How Can I Increase My Muscular Stamina and Endurance?


question-icon-newI’m currently trying to increase the stamina and endurance of my muscles. How many reps should I do per set and how much should I increase the weight for each set? Should I increase the weight every set or should I stick to the same weight when doing all my sets and then increase it the next time I train that muscle group?

answer-icon-newWhen you point out that you need help increasing “stamina and endurance” I will take this as meaning that you want to increase your overall strength levels in order to do more reps for the intended exercise. The best way to increase your strength levels is to always try to shock your muscles with different stimuli. A great way to do this is by mixing up your repetition range every workout. For your first workout for a specific muscle group, do low rep training with very heavy weight (4-6 reps per set). For the next workout for the same muscle group, use higher reps and lighter weight (12-15 reps per set). This way you will always shock your muscles and continue giving them different stimuli to grow.

barbell-shoulder-press-strengthIt’s also important to mix up your training routine in combination with your rep ranges. So, for your question about either increasing the weight with every set versus using the same weight for the entire workout, the answer is actually to do both. One week, use the basic pyramid style training principle in your workout where you decrease the reps while increasing the weight. Then for your next workout, use a different training style and use the same weight for all the sets of your chosen rep range. The key is to always try to mix up your training routine each week with different techniques, different rep ranges and different weights being used. Variety is the key to growth! Always keep your body guessing in order to keep stimulating your muscles to adapt and grow.

An example of a heavy day with low reps would look like this:

Chest – Bench Press

  • Set 1: Warm-up set (15-20 reps)
  • Set 2: 7 reps
  • Set 3: 6 reps
  • Set 4: 5 reps
  • Set 5: 4 reps

An example of lighter day with higher reps would look like this:

Chest – Bench Press

  • Set 1: Warm-up set (15-20 reps)
  • Set 2: 15 reps
  • Set 3: 14 reps
  • Set 4: 13 reps
  • Set 5: 12 reps

For your concern about how much weight you should use for each exercise, it totally depends on how strong you are. Everyone is different so that is a hard question to answer. A great rule of thumb is to always use a weight which you can barely get up for the last rep in your set. So, if you are doing a set of bench press and your goal is 6 total reps, then you should barely be able to get up the last rep (6th rep). If you can easily lift the weight on the last rep, the weight you are using is too light and you should increase the overall weight for that exercise. Do this with small increments of only 2.5 to 5 pounds so you can make small strength increases. Small changes in the weight you use results in big strength increases down the road! Make sure to use a spotter when using this “positive failure” method (or use Hammer Strength machines). By training this way, you will gain maximum muscle mass and increase your strength levels.

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