From 'Building The Gymnastic Body'

'...our strongest student won the push-ups competition with 350 push-ups [not in a row], but the student who came second, with 300 push-ups, was a mediocre athlete at best.'

This got me wondering about how much strength crossovers to muscular endurance. I am NOT talking about marathon-like endurance (which weight training improves), but how, say, your bench press 1RM correlates with the amount of push-ups you can do, even if you've never trained push-ups endurance.

What is the amount of carryover, and the mechanism(s) of strength increasing muscular endurance?

1 Answer 1


It's an interesting question and unfortunately, I don't know of any specific studies that actually answer the question. My answer is more about logic and personal experience.

The stronger you are, the more your muscular endurance should be at lower weights.

If your max bench is 100kg, then you're logically going to be able to do more reps with 50kg than someone who's max bench is 60kg. As you get closer to your 1RM (1 rep max), then this does get somewhat distorted person to person depending on various ratios of muscle fibre types (so someone with a max of 95kg may be able to do more reps at 90kg than someone with a max of 100kg. I only have empirical evidence for this though).

The opposite, however, is not always true. A training buddy of mine was working on a high rep squatting program in order to bulk up, he'd regularly do sets of about 35 reps at 80kg. His squat max was 100kg. I could only manage 10 reps at 80kg (then felt like I was going to collapse), but I also has a squat max of 100kg.

For the amount of carryover, there are plenty of calculations knocking about that say you should be able to manage x number of reps at y percentage of your 1RM, which suggests that your muscular endurance is going to greater at lower percentages of your 1RM (so the stronger you are, the more endurance you'll have at lower weights).

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