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How to Increase Your Stamina and Endurance


When you think of "stamina", probably the first thing that comes to your mind is your cardio. You immediately think of running or jogging, or perhaps cycling. But did you know your cardio stamina is only a small part of the picture?

Stamina and endurance both refer to your muscles' ability to work for sustained periods of time. Running is a great way to boost your stamina, but it's not the only way. Here are a few more:

1. Rest Less

The average weightlifter rests for between 30 and 90 seconds between sets, but that only helps to build strength, not stamina. If you want to push your endurance to the next level, give up your break time. Push yourself hard, and only give yourself a few seconds of rest between eat set. However, instead of doing all sets of one muscle, work out various muscle groups in the same day:

Day 1: Chest, Back, Lower Back
Day 2: Shoulders, Biceps, Triceps, Abs
Day 3: Traps, Legs, Obliques

Do circuits of exercises, one for each muscle, and don't rest between each movement. It will get your heart pounding and push your stamina hard!

2. Combine Cardio and Strength

If you want to increase your stamina, do your cardio on the same day as you lift weights. Many people split days, focusing on muscle-building one day and cardio the next. Instead, push yourself on the weights or bodyweight training for 30 to 40 minutes, and follow it up with a good cardio workout for 30 to 45 minutes. It will push your heart to its max, and you'll boost your stamina greatly.

3. Go Plyo

Plyometric exercises use more than one muscle group at once, and the full-body workouts you can do will be excellent for your stamina. Try:

  • Military Presses with a Squat
  • Lunge Curls
  • Curls with Arnold Press

All of these exercises shred multiple muscles at once, meaning you use more energy at a time. The more energy you use, the more your heart is worked out.

4. Lift Fast

Instead of the slow, steady pace of weightlifting you're accustomed to, speed up your movements.

WARNING: Only do this if you are an experienced weightlifter, and have mastered the proper forms.

Don't just curl, squat, or bench press slowly, but do the exercises at double speed. It won't give you the same kind of focused muscle-building, but it will help you to reach your goal of increasing your heart's ability to produce more energy.

5. Switch it Up

If you do the same routine every day for weeks, your body will slowly become accustomed to it. It will produce the right amount of energy for the right muscles for your workout, and you'll never make progress.

Routine is the enemy of progress when it comes to training, so it's time to switch things up. Change your routine at least once every 6 to 8 weeks, both your cardio and your weight training. It will push your body hard, and will force you to keep working.

6. Use Compound Movements

Movements like leg extensions, bicep curls, and tricep kickbacks are all good for isolating the muscles you want to build, but they won't demand as much from your body. Instead, focus on doing all compound exercises that use multiple muscle groups, exercises like:

  • Bench presses
  • Military presses
  • Lunges
  • Squats
  • Arnold presses

These exercises work multiple muscles, so they place a greater strain on your heart--a good thing if you want to improve your stamina!

5-Pose Yoga Sequence for Runners

Some people get lucky and are born with fit, toned bodies. Andy Peloquin is not one of those people... Fitness has come hard for him, and he's had to work for it. His trials have led him to becoming a martial artist, an NFPT-certified fitness trainer, and a man passionate about exercise, diet and healthy living. He loves to exercise -- he does so six days a week -- and loves to share his passion for fitness and health with others.

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