if you train for endurance, you’re doing, say, 20 reps plus to work the slower twitch fibres. But there is a middle ground, and that’s strength-endurance training.

“To do it, we still want to be putting the muscles under heavy load, but extending the amount of time they are trained for. For example, rather than supersetting a push and a pull movement as in typical strength training, you want to superset two exercises of the same movement pattern, like two push exercises. So you might do eight-12 dumbbell bench presses, then immediately go into push ups for the same amount of reps. All of a sudden, we’ve just done 24 reps on one muscle group, so they’ve been under load for longer.”

This is how to build strength endurance

EMMA OBAYUVANA, STRONG WOMEN AMBASSADOR: 

“It’s about building strength that lasts a longer period of time, so increasing the amount of time that a muscle can stand to be under tension for. Doing higher reps with low weight won’t help. You need heavy weights with high volume, so you increase the sets and shorten the rest. Lifting heavy weights over six or more sets is a good way to make sure that you are training the muscles for longer, ticking off endurance, but that you are still able to hit the strengthening aspect.”

What are the benefits of strength-endurance training?

ALICE MILLER, STRONG WOMEN AMBASSADOR:

“It will prep your body to withstand stress so that going forward you’re able to lift heavier loads and work towards gaining power. It will also help with building muscle because you’ll be doing so much volume on one specific area.”

EMMA OBAYUVANA, STRONG WOMEN AMBASSADOR: 

“We all should want to be able to perform tasks over an extended period of time. For example, the chances are not everyone lives next to a supermarket. So if you’re carrying some heavy shopping bags home you might need to be able to walk with them for 20 minutes. Unlike with pure strength, where you can lift a crazy heavy object off the floor but have to drop it immediately, this allows you to sustain that strength.” 

What exercises should you do for strength-endurance training?

ALICE MILLER, STRONG WOMEN AMBASSADOR:

“As strength is the goal, doing moves to promote that is key. So the big muscle building moves, like squats, deadlifts and overhead presses will be great, but we can add in more isolating moves like Romanian deadlifts and chest presses to really focus on time under tension.”

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