Last Tuesdays post was committed to giving you an overview of what Muscle Endurance (ME) training entailed.

This week I would like to spend some time discussing how to move from training ME to developing MS.

The goal here is to develop the highest amount of force production by the muscle as possible.

A combination of Strength and Endurance gives us Muscle Endurance, which is the ability to perform a high number of repetitive movements against a resistance, for an extended period of time (Activities involving Cyclic movements such as pedaling).

Clearly an important requirement for Endurance sports of all kinds.

With the Aerobic energy system dominating energy metabolism, the need to be able to produce force without fatigue is essential.

Let's have a quick look at a few adaptations that might occur as a result of Strength focused training:

  • Increases the force production capacity of the muscle.
  • Increases the strength of the Contractile Proteins: Actin and Myosin
  • Further increases the strength and resiliance of the bodies connective tissues: Tendons and Fascia.
  • Improved ability to apply forces as a result of Nervous system adaptations.
  • Possibly a hypertrophic response of the Slow Twitch Fibers to the Medium resistance - High volume training paradigm.
  • Improves co-ordination and synchronization of muscle groups during activity.
Obviously there will be some interference with the gains in ME when in the MS phase of training, but keep the big picture in mind: we are working toward increasing our Muscle Endurance and the Force production capacity of the muscle during our sport.

Sounds good, but how would one go about developing a plan to increase MS? Here is the low down. Keep in mind there are many opinions, these guidelines are from the NSCA:
  • 3-4 times per week
  • >=85% of 1 Repetition Maximum (you are not lifting the heaviest loads possible)
  • <= 6 repetitions
  • 2-6 sets
  • 2-3 minutes of recovery between sets (allowing time for the muscle to recover).
  • Movement Cadence: CON: 2 sec HOLD: 1 sec ECC: 3 sec
There are many ways to arrange the exercises selected in the program (we will go into more detail in later posts):
  • Power movement exercises - Core exercise - Assistance exercise
  • Upper - Lower body arrangement
  • Push - Pull arrangement / Agonist - Antagonist arrangement
This phase of training should be applied in January and through February.

This 8 week training cycle will allow you gain the improvements associated with Strength training, and prepare the body for the next Phase - developing Muscle Endurance for Long duration activities.

We will have a closer look at this Phase of training next Tuesday.

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.
blog comments powered by Disqus