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Muscle Strength = Muscle Endurance?


Is muscle strength muscle endurance? For any sport that involves alot of muscle endurance, you would assume that you would hit the lghter weights for higher reps in the gym to achieve the desired results..but what if you consentrated soley on stength training (not so much as mass) and getting your body to your absoloute limit of strength?

Wouldn't having more strength lead to making you last longer before fatigue sets in a muscle endurance situation?


Yes. Basically.


Not necessarily. For example, with a 225 for reps contest, a 400lbs lifter will do better than a 275lbs lifter, but the 500lbs lifter may not do better than the 400lbs guy.


All training equal, yes the 500lbs lifter will do better. OP is talking about training for absolute strength.


They are different capabilities for the most part in my experience. I like rep-outs. Mostly because they make you look and feel like you just did some real work. Plus, you flush blood into... recovery...blah, blah, blah- ah fuck it- they just make you look extra jacked. But here's what happens in a month-long cluster of close-gripping 225 for reps after heavy benching. Week one, I can get 15-16. Week two, I can maybe crack 20.

At week three, I am over 20- maybe 21 or 22. After week three, I have "peaked" so to speak and week four looks about like week three. My heavy lifts- usually somewhere between singles and triples do not change significantly. Yeah, I may hit a PR. But it's just as likely I won't. I certainly do not experience a 30% increase like I did with reps- or a 10% increase for that matter- in limit strength. Moreover, when I drop the rep-outs for a few weeks, I pretty much start over on on the number of reps I can hit. However, my limit strength does not go down.


It's about 'capacity'. The more absolute strength you have the easier you'll find to rep out at XXX weight. But XXX weight has to be a decent weight or if it's too light a person with less absolute strength could easily train to out rep you.

If you train for endurance strength you'll out do the guy that trains for absolute strength with no/ minimal rep work. Sure theres cross over but it depends on the actual weights used.



I am referring to your 2nd question OP. Muscular strength is not muscular endurance obviously. But pushing you max lifts higher will push your ability to rep out higher weights. The best way to improve strength endurance would be to work on both aspects.


Training for strength will increase your endurance, but minimally. that's why there's ideas like GPP and conjugated training and "conditioning days." We need to work on endurance in ADDITION to our maximal strength.


training for strength will increase endurance once you transfer it over. Endurance is about much power you can put out for a extended period of time. Anaerobic bursts like sprinting is how much power you can put out in a short amount of time. So if you increase your squat by 100 pounds and get stronger in general assuming you go back to your endurance activites and get proficent at them and maintain the strength you gained. Your running times will go down.

Let's use another example. You use start the 20 rep squat program and your max squat is 250lbs and you get to using 190lbs for 20 reps you stop after that and decide to focus on increasing your max squat. You get your max squat too 400lbs using powerlifting methods sometimes going over ten reps but not usually. You go back 20 rep program and start with rep out 225lbs 20 times. Even though your doing less percentage of your max your strength has gone up enough that you still do more.
This is just to explain to OP


Yeah ok cool thanks for the replies.

Just another quick example..say if you had 2 identical long distance swimmers, both guys fatigue the exact same time near the end of their races, now if one of those swimmers decides to work on building up his absoloute strength through very low rep training..would he start out lasting the other swimmer?


ON one of Louies DVDs he lists the various aspects of strength

speed strength

and probably more.

if you want strength endurance train for it,

have watched OL training and find they have low eccentric strength, very visible when they squat (bounce out of bottom) their knees may last longer if they worked some eccentric occasionally.

another reason why negative reps became flavour of the month back in the 70's, as guys worked their eccentric specifically it got much stronger - did zip for positive which is why it forms so little of training today - but man was it hot for a while -

Remember one gym where the two best benchers both bbbers, one could bench around 450 the other almost 400. The guy with the lower bench had by far the better reps once you got over 12


The short answer on the swimmer question is, no, increasing maximal strength will not help. Long distance swimming is generally 10 km or more. At that distance, maximal strength is relatively unimportant.

