FITNESS

5 Exercises That Will Improve Your Stamina

  • 1) Cycling
    1 / 5 1) Cycling

    Why you slow down You’ve run out of gas and all the stored energy in your muscles has been used up.

    Speed up Get off the bike, start running and teach your muscles to store more energy so you can cycle farther and faster. Trainer Richard Kemp suggests these simple running intervals:

    1. Fours“Run to the half way line of a football pitch four times with the goal of finishing in less than 24 seconds,” says Kemp. Rest 40 seconds and repeat 8-12 times.  

    2. 17s Run sideline to sideline 17 times. Aim for one minute. Rest two minutes and repeat five times.
     
    3. Suicides Start at one end of the pitch, run to the edge of the penalty box nearest to you, then go back to the start. Next, run to the halfway line, and so on, until you’ve relayed the entire pitch. Rest for a minute. Do six suicides.
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  • 2) Running
    2 / 5 2) Running

    Why you stop You’re running low on glycogen, the primary fuel source for your muscles. But it’s not the only one. Any body fat you have is available to be used. Your brain knows this, but it’s not telling you.

    Keep going Your body is smart enough to tap into your fat reserves after your glycogen is depleted, says Remy Gan, running coach and Coach Recognition Award Winner 2007. “Do this through long-distance training to increase your muscles’ glycogen capacity. This is how your body is programmed to unleash it’s fat stores,” he says.

     

    Some practical preparation There are no shortcuts. Include long runs in your training, no matter how short your races are. This trains your body to use energy stores more efficiently. “Train progressively to allow you to go farther and last longer,” says Remy. “You can do this by gradually increasing the distance you run.
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  • 3) Crunching
    3 / 5 3) Crunching
    Why you might as well stop “I’d rather see a client do 20 good reps than 30 crappy ones,” says Kemp. Your abs, like any other muscle will grow in response to increased stress, not because of continual stress.
     
    Do them right These are the three keys to the proper crunch: Focus on lifting your shoulder blades off the floor, not pulling your head up with your hands. Pause at the top of the move and lower your body slowly. Keep your abs tight throughout the exercise.
     
    Do more “Your brain tries to shut down your workout because it thinks you might hurt yourself. Focus on the present,” says Jim Fannin, author of S.C.O.R.E For Life. “Stay engaged in the moment or you’ll stop before you’re finished.”
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  • 4) Swimming
    4 / 5 4) Swimming
    Why you sink The burning sensation in your muscles is partly a result of an accumulation of lactic acid. You reach a point called your lactate threshold – that’s when your body can’t flush it out fast enough and you need to slow down. Any kind of interval training can push your threshold higher, but there’s another trick.
     
    Swim further Focus on relaxing your muscles, says Dr Joel Kirsch, a sports psychologist and director of the American Sports Institute, “You’ll send less lactic acid into your muscles if you’re relaxed,” he says. “Removing the tension in your muscles lets you extend your limbs fully and lengthen your strokes,” says Dr Kirsch. “Ask yourself: ‘Are my legs moving freely, or am I pushing them?’ Practise tensing them, then releasing. You’ll get the hang of getting more from your limbs.”
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  • 5) Bench Pressing
    5 / 5 5) Bench Pressing

    Why you stop If you think six sets of 12 reps will suffice, then 12 is unlikely. Pick eight or 10, and nail it. Good form is vital – your body uses 32 muscles benching. As you tire, your form can falter.

     
    Bench your limit Before you bench try this: “Close your eyes,” says Fannin. “Think a negative thought – not finishing all the reps – now drop your chin to your sternum. Hold that thought, raise your head, then lower it. Repeat three times. The negatives will vanish by three and you’ll be ready.”
     
    Practise your form “Start with eight to 10 reps with an empty bar to reinforce your form,” says Paul Collins, editor of the website thebodycoach.com. “Then, pull your shoulder blades together and hold your elbows in. Squeeze your lats and push the bar as fast as you can without losing control. Then lower it under control.”
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