7 Aerobic Exercises to Increase Your Muscular Endurance


If aerobic exercise reminds you of nothing but 80s workout videos, or maybe all those times you spent in high school doing laps of the playing field, then we’ve got good news for you: It’s 2017, and aerobic just means ‘doing cardio’, and you can use it to build muscular endurance, as well.

Technically, all exercise is aerobic, since if weren’t breathing at all, you’d be doing no exercise whatsoever, because you’d be dead. But what we’re talking about when we talk about aerobic exercise, is the kind of exercise that’s prolonged — i.e. not a sprint.

If you’re a CrossFitter, for example, a one rep max snatch is not what we’re talking about when we talk about aerobic exercise. Murph is aerobic exercise, so are burpees, and so is jump rope. Increasing your muscular endurance using aerobic exercise is kind of a given, since that’s the point of aerobic exercise, but if you’re a Velites fan, then you’re probably also into other stuff which requires a certain amount of strength (like CrossFit.) With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of our favourite aerobic exercises for increasing muscular endurance. They’re mostly all common sense, and they’re certainly all movements you’ve done or at least heard of before.

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Using Aerobic Exercises To Increase Muscular Endurance

How you put these movements together is up to you, we’re not your coaches, we just enjoy fitness. We’ve put a few suggestions with each movement, but really, you’re a smart person, so you’ll figure out how best to incorporate these movements into your routine. So, here we go, our 7 favourite exercises to increase muscular endurance (and strength). By Velites, for you, because we care about your fitness, and how you do in the Open.

vrope mitchell adams - aerobic workout

Jumping Rope (With a Velites Fire 2.0)

Of course, we’re going to start this off with jump rope. Your jump rope isn’t just a warm-up tool, and if you think it’s all about cardio, then try adding a thicker cable and some handle weights. It is possible to get a full-body workout with a jump rope, and used correctly, it’ll work your core, shoulders, legs and back, all while improving your overall muscular endurance.


One of our favourite ways of working jump rope into your routine, is to work double-unders on the minute, alternating with another movement like handstand push-ups. If you need some help getting started on your double-unders, the Velites Jump Rope Academy is a great place to start. This free series of videos will walk you through technique and pacing, step by step.

Burpees (Full-Body Endurance)

Love them or hate them, burpees are one of the best whole-body movements there is. You can pace them, moving through 100 or more, or use them as a sprint exercise. Remember that the standard for the CrossFit burpee, is chest and thighs on the ground, and a little jump with hands overhead.

We like to do either on the minute burpees, or the classic ‘max reps in 7 minutes’ workout.


Not one most CrossFitters would call their favourite, but now that summer is on the way again, it’s likely that your coaches will be programming more running. Done well, running can be a great core workout, and can help you to develop better form for your other movements. Obviously, it’s great at improving your muscular endurance and cardiovascular fitness, as well.

Light Barbell Cycling

Right around Open time, a lot of coaches start to scale back the heavy lifts, in favour of lighter weights. That’s for two reasons: First, they don’t want you to get injured. You’re not getting a whole lot stronger in those few weeks, anyway. Second, cycling lighter weights is a great way to get used to staying at intensity for longer periods. Working 30 or 40kg overhead for reps, instead of the 60 or 70kg you might be used to, is going to help build muscular endurance, and make you a better, more well-rounded athlete.

Cycling (on a Bicycle)

Remember to stretch your hips and quads before and after cycling, but as a general exercise, cycling is an awesome way to gradually bring up your muscular endurance.

Combine more leisurely rides with sprints, and you’ve got a great leg strengthener, that’s also going to expand your capacity to go for longer. Assault bike or road bike, this is a great one to work into your routine.

Static Holds

Not typically thought of as an aerobic exercise, but if you spend enough time doing tabata planks and hollow holds, you’ll soon get your heart rate up, and holding static poses is a fine way of building deep muscular endurance.

vrope 2.0 - aerobic workout

Try hollow holds, planks and handstand holds as part of a tabata workout, and you’ll find it just as rewarding as any WOD or lifting session.


Same as the bike, only you’ll get to work your upper body more, if you’re not rowing, you’re missing out on a huge chunk of fitness. There are few other exercises you can do that’ll tax both your strength and endurance like the rower will. Try mixing it up with 45 seconds at a medium pace, followed by 15 seconds of sprints.

If you have favourite workouts you or your coaches have designed to help boost muscular endurance, in a way which complements your strength training, we’d love to see them. Drop us a line on social media, or contact us at

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Graeme Keeton

Written by Graeme Keeton

Graeme is a copywriter based in the United Kingdom. He provides the copy for our social media channels and newsletter, in addition to articles covering the CrossFit scene in Europe and the U.S.


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