Difference Between Muscular Strength and Muscular Endurance

Muscular Strength vs Muscular Endurance

We all know the meanings of the words strength and endurance, and use them frequently in our daily lives. But when it comes to bodybuilding or building muscles, not knowing the difference between muscle strength and muscle endurance can lead to adoption of a wrong or inappropriate exercise regime that may not take you close to your fitness goals. The fact that both muscular strength and muscular endurance play a vital role in deciding on the right workout program makes it necessary to find out the differences between the two. This article highlights these differences to enable readers interested in building muscles to start on a correct exercise program.

While muscular strength is the ability of a muscle to exert maximum force against resistance, muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle to exert less than maximum force repeatedly, over a period of time. Thus, endurance is different from strength; it requires the ability to perform a muscular action for a prolonged time period. The concept of marathon is perfect to demonstrate muscular endurance. In a marathon, it is not the strength but endurance of muscles that is required, which is why not many body builders who have such developed muscles can take part and complete marathons, whereas many skinny people find it easy to complete marathons, though they do not seem like having such endurance. Again, if I ask you to pump out 100 squats without adding weights, I am judging your muscular endurance and not muscular strength, which would have been the case, if I went on adding weight with these pump outs. Strength is judged more by the maximum weight that you can use, while making a repetition of bench press.

There are two types of muscle fibers known as type 1 or slow twitch, and type 2 or fast twitch fibers. It is type 1 or slow twitch fibers that are required for muscular endurance. Activities like treadmill and cycling require these fibers in your body. Fast twitch muscle fibers are again divided into Type A and Type B, out of which Type A are again those required in endurance activities, while Type B are those that provide sudden explosive burst of energy required to perform a task of strength. Though it is largely dependent upon our genetic makeup, when it comes to possessing these types of fibers, their proportions can be altered with the help of specially designed exercises to gain either strength or endurance. If your genetic makeup is such that you have predominantly endurance enhancing muscle fibers or slow twitch fibers, you are better suited for sporting activities that demand muscle endurance. On the other hand, if the proportion of fast twitch muscle fibers is much higher in a person’s body, he is ideal for muscle strength sports such as weight lifting or short bursts of intense aerobic exercises.

What is the difference between Muscular Strength and Muscular Endurance?

· Muscle strength and muscle endurance are two different properties of our muscles, and both are vital in various sporting activities.

· If the goal is developing muscular strength, exercises should be devised to achieve this end.

· Our genetic make up decides the proportion of muscle fibers responsible for strength as well as endurance.

· Marathon and cycling require muscular endurance, while weight lifting and boxing etc require muscular strength.