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Strength Endurance: Definition and Examples

What is Strength Endurance?

Strength endurance is the ability of muscles to exert force repeatedly over an extended period. It’s essentially the middle between maximal strength, a muscle’s maximal force output, and endurance, the ability to sustain less intense activities over a long period. This type of strength is essential for activities where athletes must perform for more time, such as when cycling, climbing, and wrestling.

The Importance of Strength Endurance

Unless you coach athletes who focus almost entirely on strength or power (such as powerlifters), including some strength endurance training will have a positive impact on overall performance.

First, strength endurance has a profound positive impact on every activity where athletes need to produce force over extended periods. This includes sports like football, basketball, ice hockey, and volleyball.

Second, developing strength endurance would positively impact work capacity––the ability to do, recover from, and adapt positively to more training volume. This benefits all athletes as it reduces the risk of recovery issues. 

For example, helping bodybuilders develop strength endurance and work capacity would allow them to handle greater volumes (sets and reps) to trigger more growth.

Third, working on strength endurance can help reduce the injury risk. This is because technique tends to break down as muscle fatigue increases, putting trainees in compromised positions that lead to undue stress.

Improved strength endurance would allow athletes to perform various activities with proper form over extended periods because fatigue would take longer to set in.

Training Strategies for Strength Endurance

1. Do High Rep Training

The most straightforward way to build strength endurance is to do 15-20+ reps with moderately heavy weights on compound and isolation activities. This training approach forces the muscles to improve at sustained activity, which also positively impacts cardiovascular endurance.

2. Keep Rest Periods Short

Rest periods no longer than a minute place a much greater demand on the cardiovascular system and muscles. As an added benefit, the athlete’s muscles can recover more quickly between bouts of activity. 

3. Consider Circuits

While circuit training typically means targeting different muscles with each movement, the approach is still beneficial because it challenges the cardiovascular system and develops metabolic conditioning.

4. Do Strength Endurance Specific Activities

Sled pushes, farmer’s walks, tire flips, kettlebell swings, keg runs, and rope climbing are popular Strongman and general fitness activities that force athletes to exert force over extended periods, directly improving strength endurance. 

These and other activities would be particularly beneficial if they help athletes develop skills that carry over to their sport. For example, sled pushing is helpful for American football and rugby players, whereas heavy farmer’s walks help Strongmen.


1. Is strength endurance training suitable for beginners?

Strength endurance training is suitable for beginners, provided it aligns with their goals and an experienced coach monitors their performance and creates workout plans.

2. How to measure improvements in strength endurance?

Ways to measure an athlete’s strength endurance progress include monitoring the number of reps they can do with a given weight and how long they rest between sets while maintaining a certain level of performance.

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