Success in muscular endurance exercises depends on:
- Mental focus
- Breath control
- Muscular contractions
Popular focus on muscular contractions is at most 1/3 of the process.
Repetition and isometric holds are two techniques in muscular endurance training. Each serves a different purpose.
In jogging, repetition of strides helps increase legs muscular endurance. In a martial arts horse stance training, isometric hold helps improve legs muscular endurance in a different way.
A jogger could benefit from the endurance training from horse stance training of martial arts and jogging is part of martial arts training.
Before you try the next exercise remember that you always need to discuss an exercise program with your physician. Isometric holds like the exercise you’ll see below may not be safe for those with cardiovascular illness since it could increase the blood pressure drastically.
In a class, I asked my clients to hold a sumo squat position just like the one you see above for as long as they could. My instructions regarding the time were vague on purpose.
I silently watched them struggle starting about 45 seconds into the hold and most gave up around one and half minutes.
I then asked them to take a break.
During the break, I clarified my instructions. I told them that we plan to hold the low sumo squat position for two minutes. I also mentioned to them that I will count backward every 10 seconds. This time my instructions about the expected duration, as well as my auditory cues, were clear.
The goal of three minutes, as well as counting down, are two simple techniques that help focusing the mind. The mind works better with specific instructions.
During the break, I also reminded them to focus on slow and long exhalation with the addition of hand motion similar to what you see in martial arts movies. Exhale and push the hands forward slowly, inhale and return the hands to your sides.
With clear instructions and auditory cues, everyone passed the one minute mark easily, and a few were ready to go beyond three minutes. They did not become stronger, they were able to focus better and breathe more efficiently.
Can you do this type of muscular endurance exercises?
How long can you hold a low sumo squat position? If you can hold it for longer than 3 minutes can you also hold an isometric exercise ball curl for that long?
Pay attention to your mental focus and your breath.
You would notice that with the loss of focus and distractions, holding muscle contractions is much more difficult.
You may also notice that you may not have a breathing pattern that matches your exercise, or you hold your breath as the pain of muscle contraction increases.
The metabolic pathway that your muscles rely on for fuel during endurance training relies on oxygen as fuel.
Without breathing techniques and breath control, you get tired not because your muscles give up but because you do not provide oxygen to them.
The last third of muscular endurance exercises that target muscle adaptation to endure continuous positive stress.
Your focus and breathing patterns must be in place first.