Strength endurance is a critical element of our fitness capabilities. Developing strength endurance does not occur overnight but after several weeks or months of training. At the elite level of sports and tactical performance, supreme strength endurance is the result of years of training. We see examples of strength endurance when a baseball pitcher throws a fast ball at the same velocity in the 8th or 9th innings as he did in the 1st. The best boxers, MMA fighters, and other combat athletes demonstrate great strength endurance when their punches or kicks are just as hard in the later rounds as in the first.
In the tactical community, infantrymen are required to carry heavy loads over long periods of time, firefighters must be prepared to carry people, hoses, and heavy equipment repeatedly when fighting a fire for several hours at a time, and SWAT officers must possess the strength reserves to conduct a hostage rescue after stand-offs that often last hours.
For the lay person, imagine if you got separated from your young child in a busy store in the midst of a rush of holiday shoppers. You see your child briefly 20 feet away, fall to the ground amongst the chaos, you are surrounded by a throng of dozens of people intent on rushing to the store to get the best items on sale. Adrenaline will only take you so far to push people out of your way, get to your child, lift him or her, and then fight the masses as you make your exit. This scenario is quite common at music and sporting events too.
Here is a sample work out for improving strength endurance and remember to always warm up first:
1. Clean and Press from the floor a weight 50% of your maximum overhead for 30 seconds (Rest 45 sec)
2. Kettlebell Swings for 30 seconds (Rest 45 sec)
3. Back Squat a weight 50% of maximum for 30 seconds (Rest 45 sec)
4. Pull a weighted sled of your bodyweight 40 yards or Deadlift your bodyweight for 30 seconds (Rest 45 sec)
5. Farmer’s Carry of heavy (relative to you) sandbags, dumbbells, or kettlebells 50 yards. (Rest 2-3 minutes then repeat the whole circuit)
If you can do multiple circuits of without being too taxed, then reduce the rest period to 40 and then 30 seconds. The next progression would be to increase the weight. The workout is designed to improve your muscle and anaerobic recovery which will result in greater strength over a longer period of time. The order of the lifts can also be changed to add variety.
This workout can be done two-three times per week for a period of four to six weeks.