Are your Workouts Building Strength,Power, and Endurance?



No matter why you exercise resistance training should be a priority; but how do you design a workout routine to incorporate all three muscle attributes?

During a general conditioning cycle for almost any sport, absolute strength, enhanced power output, and muscular and cardiovascular endurance need to be trained to a certain degree.  The modality used depends on the specific movements of the sport or activity.

To differentiate between the three types of exercise, here are the definitions:

Strength:  This can be thought of as the maximum amount of resistance the muscles can push against in a single effort.

Power:  Force x distance/time.  In terms of movement, this is how fast a movement can be performed against a resistance.  In other words, 'explosive strength.' 

Endurance:  Muscular endurance is talking about the number of times the muscles can repeat the movement with a sub-maximum weight or resistance. 

Putting it into Context

To use these three concepts, let's put it into an exercise.

Starting with power, any exercise can be utilized to perform fast, controlled repetitions.  Force needs to be applied to the concentric and the eccentric phases of the movement

Using the bench press as an example, perform several sets (4-6) of low, explosive repetitions (3-5.)  If you can attach power bands or resistance cables, do so.  Use a weight 55-65% of your maximum; remember this is about stimulating muscles to generate force quickly.

If we take the same exercise and perform it to enhance absolute strength, we simply increase the volume (from 5-8 sets or more,) and lower the repetitions to 1-3.  This could be modified to five sets of five, or five sets of three if the weight is heavy enough. 

An excellent example of a muscular endurance exercise is the TRX body row.  Doing this exercise with a suspension trainer allows the angle to be changed so the muscles can continue working with a lowered resistance.

Generally, start by setting the TRX straps at a steep angle which will allow you to perform 10-12 repetitions.  When you can do no more, adjust the angle and keep going, until the muscles are exhausted. 
Repeat two to three times according to your fitness level.
 
These higher rep structures encourage a higher lactate threshold, training the muscles to keep going longer; i.e. muscular endurance.

For general fitness, designing a workout routine with elements of power, strength, and endurance will leverage conditioning efforts, and develop a well-rounded physique that is functional as well as attractive.

For more information on implementing the TRX into your workouts, visit www.flexandmove.com, or click on the banner ads on this site.

Until next time, get to work and have fun!    

2 comments:

Tami said...

Came accross this blog and love it. Trying to get away from commercial gyms and create something myself. Thank you for the motivation. Keep blogging!

ChrisMo said...

Thanks Tami, I'm glad you enjoy it!