The Best Exercises to Build Endurance

this girl got ripped abs partially by adding exercises to build endurance

Athletes have become bigger and stronger and are in better shape nowadays, and the trend to build endurance through specific training has only accelerated this phenomenon. Athletes are getting leaner and more ‘ripped’ than ever, in nearly every sport.

It used to be that a baseball player, for example, would focus on exercises specifically designed to improve the specific skill set that they needed to succeed on the baseball field. The same sport-specific training was true for every sport. But as people began to see the broad-spectrum benefits that came with endurance training for events like the triathlon, it became evident that an individual with greater strength and endurance in any sport could benefit from a more well-rounded circuit of exercises.

It didn’t take long before regular people started to realize that they could benefit from endurance training, too, and it quickly became more and more popular. Today, its appeal is at an all-time high. Even weekend athletes, as a result of endurance training, are becoming almost indefatigable.

Here’s why.

The Top Endurance Exercises

Endurance training focuses on bringing one’s cardiovascular, pulmonary, and circulatory systems to their optimum level of function. As the heart becomes stronger and the lungs deliver more oxygen to the muscles, we tire less quickly. If we keep at it, our stamina is built up until we reach peak performance levels.

Want to bring your endurance levels up to speed? Here are some time-tested ways that anyone can try.


It’s easy, it’s convenient, and it sure is cheap! Buy a good pair of shoes and you’ve got what it takes to begin getting into shape. Whether it’s on a track at the local high school or a treadmill at the local gym, running is the most common place to start building your endurance.

It was believed that the best way to gain endurance from running is to go for time and distance rather than speed. Your heart rate should be elevated, but you want to keep a comfortable pace to encourage you to keep going. Here are a few reasons you might want to add some sort of regular endurance or interval running to your weekly routine.

  • Cardiovascular Improvement: Running strengthens the heart and increases the efficiency of the cardiovascular system. This leads to improved blood flow, lower resting heart rate, and better oxygen delivery to muscles during physical activity.
  • Increased Stamina: Regular running helps build stamina, allowing you to perform physical activities for longer periods without getting tired. It trains the body to utilize energy more efficiently and enhances muscular endurance.
  • Enhanced Lung Capacity: Running improves respiratory function by increasing lung capacity and the efficiency of the respiratory muscles. This allows for greater oxygen intake and better overall lung health.
  • Muscle Endurance: Running engages multiple muscle groups, particularly in the legs and core. Over time, this repetitive activity strengthens these muscles, enhancing their endurance and resistance to fatigue.
  • Mental Toughness: Running, especially long distances, requires significant mental resilience. It helps develop mental endurance, focus, and the ability to push through physical discomfort, which can translate into other areas of life and athletic performance.

Modern science has shown us something different. Nowadays it is believed that you can improve endurance and stamina with HIIT training, equal to or greater than you can achieve with endurance training. Several studies have confirmed those beliefs.


Swimming is another excellent way to build endurance and lose weight, and unlike running, which focuses primarily on the lower half of your body, swimming exercises all of your major muscle groups. Here are a few reasons why swimming is one of the top endurance exercises.

  • Full-Body Workout: Swimming engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously. It works your arms, legs, core, and back, providing a comprehensive workout that strengthens and tones muscles throughout your body.
  • Low Impact: The buoyancy of water reduces the impact on your joints, making swimming an excellent option for people of all ages and fitness levels, including those with injuries or arthritis.
  • Improved Breathing Efficiency: Swimming requires rhythmic breathing, which can enhance your overall breathing efficiency and increase your lung capacity. This rhythmic breathing also helps improve the oxygen supply to your muscles.
  • Increased Stamina: Regular swimming can significantly increase your stamina and endurance. As you swim, your body becomes more efficient at using oxygen, and your muscles become more resistant to fatigue.
  • Mental Health Benefits: Swimming can also improve mental health by reducing stress and promoting relaxation. The rhythmic nature of swimming can have a meditative effect, helping to clear your mind and reduce anxiety.
  • Variety of Strokes: The different swimming strokes (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly) provide variety and can target different muscle groups, preventing monotony and promoting balanced muscle development.

