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Five Components of Fitness: Muscular Endurance

written by: Summer Banks • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 10/7/2010

Physical fitness is about overall body fitness from a total perspective. All 5 components of physical fitness need to be strong in order for the body to perform optimally.

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    Physical fitness is made up of five distinct angles. These angles are cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition. When creating a physical fitness plan that provides the body will well rounded support, all angles need to be observed.

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    What is Muscular Endurance?

    Muscular endurance is the muscles ability to withstand consistent exertion over a period of time. In middle school fitness tests, muscular endurance is often judged with a sit-up test. During a one minute time span, the number of sit-ups a student can perform effectively is counted and measured against other students of the same age. This is part of the Presidential Fitness Test.

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    Increasing Muscular Endurance

    The longer a muscle can perform an action before exhausting, the more fit that muscle has become. Interval training is one of the most effective ways to increase the endurance of a muscle, this is especially true of the heart muscle and helps to increase Cardiorespiratory Endurance. Building muscular endurance does not require any special equipment, just time. Any physical activity or exercise performed over an extended period of time with the aim of increasing that time, will increase muscle endurance. Some of the more common muscular endurance building exercises include bicep curls, sit-ups, push-ups, seated crunches, wall squats and heel lifts.

    When performing these physical exercises, the key is to increase the number of repetitions performed in one set. For example, if you are able to perform 10 push-ups before running out of muscle strength, the aim is to build to 11, then 12 and so on. The more repetitions you are able to perform, the more muscular endurance you have achieved.

    Muscular endurance can also be improved with weight training or weight lifting exercises, a form of resistance training. Endurance refers to the ability to work longer as opposed to harder, so weight training with endurance in mind would assume a lighter amount of weight with more repetitions, again trying to build the number of repetitions.

    Increasing muscular endurance provides benefits to the body beyond the physical strengthening of the skeletal muscles. The muscle endurance building exercises will also help to build muscle mass, increase calorie burning, help to prevent back aches and pains and tone the skeletal muscles.

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    Keeping the Muscles Pain-Free

    Any exercises involving the muscle can cause small tears in the muscle fibers. These tears can fill with lactic acid after the exercises are complete and this acid can cause pain in the muscle. In order to reduce the pain felt after working out the muscle, warming up the muscle before exercise and stretching and cooling down the muscle after exercise is key. Stretching and cooling down the muscle helps to push the lactic acid out of the muscle and thus reduces the pain felt after the workout.

Five Components of Fitness

The five components of fitness are cardiorespiratory endurance, muscle endurance, muscle strength, flexibility and body composition.
  1. Five Components of Fitness: Cardiorespiratory Endurance
  2. Five Components of Fitness: Muscular Strength
  3. Five Components of Fitness: Muscular Endurance
  4. Five Components of Fitness: Flexibility
  5. Five Components of Fitness: Body Composition