What is endurance training?

Endurance is the ability of the muscles to perform work over some time. When you exercise endurance, your muscles burn energy, preferably in the form of carbohydrates and fats, with the help of oxygen. The oxygen supply to your muscles is, therefore, an essential factor that affects your endurance. Endurance training is also crucial for the heart’s ability to pump blood around the body.

If your muscles get too little oxygen, it will lead to an accumulation of lactic acid, which causes the muscles to stiffen, and you will have to stop working —also called anaerobic endurance. If, on the other hand, your muscles do get enough oxygen, it is called aerobic endurance. Then you will keep lactic acid at a distance, and be able to perform a much longer work.

Test your oxygen uptake with Myworkout GO. Download it for free for iOS or Android.

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Endurance training run

Endurance training increases the heart’s pumping capacity.
But what determines if you can get enough oxygen to your muscles?

The heart!

Professor of medicine, Jan Hoff, says the whole purpose of endurance training is to increase the size and elasticity of the heart and blood vessels, which in turn increases the maximum oxygen uptake.

  • In average 20-year-old men, the heart’s pumping capacity is about 20 litres per minute. In a top endurance athlete, on the other hand, the capacity is double, which is equivalent to four kitchen taps more blood at full opening, says Hoff.
  • Our heart, which is only the size of a fist, is a very efficient pump, he adds.

According to the professor, it is only in highly untrained people that the limitation in aerobic endurance is related to conditions in the body’s muscles, and not the heart’s pumping capacity. If you are in terrible shape, for example, your capillary network, the smallest blood vessels in your body, may be reduced, which will limit the oxygen flow to the muscle cells.

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Endurance training app

Maximum heart rate

Heredity determine your maximum heart rate and it does not change no matter how much you exercise. On the other hand, it decreases slightly with age. The heart’s ability to pump blood, therefore depends on how much blood it can pump in each beat – so-called stroke volume.

  • The stroke volume increases as the heart becomes larger with training that challenges the heart volume. With this training the heart becomes more elastic, says Hoff.

In the past, it has been difficult to measure the heart rate. We assumed that you reached full stroke volume if you ran at long-distance intensity, which is about 70 per cent of maximum heart rate. However, research has shown that the stroke volume increases up to an intensity that corresponds to maximum oxygen uptake. A higher intensity than this gives lactic acid, which in turn will lead to a decrease in stroke volume.

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Why is 4×4 so effective in improving endurance?

Why should you instead train intervals than walk or run far at lower intensity? How many 15-second intervals do you need to have a good effect on endurance? And can it have as good an impact as a 4×4 interval? It’s the way your heart works that determines ❤️

BY JAN HELGERUD AND JAN HOFF, professors of medicine

The pumping capacity of the heart limits your endurance.

Based on physiological theory and previous research findings, we conducted a study to document the effects of endurance training. The endurance of healthy people limits by our heart function and the heart’s pumping capacity of the blood. Previously studies show that large muscle groups that are at work can receive 2-3 times as much oxygen-rich blood and produce 2-3 times more energy than the heart’s pumping capacity indicates. The heart is thus, unable to supply enough blood. Our heart rate is innate and cannot change. Hence, we must exercise to increase the size of the pumping capacity. In an average person who does hard work, the heart pumps approx. 0.15-0.20 litres of blood in each beat, in comparison, the heart of a top athlete pumps twice as much.

How to resize your heart?

Research in medicine has shown that changes in the size of the heart occur through two mechanisms, “shear stress” and mechanical influence of the greatest possible blood flow in the heart. “Shear stress” is the friction of blood flow along the heart walls during pumping. Both mechanisms give signals that the heart size should increase and the highest possible blood flow triggers it. We have the highest possible blood flow when we work with large muscle groups, i.e. we use both legs (or more muscles) and an intensity that is close to maximum oxygen uptake. You must have a heart rate of about 85-95% of your maximum heart rate.


Why 4×4 intervals?

Many people love to train at intervals of less than a minute. However, it takes longer to have a full effect on your heart. We have approximately five litres of blood. It usually takes two minutes for the heart to have a full filling of circulating blood. Others favour long runs, but there is a limit to how long you can maintain such a high intensity. Typically, we are unable to maintain the highest intensity at 95% of maximum heart rate for longer than 6-9 minutes in a row. Therefore, we have seen that effective endurance training should consist of repeated work periods of between 2 and 6 minutes.