Enthusiasts have long claimed swimming to be the very best form of exercise for getting in shape, as well as the least likely to get you injured. By incorporating swimming into your fitness routine, you can build endurance, improve cardiovascular health, and enjoy the many physical and mental benefits it offers. Of course, not everyone has access to a pool, but if you do, take advantage of it!

Rope Skipping

While this may be seen as “old school,” one should not underestimate the value of jumping rope. Even today, boxers and mixed martial arts fighters swear by this time-tested (and fun!) practice. And unlike running, injuries to the knees and ankles from jumping rope are rare. Why? Because the balls of the feet, and not the heels, are absorbing most of the impact.

Here are a few reasons other than ‘fun’ that you might want to jump rope either between exercises in your regular workout routine, or to squirrel away some time for dedicated rope skipping between workouts.

  • Cardiovascular Health: Jumping rope is a high-intensity cardiovascular exercise that improves heart health. It increases heart rate, enhances circulation, and boosts overall cardiovascular endurance.
  • Full-Body Workout: This activity engages multiple muscle groups, including the legs, core, shoulders, and arms. The coordinated movements required to jump rope help build muscular endurance throughout the body.
  • Improved Coordination and Balance: Jumping rope requires precise timing and coordination. Regular practice enhances neuromuscular coordination, balance, and agility, all of which contribute to better overall endurance.
  • Increased Stamina: The rhythmic nature of jumping rope helps improve stamina by conditioning the muscles and cardiovascular system to sustain longer periods of activity without fatigue.
  • High-Calorie Burn: Jumping rope is an efficient way to burn calories, which can aid in weight management. Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for endurance, as excess weight can strain the cardiovascular system and reduce stamina.

Machines and Systems

Machines that simulate outdoor cycling, climbing stairs, and even skiing come into and go out of fashion all the time. Workouts such as TRX training are more recently on the scene and offer a more holistic approach.

TRX, or suspension training, involves elastic bands or suspension straps, that the user manipulates and, using gravitational resistance, enable the person to exercise a variety of muscle groups. This training is said to have a lower impact than many standard aerobic exercises and is said to cause fewer injuries.

  • Functional Strength and Endurance: TRX exercises are bodyweight movements that improve functional strength by engaging multiple muscle groups simultaneously. This enhances muscular endurance, making it easier to perform daily activities and athletic tasks for extended periods.
  • Core Stability and Strength: TRX training requires continuous core engagement to maintain balance and stability. This strengthens the core muscles, improving overall stability and endurance, which is essential for many sports and physical activities.
  • Low-Impact Cardiovascular Workout: TRX training can be adjusted to include cardiovascular elements such as jump squats, mountain climbers, and running in place. These low-impact exercises elevate the heart rate, enhancing cardiovascular endurance without putting excessive strain on the joints.
  • Improved Balance and Coordination: TRX exercises often require maintaining balance while performing complex movements. This improves neuromuscular coordination and balance, which are critical components of endurance, particularly in dynamic and unpredictable environments.
  • Scalable Intensity: TRX training allows for easy adjustment of exercise intensity by changing the body’s angle or the length of the straps. This scalability makes it possible to progressively challenge the muscles and cardiovascular system, leading to continuous improvements in endurance.

Final Thoughts

Improving endurance through a combination of running, jump rope, swimming, TRX training, and machine-based workouts offers a holistic approach to fitness. Running and jumping rope are excellent for cardiovascular health and stamina, while swimming provides a low-impact way to build endurance and engage multiple muscle groups. TRX training enhances core stability and functional strength, and using machines allows for precise targeting of specific muscle groups to further build endurance.

Incorporating these diverse exercises into your routine ensures a well-rounded fitness program with, at minimum, the added benefit of increased endurance. The varied intensity and movements help prevent plateaus, making it easier to build endurance and maintain motivation. Combining these methods creates a comprehensive approach to endurance training that addresses both aerobic and muscular endurance efficiently.

No matter your exercise preference, it’s time to get out there and get in shape!

Read more: 9 Routines for Jumping Rope with Power and Endurance for HIIT

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