This is akin to suggesting that if you have two successful marathoners, if one increases their 1rm on the squat they could run a marathon faster. There may be a situation where this is true, but it's unlikely.


Yes, he would likely win the race. Im assuming he hadn't been doing any "strength" training because thats what you seemed to be implying. He'll have a lot of room for strength gain, and as long as he maintains his conditioning, his endurance would likely improve. Another thing to thing about, is the difference between endurance, time to exhaustion, and winning a race.

The swimmer may actually lose endurance by working on his strength, as his time to exhaustion may decrease, BUT, he'll have more strength/power and be swimming at a faster pace, and thus wont need as much time to exhaustion. So more endurance doesn't = winning a race, even in endurance type events.

I think the whole endurance strength continuum is a bit debatable and pretty complex and this is why you are getting different answers. A distinction between absolute and relative strength is important, as is understanding the different energy systems. Having a greater absolute or relative strength will almost always make a submaximal load require less energy to be lifted, but if your aerbobic and glycolytic energy systems are developed enough, you'll still have lousy endurance.

Im sure michael phelps cant do as much weight on a pullup or deadlift as someone like Dave Tate, but I can guarantee you in a race michael phelps will outlast and beat dave tate 99/100 times.

Otherwise there would never be any need to do conditioning work. Every athlete would just train for 1rm strength, and then could go run marathons or do whatever, because we'd all have super-endurance.


I see what you are saying as well and agree. But if that marathoner hadn't done much strength training in the past and could only squat 95lbs for 5 reps. If they did some strength training and got their squat up to 300 for 5 reps, this definately couldn't hurt, especially if they kept up with their conditioning during this time.

So it might be safe to say, that if endurance is the priority, then training should be focused around endurance. And strength training SHOULD be part of the program, but not really be a priority. And due to diminishing returns, relatively little amounts of time would be needed to train for strength.

(What I mean by that, is that a 300lb squat should be more than enough strength for the average marathoner, and this wouldnt take much time to accomplish) After this point, gains in strength will drastically slow, and will have less and less benefit to the sporting event (Is a 500lb squat going to help much over a 300lb squat?)


OLers bounce out of the bottom as a technique aid, not because they lack eccentric strength. Also, due to the speed element of the sport, they tend to ride their squats down rather than try to do a 'negative'. I don't think it is possible to recover from a max clean like a 'negative'.

Have to absorb the weight on the catch before exploding, (As in the jerk), so how can they have poor eccentric strength?


Also the energy demand would be too great if they slowed down the eccentric. They could do it, but they'd have to use less weight. And, I may be wrong here, but if they do a faster eccentric movement, they are actually stronger in both eccentric strength and the stretch reflex than someone utilizing a slow negative. (The weight is moving faster toward the ground, therefore they must produce more force; and in less time)


You're right, increasing an athletes 1rm in a sport-related exercise should improve their sport performance. I answered no, because the OP specifically asked about low-rep training with maximal weights. I see no need for a serious endurance athlete to focus on maximal weight training, when training with lower percentages could have similar effects. Other than that, I think we're in complete agreement.


What you say is correct, but when they squat, not squat clean. they go down to above parrallel and just drop. I think if they had to stop at parrallel and recover the weights would be much, much less, maybe you can try it and let me know.

I also think this is the reason for the amount of knee problems, they have, and before someone tells me squats don't hurt the knees, I think the people who make cortisone shots would go out of business without OLers.

The comment on the jerk relates to "specificty of training". Developing good ecccentric strength (ie lower with control) for around 4-6" does not really relate to a parrallel or below, in the squat.

OLers do not need high levels of eccentric strength, and therefore do not waste time training for it.


Thanks for your reply.
How do you explain the ability of a person to catch a heavy power clean, and slow it down without riding it down to a full squat? Or how about doing a heavy drop snatch or overhead squat?
Check out these vids for examples of what I mean. Yes, they are me and I am no superstar, just the most accessible examples I can get.

Do you happen to do any eccentric strength training for squats? That has gotten beat the body up a bit! ahha Some of my friends would occasionally do over 100% front squat negative into the rack pins, then back squat it up. Sounded very hard!