Active breaks remove lactic acid.

Since work in area 85-95% of maximum heart rate causes the muscles to build up lactic acid, you should remove the lactic acid between each work period. This is most effectively when you work at low intensity, about 70% of maximum heart rate. This is a level where you can talk effortlessly with a training partner.

Here comes the conclusion:

To test the theory that 2-6 minutes at intervals is the most effective in improving fitness, we conducted a new study. We chose to control this by comparing with training with lower intensity, but the same amount of work, and measuring the heart’s pumping capacity before and after a period of training.

We set up the training as follows:

4x4 training comparison
  1. A long run at 70% of maximum heart rate for 45 minutes
  2. Threshold training of 85% of maximum heart rate for 24 min and 25 seconds
  3. 15×15, 15-second intervals and 15-second active pause for 47 work periods with an intensity corresponding to 90-95% of maximum heart rate
  4. 4×4-minute intervals with a 3-minute active break of 90-95% of maximum heart rate.

Students from NTNU carried out the training three times per week for eight weeks.

4×4 is most effective

We measure the effect on endurance as maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max), and the impact on the heart’s pumping capacity measured as stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped for each heartbeat) during work. The effect of the training resulted in changes in maximal oxygen uptake and heart rate as follows:

The figure shows well that in line with physiological theories and previous research, work periods of around 4 minutes are more effective than other forms of exercise. The reason why 15×15 training is more effective than calm long-distance and threshold training is that it maintains a higher intensity. The short breaks keep a high blood flow. So that after 8-10 intervals of 15 seconds, and increased blood flow maintains in the 47 intervals, and gives a good effect. Although 47 intervals of 15 seconds have a sufficient impact, it will still not have as significant impact as a 4×4 session.

Being breathless has a good effect.

The conclusion is that frequent intervals of 85-95% of the maximum heart rate of 4 minutes are the most time-efficient way to increase maximum oxygen uptake. If you include such intervals in a walk or a run as a natural interval, one will expect the same effect. A new activity tracker in the app shows you how many minutes you have had in the right zone to change your heart.

FAQ: Contest with Myworkout GO👌

This is how the contest in Myworkout GO works 👇

1. How do I join the contest?

There are two ways for you to join the contest:

✅ You receive an invitation from your team captain to the team.

✅ You find a link to your team on the information platform you learnt about the contest in the first place.

Using any of these options 👆allows you to download Myworkout Go if you do not already have it installed. If the app already is installed, it will open when clicking the links.

Accept that your user in the app Myworkout Go connects to the team and the contest. Locate your team in the apps contest icon on the bottom of the app. Nothing there? Follow the link once more and contact support@myworkout.com if this does not work.

2. We have had a contest before, but will love to go for one more!

Even if you are joining the new contest with the same team as previously, a new contest means new links. The prosess goes back to the top 👆 Get a new invite/ find a new link to your team in the new contest.

3. How is the contest set up?

During this period, all participants get divided into teams that do their part to collect activity points. The contest consists of weekly matches that your team can win.🏅Every Sunday at midnight (Norwegian time); we will sum up the team points, and chose a weekly winner. Training sessions that are not saved by Sunday this week will not count. The points are then reset, and a new weekly match starts. The winner of the training period is finally chosen based on the best average ranking in all the weekly contests. 🏆 The period begins: (We agree) and ends: (recommended duration 4 to 10 weeks)

4. How do I collect points in the competition with the job?

  • You get points for each training session that you register in the Myworkout GO app. You can do this in the following ways:
  • You can use the Myworkout GO app to complete workouts.
  • You can re-register workouts in the Myworkout GO app.
  • For the scoreboard to keep up to date during the week, you will only receive points in the competition if the session is registered within 24 hours after the exercise was performed.
  • You can connect to your Garmin, Fitbit and Polar account so that these workouts automatically syncs to your Myworkout account.

Are you on a team with fewer participants than competing teams? Do not worry; we add equalization points based on how many fewer members the team has. These are referred to as “handicap points”.

