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Five Gym Activities For Increasing Your Stamina

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Stamina is one quality that everyone wants more of. Increased stamina means that you can train for longer, without feeling as tired. It means you can sail past the competition in your sport of choice. In a more day-to-day example, stamina means being able to run for the bus without collapsing halfway.

So, here are five short and sweet gym activities for taking your stamina to the next level.

Do some elliptical HIIT

HIIT is tough, but it works. A 2017 study found that a training protocol including HIIT improved performance in recreational endurance runners, by improving maximal oxygen uptake, as well as causing various metabolic and muscular adaptations.

Do your HIIT sessions on an elliptical trainer to safely exhaust as many of your muscles as possible as quickly as possible.

Superset your resistance exercises

Your weight training sessions don’t have to only train your biceps or pecs; they can also be a great workout for your lungs and heart.

To turn your resistance training sessions into stamina-boosting workouts par excellence, superset as many exercises as possible. Supersetting involves going straight from an exercise for one muscle group, to an exercise for another muscle group, without taking a rest break in between.

Rest assured, supersets will condition you for stamina like little else.

Perform kettlebell swings for high reps

Kettlebell swings are an exercise from the Russian strongmen of yesteryear, which focus on training all of the muscles of the posterior chain -- glutes, hamstrings, lower back, etc. — as well as the muscles of the core.

The muscles of the posterior chain come into play in a major way in just about every human movement and athletic activity. Conditioning these muscles is, therefore, one of the best ways of boosting your stamina.

Perform your kettlebell swings for high reps, to turn them into an extremely intense cardio workout, too. Focus on beating your previous rep-count whenever possible.

Do steady-state cardio using a breath training device

What would you say if someone told you that you could improve your lung function and stave off fatigue while lying in bed?

It may sound far-fetched, but that is, for all intents and purposes, what one 2016 study found.

The study in question looked at people who had been on a mechanical ventilator, and whose “breathing muscles” had weakened as a result, causing them to become short of breath.

“Inspiratory muscle training” was found to successfully improve breathing and quality of life.

In theory, any device that creates some “resistance” to your natural breathing, and forces your lungs to work, could help to strengthen your stamina.

Bas Rutten’s O2 trainer is one such device — and Bas himself, a former MMA champion, credits it with curing his lifelong asthma.

Try using the O2 trainer or a similar device while doing steady state cardio on a treadmill, to get a good training effect.

Use rest-pauses to maximise intensity without compromising on volume

The more intense a weightlifting routine is, the more your muscles will be forced to contract, and the more your heart and lungs will work. Over time, your muscles and cardiovascular system will be forced to adapt to greater levels of exertion.

Using rest-pauses to maximise the volume and intensity of your workouts is a great trick in this regard.

A “rest-pause” is basically a micro-break in the middle of a set, to allow you to recover just enough to force out additional reps. For example, you could set a target of 10 reps for a given set. Let’s say you fail at five. Instead of quitting, “rest” in the neutral position for about 10-15 seconds, then try again. Maybe you’ll get 3 more reps, rest-pause again, then 2 more reps, bringing you up to the total of 10.

High-volume is often a large factor in high intensity, and both play into boosting your stamina.

Bonus tips

A few bonus trips to help boost your stamina quickly:

Eat enough carbs

Low carb diets may be good for fat loss, but they are tragic when it comes to fuelling maximal-effort physical exertion (yes, even when you’re fat-adapted). Carb-up to load your muscles with glycogen, and you’ll have far more stamina for strenuous workouts, literally overnight.

Stay properly hydrated

It’s no secret that dehydration quickly, and dramatically harms your athletic performance. Rehydrate adequately during a workout to stay on top of your game. Consider drinking a beverage with added electrolytes, to avoid the risk of hyponatraemia.

Get enough sleep

Sleep deprivation is terrible for your health overall. While moderate sleep deprivation may not ruin your exercise performance outright, research shows it does increase self-perceived exertion. Meaning your workouts will feel a lot tougher and more draining when tired.

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