Physical fitness and performance is one of the most, and simultaneously the least, scientific subjects you can hope to learn about.
Although much can be said about the willpower and fortitude of deadlifting 500 pounds or the mental strength and persistence of running a full marathon, there is still a marriage of science and anatomy to those impressive accomplishments.
The combination of what your body is physically able to do, and what your brain will mentally allow it to do, are sometimes drastically different. With these considerations, what is the best method of training; stamina based workouts or endurance based works?
And for those of you who thought that stamina and endurance were synonymous, we’ll go through the differences and explain each.
Stamina is often attributed to more than just physical exertion, applying to almost any strenuous facet of life. Whether it is stamina throughout the length of your work day, stamina throughout the length of your career, or simply the stamina to make it through an afternoon business meeting.
Stamina (and endurance for that matter) has a core tenant of time, and stress withstood over that period of time.
Keeping that in mind, let’s implement the specifics of stamina into fitness terms. Stamina is your bodies ability function at 100% exertion, for as long as you physically are able to.
This more commonly can be attributed to a track sprinter, running at maximum speed for as long as possible. In terms of a gym workout, this could be your max bench, squat, or deadlift weight you can perform, for as many repetitions as possible.
Stamina is about using all of your effort, for as long as you can possibly manage (regardless of what the end duration may be). Endurance is slightly different, however.
While stamina is about an all-out blitz of energy, endurance implements a little bit of strategy and forethought. Endurance is also completely about time, but this is the emphasis on being able to sustain only part of your physical ability for as long as possible.
So where stamina may be exhausting 100% effort for only 10 seconds, endurance is about using your effort 75% for 30 seconds. It is sacrificing maximum effort for the ability to perform a task for a longer period of time.
In comparison to stamina, endurance is a marathon race as opposed to the aforementioned sprint. Or potentially your bench press 20-30 pounds lighter than normal, and subsequently completing as many repetitions as possible.
So with these two differences in mind, how do we train to improve each of the two?
Luckily when it comes to endurance and stamina, both of the training methods are very similar and will end up improving both aspects simultaneously. With both having very small, but distinct differences, training for each will come naturally.
Training for stamina is a twofold process: training at 100% effort, and training at about 85% effort. Sticking with the bench press for example. Going for your maximum bench press will be obviously the main tactic.
If you can physically bench 200 pounds, you will train with 200 pounds. But in addition to this, benching at a slightly lower weight (in this case 170 pounds) for as many repetitions will also prove beneficial. This allows you to train for repetitions in combination with weight, which prevents the stagnation that will come with only benching at your maximum ability.
Endurance has a similar methodology, benching at a slightly higher or lower weight to see improvement. Only this time you will focus on the repetitions, and not necessarily the weight.
So if you are training for 30 reps at 150 pounds, you instead would train for 15 repetitions at 175. Or, you could lower the weight and increase the repetitions to 40.
The main focus will be on increasing your overall repetitions, and not necessarily the overall weight.
For each of the two, training with varied rest breaks, more speed and intensity, and unorthodox routines will act to stress and strengthen your abilities. Because both are similar in their goals, you’ll see improvement no matter which facet, be it stamina or endurance, that you choose to focus on. Implementing these not only acts as a great physical workout, but you’ll see a significant increase in performance over time as well.
One of the made goals, outside of increasing your fitness performance, is the amazing health benefits training for stamina and endurance provide. Aside from training your muscles, endurance and stamina training both prove to be excellent methods in increasing heart health due to its cardiovascular style of exercise.
This can help manage blood pressure, maintain a healthier heart rate, and more importantly boost your metabolism to help burn any unhealthy levels of fat.
Stick to the above mentioned tips and you will be able to see the health, strength, and performance that stamina and endurance training can offer.