Cardio, Strength, Training

Endurance despite muscle mass – is it possible?

Ausdauer trotz Muskelmasse

Many athletes believe that you can’t have endurance with a lot of muscle. Is that true?  Is it possible to improve stamina despite muscle mass?

Endurance vs Strength

Comparing endurance athletes with strength athletes, the difference is most obvious at first glance. Endurance athletes are thinner and strength athletes simply have more muscle mass.


Strength athletes have more of the so-called white muscle fibers. These are thicker, can generate more power, and are driven faster. The energy supply happens anaerobically, without oxygen, and due to the fast lactate increase the white muscle fibers tire very quickly.

Runners and endurance athletes have much more red muscle fibers, in contrast to strength athletes . They are much thinner than the white fibers and are also driven slower. The energy supply is aerobic, with oxygen, and they work much more energy efficiently.

Is it possible to improve stamina despite muscle mass?

Yes, that is possible. With more muscle mass, you do also have to carry more weight during endurance training, which takes more energy, but the muscle fibers can adapt and work more economically. The positive effect is that you even burn fat and make the muscles come into play better. With a lot of muscle you will not be able to run a world record marathon, but a solid half marathon is certainly possible. For this purpose, pure strength training has to be adjusted and supplemented with endurance training such as cycling, walking, or  running.

Positive aspects of endurance sports for strength athletes

Better regeneration: Endurance training (30-40 min) after intense strength training will improve your blood circulation and better condition your muscles. This improves the removal of, for example, lactate and you regenerate faster after strength training.

More power during strength training through better stamina: If you go with more endurance in your strength training, then you’re ready faster between the individual exercises and you can make the training more intense.

Vulnerability lessens: versatile training reduces your vulnerability to injury. Endurance training brings variety to your everyday training routine and strengthens your immune system. So you go into the next strength training unit toughened.

Tips for your endurance training

  • Train strength first, and then endurance
  • Endurance training should always be performed in the low pulse range
  • Stamina can be improved by your choice of running, cycling, hiking, or cross-training
  • Train endurance at least twice a week


Endurance despite muscle mass is possible. If you want to be top in each of the respective disciplines, then the focus must be on the actual goal. Despite muscle mass, it is possible that endurance is improved and the corresponding muscle fibers and the cardiovascular system are economized. If you want to do endurance training, then it should be done with a low pulse (low intensity) and take place separately or after strength training.

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