The Muscle Durability Factor

Durability (noun): The ability to withstand wear, pressure, or damage.

In every sport high performance is heavily linked to durability of muscle. People with a low durability factor tend to last shorter periods of time, suffer cramp sooner, suffer injuries more frequently and/or are unable to perform at a high standard for a long period of time. One's durability factor is vital when performing physcial activity.

So how do we asses muscle durability It depends on the sport. If for example you want to asses your football durability factor think of the exercises that you can do without playing football that are easily adaptable to football e.g. interval running. If you don't think your durability factor is high enough to give 100% of your skill in a sport then you have to train that muscle in a special way.

This special way is not a secret, nor is it different to what many already do. The way to increase muscle durability is to train that muscle to the point of failure by repetition in pyramid sets or using drop sets.

Pyramid sets are when you exercise using a weight that you feel comfortable to do about 12/15 repetitions and on the 12/15th rep you are struggling. Rest 30-60 seconds then up the weight to the amount you feel comfortable to do 8-10 reps and on the 8/10th rep you are just struggling to carry on. Then increase the weight and do 6-8 reps with the same principle. If you are training muscle endurance stop after the 4th set, if you are training muscle hypotrophy go backwards as soon as you do the 6 repetitions set.

Drop sets are similar to pyramid sets but as soon as you get to the 6/8th repetition set, go backwards whether you are training endurance or hypotrophy immediately without resting set after set until you finish the set you began with when you started.

These two training systems will help increase your muscle durability because you are teasing it to do more and more. You want that muscle to carry on working with the same perfect form under more and more stress.

Do this to the same muscle group you are training maximum twice per week. You do not want to overtrain it. As always train within your limits and don't go all out.

Durability is vital in sport and if your muscle can withstand stress over and over again you will be able to perform at a higher level in sports. Think of a top rugby player. They have to play 80 minutes, make on average 14 tackles per game (based on the stats of open side/blind side flankers; the most physically taxing positions in the game).Think of the stress on the body. They are able to perform at a consistent level because their muscles are durable to perform at around 100% of their skill capacity for a long time. Throw in the running around and thought processes and the last thing you want is to be let down by your muscles ceasing up and disabling you especially if your mind of a tiger is still going!

Durable atheletes stand out from the rest. Be that stand-out guy/gal whose body can go through stress and still perform the best you can be.

- Tony of TDL Fitness


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