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The Ultimate Guide to Measuring Muscular Endurance

man testing his muscle endurance
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Your muscle endurance levels are an important marker of your overall fitness, especially if you are training for sports or exercise.

Depending on the sport or activity you choose, you’ll likely need different types of endurance to excel, so it’s important to know what each one looks like and how to measure them. Here’s a guide to some of the most common types of muscular endurance measures and what they tell you about your body.

What is muscular endurance

The ability of a muscle or a group of muscles to perform repeated contractions against resistance for an extended period of time. It is often described as how long you can do an activity before fatigue sets in.

Think: how many push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups or sprints you can do in a row before dropping off. Those activities fall under muscular endurance, and a variety of tools can be used for testing muscular endurance.

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Why Measure Muscle Endurance?

Muscle endurance is crucial for everyday life. Any activity that requires repetitive motion–from working at a computer to simple movements like brushing your teeth–require a good amount of muscular endurance in order to succeed.

Without proper muscle endurance, we may not be able to do your job effectively, or carry out day-to-day tasks without pain and discomfort. As such, it’s important for us all to measure our muscular endurance on a regular basis. This can be accomplished through many fitness tests that focus specifically on muscular endurance; here are some of them

Another great read: Foods that are Ideal for Building Lean Muscle

Which Tests to Use

There are dozens of fitness tests you can do, but you don’t need every one of them. Here are three tests that will give you a broad look at muscular endurance:

Push-ups: You can use push-ups for measuring your upper body and lower body endurance—and it’s easy to compare yourself with others by using benchmark numbers. Men should aim for at least 65 push-ups in two minutes, while women should shoot for a minimum of 20.

Burpees: This exercise is brutal because it combines so many elements: strength, power, speed and agility. Men should be able to complete 100 burpees in two minutes; women should be able to finish 60.

Sit-ups: This is a classic test for abdominal endurance. Women should be able to do 50 sit-ups in two minutes; men should complete 75 or more.

These are the three main muscle endurance tests. However, there are many others, so here is a full list!

Sit Up Test

The sit-up test is a simple, short activity that measures muscular endurance. The key here is to measure just how many sit-ups you can do within a certain amount of time.

You’ll start off with ten minutes and challenge yourself by trying to beat your own record until you’re forced to take a break. This test will give you an estimate of your overall muscular endurance, which comes in handy when it comes time for high-intensity workouts or competitions.

As a note, even though other abdominal tests have been used historically as fitness tests, they lack scientific backing, so we recommend sticking with sit ups instead.

Pull Up Test

The pull up test is designed specifically for measuring muscular endurance in a single muscle group. It measures how many repetitions of a pull up you can complete, with as little rest as possible between each repetition.

However, there are also some similar movements you can do that mimic what a pull up requires of your muscles; these are called assisted or assisted-modified pull ups. If you don’t have access to a pull up bar (or are unable to perform them without assistance), try doing either of these two exercises:

1) Assisted One Arm Pull Up

Stand facing away from an assisted machine and grip onto one end using both hands. Lean back, pulling yourself up as far as you can. If you need assistance, your partner can give you a boost by pushing on your hips or holding your legs at a 90-degree angle, keeping them parallel to each other. Once you’ve reached 90 degrees of flexion in your arms, lower yourself slowly down until there is no slack in your body (don’t swing!), before repeating for as many repetitions as you can.

2) Assisted Modified Strict Chin Up

Stand facing away from the assisted machine and grip onto the bar using both hands; keep both feet firmly planted. Lean back, pulling yourself up as far as you can before lowering yourself slowly down (don’t swing!) until there is no slack in your body. Repeat for as may as you can.

Another great read: 4 steps to building lean muscle

Push Up Test

One push up is all it takes to find out how in shape you are. If you can do more than 15, you’re doing great. For most people, being able to do one push up is a big accomplishment.

To pass on your first try, try these three tips: make sure your back stays flat and don’t let your hips sag; contract your abs (don’t be afraid to exaggerate); and keep your chin off of your chest. Next, count how many push ups you can complete in two minutes or less – that’s how many reps per minute you can perform without stopping for breaks.

Squat Jumps Test

This is a simple test that measures muscular endurance by measuring how many jump squats an individual can do.

Perform 50 regular squat jumps by standing with feet shoulder width apart, hands on hips, legs straight and squat down until thighs are parallel to floor. Stand up again. Then, immediately after, do 10 squat jumps using one leg (the same procedure for 50 reps). The number of squats performed in 50 seconds is measured as a fitness test measure for muscular endurance.

If a person can do more than 60 regular squat jumps or 20 leg-only jump squats they possess good muscular endurance. For comparison purposes men would need to be able to complete at least 80 regular or 40 leg-only jump squats in order to qualify as having excellent muscular endurance and women would need at least 70 or 30 respectively.

Agility Run Test

This is a simple, field-based test of muscular endurance and mobility. The standard distance is 40 yards, but you can alter it as necessary. Starting at one end of a straight line, time yourself for 10 seconds to run halfway across. Turn around and return in 10 seconds; that’s one rep. Time yourself for 20 seconds and perform two reps. Keep increasing your time by 20-second increments until you fail to complete all five reps in that timeframe.

One Mile Run Test

The One Mile Run Test is a test of muscular endurance and aerobic capacity.

In order to get a baseline, record your time with running 1 mile (1.6 km) as fast as you can without stopping at all. Afterwards, use a stopwatch to record how long it takes you to run a mile (1.6 km).

Try running it again after one month of working out and see if you’ve improved your time!

Make sure that when doing exercises for muscular endurance, don’t exhaust yourself; walk around after 15 minutes so that you do not hurt yourself during any of the exercises.

Summary

If you’re in good physical shape and have a decent amount of muscle, you might think your endurance levels are great. But that’s probably not true. In fact, many people fall into dangerous habits of prolonged exercise and lack any actual measurement system for tracking their progress. In this article, we’ve covered what muscular endurance is, how it can be measured, and how to test yourself with simple fitness tests at home or in your local gym—without breaking out any equipment or weights.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this post, tell us which test you’re going to try below in the comments!

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