'Stamina' and 'Endurance'; two words that can be similar, but so different in the world of fitness.
We often get asked what the difference between stamina and endurance is. While many use these two words interchangeably and are related, the two terms are different and mean different things. Stamina exercises and endurance exercises also accomplish different results.
If we look at the definitions of the two words, it gets very interesting. Stamina is the ability to sustain a prolonged activity, physical and mentally. It is a measure of the amount of time your muscles can perform a given task when it is at maximum capacity. Therefore, you can be strong, but have low stamina as your muscles cannot lift its maximum weight repeatedly. Of course, this translates to mental capacity as well.
Endurance on the other hand, borrows its definition from stamina, with an addition of the word "endure". Simply put, it refers to the ability of your muscles to perform a given task repeatedly, without getting tired. It is not concerned with capacity, time or duration, but rather how long you can go without getting tired. A scenario of endurance is when your coach asks you to perform as many push-ups as you can without time limits or setting the rate, until fatigue.
This means, the differences between the two definitions are time and rate. In stamina, we talk about doing a given task at maximum capacity in a set time. Whereas in endurance, it is regardless of the rate and time.
Stamina vs. Endurance: Which do you need more?
With those definitions sorted, you can finally start training right. As usual, identifying your goals are important. Are you looking to increase stamina, or endurance, or both? Your training will differ.
The main goal in increasing stamina is building your strength. Lifting heavy weights but with fewer repetitions before increasing repetitions and then stacking heavier weights is key. It is much like a staircase model; climbing one step, getting used to it, before building on.
For endurance, the main goal is to perform a certain task continuously until you get tired. A good example is lifting lighter weights, with the maximum number of repetitions, or triathlon activities.
While you can certainly specialize your training with separate exercises, the good news is that better performance equates to incorporating endurance- and stamina-building exercises. The best way to train both: doing a cardio activity with weights. This can include basic farmer walks, running with ankle weights or pulling the sled.
Now, what would you like to train?
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