Stamina vs. Endurance:
What’s the Difference & How to Build Both
Stamina and endurance are often thought of as one and the same, and it’s easy to understand why: Both refer to maximum performance, and both are crucial to peak fitness, inside and outside of the gym or ring.
But there are key distinctions between the two, and gaining a solid grasp on each can assist you in crafting a regimen that will help you meet your training goals.
Read this guide as we unpack the endurance vs. stamina question and provide guidance on elevating both to bolster your training.
What Does Stamina Mean?
So, what is stamina? Stamina is the amount of time you can perform a task at or near your maximum limit without fatigue, distraction, or a loss of quality. It doesn’t matter if you’re sparring or completing a set of pushups.
What Is Endurance?
On the other hand, endurance describes the maximum amount of time you can perform an activity.
In simple terms, the focus of endurance is less on the energy put forth to execute a task powerfully or adeptly and more on how long you can sustain it. How long your endurance lasts depends on stamina, but unlike stamina, it’s one of the five elements of physical fitness.
No matter if it’s hitting the last 30 seconds in the 12th round or swimming laps, endurance comes down to:
- Muscle endurance – Muscular endurance is characterized by how long your muscle strength can be sustained while exercising.
- Cardiovascular endurance – This is defined by the duration your heart, blood vessels, and lungs can fuel your workout without tiring out.
Stamina vs. Endurance: What’s The Difference?
To better distinguish stamina and endurance, consider running as an example:
- A sprinter is noted for their running stamina because they call upon brief but hyper-potent bursts of energy to give a short run their all.
- A marathon runner, in comparison, may have excellent running endurance because of the overall time and distance they cover. They may be more judicious with their energy to sustain themselves from start to finish.
With this comparison in mind, when it comes to fitness, physical stamina is the full capacity of energy you can summon from your muscles, while endurance is the maximum amount of oxygen you can mobilize for a specific activity. It’s a matter of intensity versus duration—or strength versus staying power.
How to Build Stamina and Endurance
Exercises that zero-in on promoting physical stamina and endurance can lead to various benefits, from improving your immune health to easing the aging process. They can also help you take your training game or aerobic exercise to whole new heights.
How to Build Stamina
Stamina facilitates the use of your muscles at their highest capacity. Your movements will be quicker, your technique sharper, and your form stronger. Weave these best exercises into your training program, and you might find that you have more vigor in general:
Planking is a cornerstone of most workout routines because it works. Not only does it help you perfect your posture and hone your form, but it also enhances stamina by conditioning your muscles to withstand stress for a prolonged period.
In addition, planking strengthens your core muscles, including your:
- Pelvic floor
- Back extensors
Need a refresher on how to do a plank? Follow these instructions for a good workout session:
- Get into the start of a push-up position with your hands pressed firmly into the floor and your arms straight.
- Ensure your spine is straight and your core is engaged.
- Hold for your desired amount of time, and continue building on it.
Heavy bag punches
Punching a heavy bag doesn’t just enrich your eye-hand coordination, they foster balance and help you blow off steam. The bag's weight also challenges your muscles and forces them to work harder, which can improve their ability to manage exertion and increase your full-body strength and stamina. The repetition can also teach you how to strengthen your wrists.
Don’t have a bag in your training equipment? Shadowboxing can also boost heart health, which is foundational to stamina.
How to Build Endurance
Endurance furnishes you with the ability to, well, endure. You can run longer, cycle longer, practice Jiu-Jitsu longer—you name it. The importance of endurance training should be on its two primary components: muscular endurance and cardiovascular endurance.
The idea of endurance training might have you imagining longer or more frequent workouts. While this can certainly work, research demonstrates that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be twice as valuable at cultivating endurance as running or cycling.
Tabata is a form of HIIT that consists of 20 seconds of high-intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest; this is repeated throughout the duration of your workout. Classes are widely available at gyms and online, or you can create your own with a mix of strength and cardio training or both. For example:
- 20 seconds jump squats
- 10 seconds rest
- 20 seconds shadowboxing
- 10 seconds rest
Repeat three to four times before moving on to your next series of exercises.
Plyometric training—or jump training, as it’s colloquially called—refers to energetic bursts of cardio that may bolster endurance. In fact, a study found that marathoners who brought plyometric exercises into their training programs utilized less energy during their runs than runners who relied on weight training. Give these exercises a try:
Burpees – Burpees tend to elicit one of two responses: Groans or applause. Either way:
- Start in a squatting position and jump into the plank.
- Perform a push-up at the bottom of your plank.
- Jump towards your hands, landing in a squat.
- Jump up again and raise your arms high. Repeat.
Stairway hops – Stairway hops foster cardiovascular endurance and may encourage bone health. Here’s how to perform them:
- Begin at the bottom of a staircase.
- Hop to the top on your right foot.
- Walk to the bottom.
- Hop to the top on your left foot. Repeat.
Bringing Stamina and Endurance Up a Notch with Hayabusa
Stamina and endurance are the vigor and fortitude behind athletic performances, enabling you to be more powerful for longer. Each has a hand in the sports you play and the training you do, whether you’re a surfer, a martial artist, or both.
Endurance and stamina training is best conducted when you have the right instruments and apparel within reach—and Hayabusa has got you covered. From boxing training equipment to amplify your stamina to high-performance athletic joggers for endurance-building runs, we have a wide selection of quality products to suit your style, needs and wants.
Looking for equipment for boxing or martial arts gifts? Check us out today for equipment and attire that, like you, endures.
Medical News Today. What is muscular endurance and how to improve it?
Very Well Fit. How to increase stamina: 16 ways to power up a workout.
Livestrong. How to build stamina for boxing.
Healthline. How to do 8 different plyometric exercises.
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Effects of plyometric training on endurance and explosive strength performance in competitive mid- and long-distance runners.