When training and working out, exercise can be broken down into two main categories, cardio & resistance training. Overall, resistance training is any form of weight lifting. Resistance training can use a variety of sources for resistance including bands, weight plates, chains and sometimes body weight. Resistance training is the style of training that uses a weight value, reps, sets & rest periods. But these variables can be manipulated in different ways for different effects. Hence, it’s important to know the difference between muscular strength, growth & endurance, so you know you’re designing your workout for the right effect!
The difference between muscular strength, growth & endurance is important because they’re so different from one another. First, we’ll start with muscular strength, since it can be helpful for so many fitness goals. We reviewed muscular strength before in our blog The-difference-between-speed-power-and-strength, but in short, it’s the amount of force the muscle can exert. Moreover, the training program for muscular strength involves low reps (<5), high weight (90% max), and long rests (3-5 minutes). This program is designed to maximize the challenge of heavy lifting while minimizing fatigue. The reason this program is helpful for so many is because it can increase the weight values they can use in other workouts; essentially, making an endurance or toning workout feel easier.
Muscular growth & endurance are basically opposite each other; lets start with muscular growth. Growing muscle is a little different than most people think. The key that many forget is that a muscle fiber needs to fatigue while under a heavy load in order to prompt the optimal growth response. This forces your body to use other fibers in the muscle which will then fatigue and so on. As a result, to train for muscle growth, the optimal prescription involves 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps at around 80% max. This formula forces the muscle to exert a lot of force, but to also burn out while doing so. The result, is great size increases, but also great soreness, so be sure to read our post on 3-natural-ways-to-prevent-muscle-soreness first.
Last & most straight forward is muscle endurance. This style is best for someone who wants to tone down or train for a tough event (i.e. tough mudder). In short, muscle endurance challenges the muscle fiber’s ability to generate energy and sustain it over time. Muscle endurance is similar to cardio, but uses the resistance training format of reps, sets, weight & rest. To train for muscle endurance, include weight between 40% & 60% max, 15-20 reps, and rest periods of 1-2 minutes. Essentially, the goal is to increase the overall volume of exercise by trading in some of the weight.
For all three forms of resistance training, make sure you’re including a proper warm up; for more advice on warming up, see our post on Key-components-to-a-warm-up. Also, make sure to gradually work into these training forms, as any sudden change to a routine is always a risk for injury. For more tips & tricks, send us an email!