Muscular Strength vs. Muscular Endurance: What’s the Difference?

Muscular Strength vs. Muscular Endurance: What’s the Difference?

Authored by Audrey on July 30, 2021

Muscular strength and endurance are often lumped together, but they are different things! Read our guide to learn about how to build muscle endurance, why it’s important, and how it differs from strength. 

Is Improving Muscular Strength and Endurance Important?

So, you’ve been hitting it pretty hard at the gym these days. You can feel the changes in your body, especially your muscles, but are you fully aware of what’s happening? 

When an athlete trains well, their muscles will likely become stronger—but that’s not all. A well-trained athlete will also enjoy improved muscular endurance. Sometimes, endurance and strength are desired—but in certain situations, one might be preferable to the other. 

If you find this concept confusing, you’re not alone. Many athletes assume that muscular endurance and muscular strength are the same concepts; in reality, they are two entirely different things. Although both muscular strength and endurance are products of a dedicated fitness routine, they are different functions. It is helpful for athletes to know whether they should be both improving muscular strength and endurance, or just focusing on one.

It is indeed important to hone your muscular strength and endurance—but first, you must know all the facts. Athletes must be well-informed to know if they should be focusing on improving their muscular endurance, strength, or a combination of both.

What Is the Difference Between Muscular Strength and Muscular Endurance? 

To know whether musical strength or endurance will suit you best, you must know the difference between the two. You will then be able to use this knowledge to make better-informed decisions on your own training path. 

Muscular endurance is a term used to describe an athlete’s ability to physically perform for longer periods. So, good muscular endurance is crucial for athletes who prefer long-distance running, triathlons, and other lengthy activities. It also helps us get through the more taxing tasks in our daily lives, like climbing a big staircase. 

Muscular strength, on the other hand, refers to your muscles’ ability to work against resisting forces (like barbells). This also applies to daily life; everything from moving equipment to carrying your own child requires muscular strength. 

In some cases, having enormous muscles can actually be detrimental to athletes. This is because certain sports and workouts demand agility and endurance, not big muscles. In these cases, the ability to perform for long periods will be more important than strength. In fact, as long as they don’t overtrain, an athlete can never have too much muscular endurance.

What Is an Example of Muscular Endurance?

Long-distance running is perhaps the most famous example of an activity that requires muscular endurance. A marathon’s length is 26.2 miles—to put that in perspective for our local partners, the entire city of Boise is 85 square miles. 

A marathon is a long run, and it takes hours to complete. The world records for marathon finish times still clock in at just over two hours—2:15:25 for females and 2:01:39 for men. Though some elite athletes manage to finish around the same, the overall average finish time for a marathon is closer to 4:21:00. Some athletes take much longer to finish; everybody is different. However, one thing remains the same amongst every marathon runner, whether they finish in two hours or seven: to reach the finish line, marathon runners must have high levels of muscular endurance. This allows them to perform the repetitive motion of running for the entire race without exhaustion or injury risk. 

As we mentioned previously, muscular endurance also plays an essential role in daily life. Maybe you live at the top of a hill or in a big apartment building with no elevator. Maybe you need to walk 15 minutes each way to take the train to work or cycle through town to get to your college classes. This can feel very tiring when you have low muscular endurance levels. 

Fortunately for all of us, muscular endurance is something that can improve through training and practice!

How to Increase Muscular Endurance Levels

If you’re wondering how to increase muscular endurance, we’re here to help you get there. To properly hone your endurance levels, we recommend incorporating several routines into your workout and making changes to your daily life.

How to Increase Muscular Endurance at the Gym

Training at the gym is a great way to improve your muscular endurance. Whether you prefer to train with a fitness coach or you’re more of a lone wolf, there are many routines and workouts you can perform to improve muscular endurance. The key is to maintain a consistent workout schedule. 

Some of the most popular choices include:

  • Crunches and Sit-Ups
  • Push-Ups
  • Planking
  • Squats
  • Walking Lunges
  • Burpees

How to Increase Muscular Endurance Through Lifestyle

While you’re already honing your muscular endurance through athletic training, you might as well take it up another notch. 

By making some small changes to your lifestyle, you can see an even bigger difference in your overall endurance levels. Some of our partners manage this by investing in a standing desk to keep them active during work. Others have swapped their daily car ride to work for a bike or set of walking shoes. You can also make smaller changes like opting for the stairs over an escalator. 

How to Increase Muscular Strength

Even if your preferred workout or sport requires more muscular endurance than strength, some levels of the latter are still important. There are many methods to improve one’s muscular strength. Some of the exercises which increase endurance, like crunches or push-ups, also help with muscular strength. Others are more specific.

 Some of the most popular muscle-strengthening workouts include:

Are There Benefits to Both Muscular Strength and Endurance?

Sure, athletes who train to increase their muscular endurance and strength are improving their physical performance. Amazingly, that’s not all. Those who keep their muscles in top shape can also enjoy other benefits.

For instance, muscle endurance training has been shown to improve overall joint and bone health in athletes. This means that they’ll be less likely to develop health issues like osteoporosis later in life. This will also help prevent injury; stronger bones have less chance of fracture, and less-tired muscles are also less susceptible to strain.

Muscular strength also offers a host of benefits outside of, of course, a powerful physical performance. Those with strong muscles often enjoy better moods and energy levels, improved posture, less back pain, and a better overall sense of physical stability. 

Optimize Your Strength and Endurance at Jack City Fitness

Whether you’re training for a marathon or simply want to improve your overall quality of movement through life, Jack City Fitness is the place to be. We have a crew of fitness coaches who are experts on the subjects of muscle endurance and strength, and they’re happy to share their knowledge with you. 

Not a Jack City Fitness partner yet? What are you waiting for? Here at Jack Fitness, we have everything an athlete needs to smash their goals, grow as an athlete, and even meet like-minded people. Our fitness coaches are here to offer all the training you need to hone your skills, while our classes are known across Boise for being the best in town. 

Call (208) 999-1111 today or send us a message online to get in touch with our team! We’ll invite you over for a FREE fitness consultation, a tour of the gym, and the chance to ask us anything you want. Once you’ve signed up to be a partner, you’ll have instant 24/7 access to our entire facility and can choose from custom, group, or private training options. 

We can’t wait to meet you and help you reach your goals.