Muscular endurance training is working the muscles below their normal capacity over many repetitions. Unlike other types of muscular training centred on building size and power, muscular endurance training focuses on training the muscles to not fail over prolonged workouts. Muscular endurance is key in sports like basketball, hockey, soccer, boxing and various forms of racing, wherein the athletes move continually throughout the game.
The function of muscular endurance training is generally to prepare the muscles for strenuous and prolonged use. For example, a runner needs strong legs to run a long race, but he doesn't need the muscular development necessary to lift an extremely high amount of weight. He would tend to focus on training his muscles to not fatigue over extended use, which gives him a better chance of winning the race.
Types of muscular endurance training include various forms of running, such as hill running and harness running, that force the leg muscles to handle variable resistance over an extended period of time. In terms of weight training, the key to muscular endurance training is to focus on higher repetitions rather than greater amounts of weight. Where you may want to do sets of six to10 dumbbell curls to build strength in the biceps, a range of 12 to 15 repetitions would be more ideal for muscular endurance training.
Muscular endurance training is often done to improve athletic performance, but there are other physical benefits as well. Although muscular endurance training is not associated with building large muscles, it does tone the body, resulting in a healthier looking physique. It can also improve heart rate, posture, bone strength and balance and prevent injury. Building muscle through muscular endurance training raises your body's metabolic rate, which encourages the body to burn calories even while at rest.
Training for muscular endurance can be a challenging test for the body. Always stretch and warm up, so your muscles are prepared for endurance exercise. Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration and muscle cramps.
If you are considering a muscular endurance training program but are new to physical training, check with a medical professional to get an assessment of your health and a recommendation for how much training you should undertake in the beginning.