Strength endurance - How it supports you in everyday life

Strength endurance is one of the basic types of strength that make up your power output, along with maximum strength and speed strength. Endurance strength can be particularly helpful in everyday life, as a support in endurance sports or as a prophylaxis against injuries. Here you will learn everything you need to know about strength endurance and how best to train it.

What is strength endurance? 

In the context of sports science, strength endurance can be defined as fatigue resistance to prolonged or repetitive strain from muscle work. What does this mean? Put simply, the longer your muscles need to work against resistance, the better your strength endurance will be. As you can see, this can be especially important for sports where you work against resistance (cycling or rowing) or when carrying heavy objects in everyday life (shopping bags, moving). Strength endurance can also help you to protect yourself from injuries, as well-trained strength endurance can make your muscles less tired and give you enough stability over a long period of time. 

Especially when rowing you benefit from a good strength endurance

How do I train my strength endurance? 

Strength endurance training normally takes place in an intensity range of 40% - 60% of the 1RM and 20 - 25 repetitions are performed. As a rule of thumb one usually speaks from a resistance of 30-40% of the 1RM at all of strength endurance, everything under it is generally counted to the endurance range. On the other side of the spectrum everything that exceeds 70% of the 1RM falls into the range of maximum strength training or hypertrophy training. As you can see, strength endurance training is not about moving as much weight as possible, but about being able to maintain strength as often and as long as possible. The pauses between sets are also usually shorter than in hypertrophy training and are usually 30 - 90 seconds. The number of training sets completed in strength endurance training depends primarily on how much experience you already have in strength training. In general, 1-3 sets are sufficient for beginners. However, advanced athletes can complete up to 5 or more sets. How often you train your strength endurance within a week depends mainly on your training level and the additional stress of your everyday life or other sporting activities. When planning your strength endurance training, you should therefore always take sufficient recovery phases into account.

Exercises for strength endurance training 

In strength endurance training, there are no special requirements regarding the exercises performed, because in principle almost every exercise is suitable to train the strength endurance for a certain muscle or muscle group. However, you should mainly concentrate on compound exercises, which target the large muscle groups of your body. The legs, back and trunk muscles are particularly well suited for this because they are responsible for the stability of your body and therefore particularly benefit from increased strength endurance. However, if you want to do endurance training to improve your performance in a particular sport, you can also focus on individual muscles or muscle groups with increasing experience. Strength endurance training with bench presses, for example, can be particularly helpful in martial arts. Exercises with your own body weight are also well suited for strength endurance training. Here you can fatigue your muscles with very natural movement sequences and promote the holding muscles of your body more strongly. No matter which exercise you choose, you should of course always be able to get into the right repetition area. So maybe you have to wait a little longer with the one-legged squats.  

Below is a simple example of how to design a strength endurance workout. 

Training example: Strength endurance 
Shoulder press
     3 x 20-25 repetitions
Bicep curls             3 x 20-25 repetitions 
Dips                        3 x 20-25 repetitions 
Deadlifts                 3 x 20-25 repetitions
Breaks                    90 seconds 

What happens during strength endurance training? 

In your muscles, energy is provided for movement with the help of mitochondria. The mitochondria are considered the power stations of our cells. Mitochondria are able to convert the glycogen stored in the muscles into adenosine triphosphate (ATP). In order to contract, muscles need ATP to make our movements possible. Through proper strength endurance training, your body will produce more mitochondria and increase the surface area of muscle cells. This way more glycogen can be stored in the muscles, which in return can be used by the more powerful mitochondria for energy production. 

Another effect of strength endurance training is improved capitalization. Capillaries are the blood vessels in the muscle and supply it with oxygen and nutrients. These multiply through strength endurance training and are able to better circulate blood to the muscle. 

If you already have experience with strength endurance training, you probably also know the strong burning that it causes in your muscles. This burning is caused by lactate. Lactate is the waste product of the glycogen energy production process. It is formed especially when the oxygen taken in through breathing is not sufficient to meet the energy demand. If too much lactate accumulates in your muscles at once and cannot be broken down quickly enough, your muscles will tire prematurely. 


A good strength endurance ability not only supports you in many everyday activities such as carrying heavy shopping bags, but can also improve your performance in other sports that have a high strength and endurance share. It can even reduce your risk of injury during high training loads, as it prevents premature fatigue of your muscles. It is especially recommended to do regular or at least phased strength endurance training as a support for other sports and is an excellent change for your strength training if you want to set new stimuli.


Marc Neuhoff (CEO)

Marc graduated from the DSHS Cologne and the KIT with a master's degree in sports science. His personal trainer background and more than 14 years of training experience contribute to his expertise.