Health & Fitness: Muscular Endurance and Strength

By Ashley Aragona on October 15, 2012 from Health & Fitness via Connect-Bridgeport.com

Think fast! What do you think when you see this picture?
 
A. Wouldn’t want to be around that guy in a fight…
 
B. That’s awesome – that’s true dedication
 
C. This is why I don’t go to the gym
 
D. I’m motivated to be better and train more
 
And the correct answer is!? There is no correct answer because the answer is subjective.
 
Why did I ask then? To get a point across and to get your mind prepared for what I’m going to hit you with today.
 
Today we’re going to talk about muscular endurance and strength- two of the most important facets of health and fitness.
 
I’ve got a small gripe with our cultures idea of “strength.” Allow me to hop on my soapbox for a second, I promise there is a point. There has been this “boogie man” created in our industry that doesn’t really exist and I feel that as a fitness professional, it’s my goal to educate others about all things fitness, including the negative stereotypes we get. So, who is this boogie man/woman that angers me so?
 
The scary bodybuilder/weightlifter. To many, this is what they think of when someone says  “weight lifting, workout, strength training, or fit” and those same words, which are good words, gain a negative connotation because of the idea that has been pushed onto them. The most common objection I get to working out is “I don’t want to work out around those people” What people!? Agh!!  Can you hear my frustration? Let me make myself clear though, I’m frustrated because strength training, and working out is so important to your life and the fact that there are inaccurate ideas of what it is, and who does it, that scare people away, makes me well, sad. Your health, your body and your life, is too important to mess with and your brain is far too important to be filled with stupid ideas of what something is. So soapbox away, let me hit you with my idea of strength.
 
Bam. Jack Lalanne- the Godfather of Fitness, shown here pulling 70 boats on his 70thbirthday. THAT’S strength, that’s muscular endurance and that’s certainly nothing to be scared of. Both of these men show what true dedication to their bodies is. Do we all have to be that way? No, I’m certainly not. You’ll never see me in an Olympic lifting competition and you’ll never see me pulling 70 boats, but you will see me in the gym lifting weights because I know the importance of muscular strength and endurance.
 
Muscular Strength:The National Strength and Conditioning Association describes muscular strength as the ability of a muscle or muscle group to exert maximal force. It is expressed as your one repetition maximum. (1RM for short)
 
Muscular strength is obviously important if you are in competitive sports and activities, but here’s something you may not realize, it’s important for everyday life. Carrying groceries, picking up your kids, cleaning the house, heck, even decorating for the holidays. All of these activities include using your muscles and by training your muscles you can perform these activities better, and without as much “ah my back” as without training them.
 
Muscular Endurance- Defined by the National Strength and Conditioning Association as the ability of your muscles to repeat submaximal contractions without fatigue, muscular endurance is assessed by performing high repetition testing.
 
 
Muscular Endurance comes into play when you have to walk up flights up stairs to work, carry your groceries to the END of the parking lot, or carry your kids (or in my case, dogs) around the park or yard.
 
Think of it this way
Muscular Strength: How much can you do?
Muscular Endurance: How long can you do it?
 
See why these two are so important? Put them together and wow, you’ve really got something. Just imagine how great Jack’s strength and endurance was to swim with those 70 boats!
 
Now that we know WHY they are so important let’s look at how we can assess where we are, and start improving our own.
 
As I said, muscular strength is the greatest amount of weight you can perform in a single lift. Most common forms of testing your 1RM include strength tests: the bench press, the squat, or the dead lift being the most used.
 
To find our muscular endurance, we use a different set of tests- tests that obviously track your ability to keep at something. You can actually find tables online that have the norm for these tests, which include sit-ups, and pushups.
 
Still a little confused about how to figure out where you stand? Here’s where the gym comes into play. Trainers and fitness professionals do this daily for people. It should be the first thing a trainer does at your assessment. You have to know where you are in order to know where you need to go, so if you have questions about this process, hit up your local gym and find a trainer. You owe it to yourself and your body and remember, trainers are there for a reason. Use them.
 
In addition, many fitness regimes that are now found on videos, including P90X and Insanity include “fit tests” at the beginning, so if you can’t get to the gym, or get a trainer there are other ways to get started and while I would recommend a trainer and a gym, above all I recommend to just get started and DO.
 
So, if you still aren’t 100% motivated to get moving your muscles moving, let me hit you with some final facts in a last attempt to get you as fired up about muscles as I am!
  • Weight training can *reverse* the natural decline in your metabolism which begins around age 30.?
  • Weight training strengthens your bones reducing your risk of developing osteoporosis.?
  • Weight training makes you less prone to low-back injuries.?
  • Weight training increases your blood level of HDL cholesterol (the good type). ?
  • Weight training improves the functioning of your immune system.?
  • Weight training improves your balance and coordination.?
And finally if those didn’t work, here’s my big fireworks ending:
 
May she be an example to us all!!!
 
Next time we will discuss Fat, the good (yes there is good,) the bad and all the ugly!
 
Yours in Health and Fitness,
Ashley


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