Improving Muscular Endurance


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Different branches of the U.S. Military use different tests for determining overall fitness for each Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine. The most common tests for the Military are the (1) Bent-Knee Sit-up Test (2) The Pushup Test (3) Timed-Run for Distance. Previous FitBit Articles provided specific Program Design using High Intensity Interval Training Programs to increase Cardiovascular Fitness & Aerobic Fitness to improve test scores for any Endurance Test. Everyone, regardless of age, gender or profession needs sufficient Aerobic Fitness to complete a 1 Mile Run (1.6 km) in 8 minutes or less as a Preventative Medicine measure to avoid the development of Heart Disease. Review previous FitBits that reported on “Circulation,” the Journal of Cardiology that determined your time in the One-Mile-Walk-Jog-Run-Test is the best predictor of developing Heart Disease and dying of a Cardiac Event. In order to improve Muscular Endurance or Anaerobic Endurance, you will need to focus your Program Design on the Type IIA Muscle Fiber contained within the targeted muscle, i.e.: Pectoralis Major & Triceps Brachii for Push-Up Test; the Rectus Abdominus and Internal and External Obliques for Sit-Ups/Crunch Tests; the Latissimus Dorsi and Bicep Brachii for the Chin-Up Tests; Lattissimus Dorsi and Brachials for Pull-Ups Tests; etc. IFPA Protocols require all our IFPA Certified Fitness Professionals to develop the body in Balance. When you are training for a Muscular Endurance Event, you will need to work Agonist-Antagonist muscle groups as a “Super Set,” meaning the exercises should be paired as follows:

Push-Ups with Pull-Ups Dips with Chin-Ups Crunches or Sit-ups with Back Extensions

To Increase Muscular Endurance, you must increase overload. One method for increasing overload is to increase the “time (or volume).” Review the SAID, FITT and GPO Principles described in the IFPA Personal Training Manual: The Book on Personal Training, to increase the “Time” spent in contraction defined as increasing total “Volume”: You increase sets & reps. An example program design for this method is:

Week Sets  Frequency  Reps  Form
(1) 1 Set of each Agonist/Antagonist  3days/week 15/15 With Good
(2) 2 Set of each Agonist/Antagonist 3days/week 20/20 Form or as
(3) 3 Set of each Agonist/Antagonist 3days/week 25/25 many as
(4) 4 Set of each Agonist/Antagonist 3days/week 30/30 possible if
(5) 4 Set of each Agonist/Antagonist 3days/week 35/35 you cannot
(6) 4 Set of each Agonist/Antagonist 3days/week 40/40 complete the
(7) 4 Set of each Agonist/Antagonist 3days/week 45/45 full set.
(8) 4 Set of each Agonist/Antagonist 3days/week 50/50
(9) 4 Set of each Agonist/Antagonist 3days/week 55/55
(10) 4 Set of each Agonist/Antagonist 3days/week 60/60
(11) 4 Set of each Agonist/Antagonist 3days/week 65/65
(12) 4 Set of each Agonist/Antagonist 3days/week 70/70

For those who wish to incorporate this into their strength training/weight lifting program, 2 sets can be performed as a warm-up and 2 sets can be performed at the end of your strength training work-out by the 4th week of this program. After 12 weeks, you will need 2 weeks of “Active Rest” according to the Principles you learned in the IFPA Personal Trainer Manual. Breathing: Standard: Exhale on the Concentric Contraction & Inhale on the Eccentric Contraction. Timing: Weeks 1-2: 2 seconds of the Concentric Contraction & 4 seconds on the Eccentric Contraction. Weeks 2-3: In order to train for a Test, your timing will need to be fast. Most athletes find that they can complete maximum Reps at movement speeds between 90-95% of maximum speed. You should experiment to determine your individualized “ideal movement speed.” If you move too slow, you will find lactic acid accumulation builds preventing you from maximum reps. If you move too fast, you will find ATP depletion prevents you from maximum reps. Another method for increasing overload is to decrease Rest Intervals between sets. Best regards, Dr. Jim Bell, CEO IFPA

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