How to Improve Your Stamina in the Gym

Defined as the ability to sustain prolonged physical or mental effort, increasing our stamina is something we’re all probably looking to do both inside and outside of the gym. Whether it’s lifting heavier weights, running faster for the bus or simply being able to concentrate on an activity for longer periods of time, improving our stamina is something we could all do with getting better at. In a fitness context, the more stamina you have the longer you can train for without crashing and burning, but to do this you’ve got to push yourself. In other words, change something up, challenge yourself and go beyond, whether it’s frequency, volume, speed, intensity or weight. Here are six things to try for starters.

Add more movement

An easy way of increasing your stamina is by simply by pushing yourself to move your body for longer. If you’re just starting out on your fitness journey and favour walking, push yourself to go from a more leisurely 30-minute hike to a faster 60-minute one instead. Not only will you be building endurance, you’ll also be reaping the toning rewards too.

Mix it up with a run

If you’re usually a walker but are looking to push yourself further, try adding short running intervals to your daily walks in the form of a 30-second sprint every few minutes. A form of intermittent training which helps improve overall fitness, it also increases your cardiovascular efficiency and tolerance to lactic acid which can cause cramps and hamper your performance.

Practice isometric exercises

Isometric exercises are those which place demand on muscles without lengthening or shortening them. While they shouldn’t form the bulk of your workout if you want to see serious results, they are useful for teaching your muscles to work hard under stress for longer periods of time and so are helpful in building stamina. To add some isometric exercises into your routine, look to include things like wall sits, planks and glute bridges.

Eat plenty of carbs

A sure-fire way to ensure you’ve got enough stamina to get you through any session, it’s important not to skimp on the carbs before a workout. Carbohydrates load your muscles with glycogen, without which you’ll have no fuel to get through. Oats, sweet potatoes and bananas are all good sources.

Ensure adequate sleep

It might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to building stamina, but lack of regular quality sleep can have a hugely detrimental effect on your performance and ability to endure in a training session. Not only does it literally deprive you of energy and therefore reduces your performance levels, research also shows it harms your perception of exertion too, meaning you’ll be more likely to assume fatigue and feel more drained during your workouts.

Try plyometrics

Short, explosive movements that require a short, sharp burst of energy, plyometric exercises help build muscle power, strength and balance by helping your muscles to maximise their power. Done repeatedly and regularly (a few times a week as part of your regular workout routine) and your muscles should get stronger. Skipping, jumping rope, lunges and jump squats, are all good examples of plyometric exercises to try.