Endurance is not about how much but rather how long or how many times you can repeat a muscular contraction. Some examples: If you are a pianist, chasing kids around all day or playing a sport -- muscular endurance is going to come in handy. Understand that this is in addition to aerobic conditioning which will provide the energy and wind to support this. To build endurance you must use lower weight and more repetitions -- low-resistance reps in a progressive training program.
Once you build adequate strength to do a repetitive activity -- for example, climbing stairs -- you can then focus on making stair-climbing easier by working on muscle endurance.
What about both?
Choosing one focus is usually wise, but eventually you will probably see that working toward better muscular strength and muscular endurance is your best bet. This way you can perform everyday duties with ease and have a surplus of energy at the end of your day. In addition, if and when you need to change a tire or sprint up a hill, you will have neither limitation nor regrets afterward.
Training schedule (3 days/week)
To develop strength: 8 to 12 (maximum) reps per set*. When you can do more than 12 repetitions with the resistance or weight that once challenged you, increase the resistance or weight.
To develop endurance: 15 to 25 (maximum) reps per set*. When you can do more than 25 repetitions with the resistance or weight that once challenged you, increase the resistance or weight.
* Begin with 1 set per training day. Add a second set at week 4. Add a third set at week 8. Don't add resistance until you've increased your training to 3 sets per training session.
Cindy Boggs is an ACE certified healthy living expert and wellness writer. She is the author of the award-winning fitness advice book, "CindySays ... You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World." Send your questions about fitness, training and health to cindys...@aol.com.