How resistance training can improve your endurance
Picture this: It’s early morning, and the whole town is still asleep when you put on your runners and step outside into the crisp autumn morning. You start a slow jog to wake up your muscles that still feel stiff from sleep, but with every steady thud of your feet against the ground, your body loosens up a bit more, and the fog in your brain clears.
Some would argue that no exercise is better than a morning run through a serene forest or along deserted city streets where your sole competition is yourself, propelling you to surpass yesterday’s limits with each passing day.
If you recognise yourself in this description, you’re probably not jumping at the opportunity to trade your personal time for weightlifting and endless reps in an overcrowded gym.
However, most successful training programs incorporate various approaches and always depend on more than just a single type of exercise. Even if your goal is not bulking up, resistance workouts can enhance your endurance, enabling you to cycle even longer, run even harder or complete even more laps when swimming.
3 ways you can benefit from resistance training
Resistance training is an umbrella term for any exercise that uses resistance to work the muscles. This includes squats, push-ups, lounges, planks and exercises with lighter free weights and resistance bands. The goal of resistance training can vary, but experts agree that including resistance workouts in your routine can have many benefits for your endurance.
1. Muscle strength
Through resistance exercises, your muscles will become stronger, and their ability to produce force quickly will improve. Your muscles will also require less effort to do the same tasks, which means you can run or cycle for more extended periods without getting fatigued so fast.
2. Healthy joints
Resistance training strengthens the tendons, ligaments and muscles around your joints. This can reduce the risk of injury during endurance activities as strong and stable joints are less prone to overuse injuries like “runner’s knee”, sprained ankle or inflammation.
3. Lean muscle
We start losing anywhere from 3 to 5 per cent of lean muscle mass per decade around the age of 30. And while endurance training burns a lot of fat, it doesn’t help you develop lean muscle.
Building strong, lean muscle through strength training will not only provide you with additional muscle power and enhance overall performance, but will also help protect your bone, joint and muscle health.
How to incorporate resistance workouts into your routine
If you’re sold on the idea of adding resistance training to your routine, but still think “OK, but there is no way I’m setting a foot into any stuffy gym,” don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. The good thing is you don’t need to invest in expensive equipment or pay absurd amounts in gym membership to get started.
There are numerous ways to create an efficient workout routine you can perform at home or outdoors after your daily run. Think 3 sets of 10 reps of squats, lounges, push-ups, bridges and other exercises where you use your body weight. Once you feel comfortable, you can go a step further and add a pair of dumbbells to your workout.
Another great home workout is Pilates. In addition to helping build lean muscle, the fluid movement and deep breathing techniques used in Pilates strengthen the lungs, improve circulation and help you develop better mind-body connection and coordination – qualities highly valued in any type of endurance training.
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