Ways to Improve Stamina
Stamina is often mistaken for strength by those less experienced in physical training. While both terms reference one’s physical capacity, they point toward two different, albeit interrelated, aspects.
Strength is your capacity to exert force, which can be due to your body being able to lift or push heavier objects. However, your strength can vary from time to time due to other factors, one of which is stamina.
Stamina is what allows your body to exert effort for extended periods of time. Therefore, a person with greater stamina, despite having the same amount of strength, can exert the same amount of maximum force for a longer period of time than others.
Here are a couple of exercises that would be good for your kit.
Running will be the foundation of most cardiovascular training, especially when you’re starting out, but a good set of exercises that you can use to mix up your routine can do wonders.
Skipping Rope. Just grab your typical jump rope and do skips at the same intervals as running. Try to focus on perfecting your skips and then go for speed while maintaining accuracy. Not only will this improve your stamina, it will improve your body’s coordination as well.
Note: This is great indoors as well.
Cycling. Not the running type? Ride a bike instead! Just make sure you keep the cycling intense, as you don’t want to end up leisurely riding your bike down the road.
Note: Make sure you get the right kind of safety gear, and only cycle through the right places, especially if you’re going through high speeds. As an alternative, you can also get a stationary bike and perform the exercise indoors.
Hitting the Treadmill. While it’s recommended that you do your runs outdoors, you can also achieve the same workout if you prefer doing it indoors on a treadmill. This is great for those who think that working out indoors is more practical for them, or when they prefer to use the cardio workout alongside strength training at the gym.
Hybrid Exercises These are basically combinations of two separate exercises. If you know how to do the separate exercises, combining them will be relatively easy. Just make sure you continue to perform each phase with the proper form and pace.
Jumping Pull-ups. Start by standing just below the pull-up bar. Then jump up, grab the bar, and then pull your chin over it. Make sure to keep everything tight so the exercise optimally impacts your body.
From there, count to three and then bring yourself back down. As you progress, you can count up to six before going back to the starting position. Not only will this exercise improve your stamina, it will also help you do proper pull-ups without jumping up in the future.
Power Roll Ups. Lie on your back with your knees up, feet levelled and as close to the buttocks as possible. You would be lying down as if you’re about to do a sit up. Stretch your arms above your head. That would be the starting position.
Then start to push your upper body toward your knee, and then try to stand up by pushing with your heels. Go back to the original position and then repeat. Aside from building endurance, this is also good for your spine.
Lunge with Bicep Curls. You will need a pair of dumbbells for this one. Pick a pair with weights you’re comfortable with. Start in a standing position, with both dumbbells hanging freely at your sides. Enter into a lunge while doing curls with both hands. Do this slowly, feeling the muscles contract. Go back to the starting position and then lunge with the other leg. This will also work on your biceps.
Explosive Movements These exercises are intended to be intense on the muscles. They will help improve your stamina by allowing you to perform acts that require bursts of energy multiple times within short periods of time.
Box jumps. This one’s really popular with endurance trainers. Stand at a comfortable distance from a sturdy box (i.e. one that can take your weight when you jump on it), with your feet shoulder-width apart. In a swift, smooth motion, drop into a quarter squat, swinging your arms to get momentum, and then jump onto the box.
When landing, make sure you maintain a stable position. Don’t allow your knees to collapse inward, and keep your feet flat on the box surface. A good measure would be to try to get into a squat position on the box. Jump back down and then do 10–15 reps.
Jumping Knee Tucks. This is also an athletic training favorite, as it easily makes the heart rate go up. From an athletic standing position, quickly do a quarter squat before propelling yourself with an upward jump. As you jump, pull your knees up, as if trying to get into a squat position midair, before landing back on your feet. These are very intense, and doing 10–15 reps alone will give you a good workout.
Power Pushups. There are many degrees of intensity to this, but the first next step up from the regular pushup is to perform them in quick succession, with your body being pushed into the air such that your hands are not on the ground anymore. Land your hands back on the floor to perform the pushup again.
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Note: Make sure you know how to do the proper pushups first, as this can be dangerous to the inexperienced. The exercise is especially explosive especially in their more intense versions.
The exercises mentioned above are only some of the countless exercises you can try in order to intensify and diversify your endurance training. The good thing about the ones mentioned above is that they don’t use weights and are relatively easy to do, making them practical for beginners.