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Strength Training and Endurance Training

One of the biggest drawbacks to weight loss surgery is the skeletal muscle mass loss and that is a big deal!

Muscle is a primary source of your metabolism so a big loss to muscle mass is a big loss to your bodies biggest engine.  Once you are cleared for exercise adding in some type of weight training is an important part of your workout plan. There are only two types of muscle fiber in your body so your workouts will reflect that as well.

One type is built to move and lift heavy things over a short time frame. That could be lifting a box of books into a car, lifting your child out of the grocery cart, or moving heavy rocks in your garden. I’ll call these your Big Mover Muscles. The other type of muscle is made to move things over and over again for a longer period of time. So that could be going for a 2 hour bike ride, cleaning house, or gardening. I’ll call these your Endurance Muscles.

So the choice of what type of workout you do depends on what muscle type you want to affect.  If you are looking to make it easier to move heavy things then your workouts should focus on challenging your Big Mover Muscles. On the other hand if you are wanting to feel less fatigued going on longer walks or gardening all day then having your focus be on your Endurance Muscles during your workouts will help you.

The best way to drive your body to focus on one type of muscle is to mimic the type of stress that that muscle is good at overcoming. If you are looking to get your Big Mover Muscles to be able to move bigger/heavier things easier then well you have to start moving heavier things more often. If you are looking to make your Endurance Muscles more endurancy than you will need to challenge those smaller muscles..

So what does that look like in a workout setting?

The good news is there have been a lot of smart people over the decades that have studied this question and have come up with some parameters that are mostly agreed upon in the fitness world.

For the Big Mover Muscles – Lift Heavy for a low amount of repetitions (2 – 5) and do that for a lot of sets ( 5 – 8) with 2+ minutes rest between each set.  

For the Endurance Muscles – Lift lighter for a large amount of repetitions (15 – 20) and do that for 2 -4 sets with up to 90 seconds rest between each set.

Rest is an important part of this formula because that will affect how your muscles and nervous system adapt. Not enough with the Big Mover Muscles and you are not able to lift as much next time around. Too much with the Endurance Muscles then your body will not adapt to efficiently use the fuel it needs.

There is a lot more to this but hopefully this will give you a start to planning your workouts. As always if you have questions please feel free to contact me.  

What about building more muscle?

What I have been talking about is improving on the muscle that you have getting stronger in one form or another. How do you build muscle? Well in simple terms as long as you keep challenging the muscle with new weight it will grow to meet that challenge (there is more to it than that, including nutrition but for now its a good start)

Last article I was talking about how you can choose the best weight for the exercise that you are doing.  This time I would like to tackle two different types forms of weight training: Strength and Endurance.

While both types build up muscle the difference comes down to how and what muscles respond to the different weights and repetitions. But first let me


The phrase strength training has a few meanings. In a more generic definition is activities that make muscles stronger. The more specific definition, and the one that I am going with, is a form of weight training to build up strength in the muscles you have. So how do you strength train?

Since the purpose of this type of exercise is to help make your muscles stronger – that is get the muscles you do have to be able to lift heavier weights easier. Of course there will be a time when the muscles you do have will not be able to move the weight you want to move. That is when you body will start to build more muscle to help with the new resistance. So great strength training is the way to go right? Well maybe but lets me talk about endurance weight training first.


Endurance weight training is all about building up your muscles to be fatigue resistant. These types of workouts are going to much different than the strength training with the workouts. With endurance weight training the goal is to move lighter weight for many repetitions. Just like the strength training there will be a point where the muscles you have will not be able to give you the work you are asking – so more will be made.


The answer to that question is that it depends on your goal. If you want to be able to lift and push heavy things a few times then focusing on strength training would be the way to go. I

Why the difference in the number of repetitions and sets?

Then the goal in your workout sessions should be about moving heavy weight around as much as you can. What this means is that you will be lifting less repetitions but you will do more sets of that exercise.

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