If you are up for even more gaming in the contest we can switch the handicap points off. This will make it even more important that all players stay active and/or gather more players to their team.

5. How are the points calculated?

You get 1 point per active minute registered in Myworkout GO. For you to progress well, you must train at a high enough intensity, long enough for the heart to receive effective training. This is called HIT (High intensity training). For these minutes you will get HIT-points 🤩 We know that 4×4 intervals achieve this, so you get 4 points for every minute of the intervals in a 4×4 session registered with Myworkout GO. If you do not want to train 4×4, but still want to train with high intensity, you will get 4 points for every HIT minute you register in the activity tracker.

There is an upper limit of points per participant per day. What the upper limit is for the contest you are joining, you can read in the contest rules always available in the actual contest in the app.

6. What can I register as training?

All activity can be registered. If the category for the training you have completed is missing, you can either use the activity meter function or post-register.

As a rule of thumb, you should only register activities that make you so sweaty that you would typically have worn exercise clothes. But if you have something that prevents you from usually performing, such as a sore knee or back pain, then register the training you can do.

Good luck and may the smartest player win 😉

Now you are doing something smart 🤓

Important information to help you get started. For you to get the most out of your training, there is a video you want to watch!

The most important variable for our health 🧡

It is not how old you are according to the calendar that matters most to stay healthy. It is how much the body, heart and blood system are affected by the ageing process. To slow down the ageing process as much as possible, the most important thing you can do is stay in good shape.

Today, maximum oxygen uptake, which in turn reflects your biological age, is the single variable we know of that has the most to say for health and risk of disease.

Get a measure of your health 🎯

You can measure your maximum oxygen uptake in the app by performing a 4×4 interval session. Many people can be intimidated by running intervals, but the goal is not to wear you out completely. The most important thing is that you breathe well so that the heart can work for a few minutes. You must be able to complete the load through all four kites. Essential tips for finding the right intensity during the interval stretches are:

  • It would be best if you did not get stiff in the legs.
  • You should not be able to speak long sentences.
  • You should be able to hold the activity for another 1 minute in each move if you have to.
  • You should have the strength to complete another move after completing the four intervals.

Read more about how to get started training here:

What is your running time?

Do you have a goal of running a distance in a certain amount of time? You can estimate your running time of 5 km, 10 km, half marathon and marathon if you know what your maximum oxygen uptake is.

How to find your running time

By testing your maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max), you can get an estimate of the time you want to run different distances. As shown in the table below. Here you see forecasts for 5 km, 10 km, half marathon and marathon based on maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max).

 Source: Polar User Guide, modified by Myworkout.

What affects how fast you can run?

The number you get when you test VO2 max is a measure of how good endurance and work capacity you have. Thus, we can estimate how fast you can run different distances. However, factors such as running economy, technique and terrain can affect your time.

Are you going to run towards a specific goal?

If you train to participate in a specific marathon or a similar race, we have set up a training program. This program focuses on getting you in the best possible shape. Jan Hoff and Jan Helgerud are both professors of medicine at NTNU. For over 25 years, they have researched effective training for health and performance. Therefore this training program is tailored for good progression towards a challenging race. You can read more about how to train for a specific race by clicking on the link here. 👇

Measure your VO2max for free

When using the Myworkout GO app the next time you train endurance, your app calculates VO2 max. All you need to do is perform a 4×4 interval outdoors, on a mill, bike or rowing machine. A voice in the app guides you through the session and keeps track of the time for you. After the session, the app can calculate your VO2 max with scientific precision.

Try the app for free for two weeks. After the end of the trial period, it costs NOK 44 a month.

Contribute to Sustainable Development Goal #3 Good Health? 🌱💚

The vast majority of us feel a responsibility to contribute to a better and more sustainable future for all. But how do you really know if you have reached the goal or are on the right course? By taking a deep dive into sustainable development goal #3 Good health and well-being, we have found a concrete way to realize sustainable development goal #3.4 by 2030. If everyone reduces their biological age by 5 years, we have reached the goal of preventing non-communicable diseases. This also applies to a company if employees reduce their biological age. How? Let us explain 🤓

By Christine Hammeren

How to Realize Sustainable Development Goal # 3.4

UN Sustainable Development Goal #3.4 is about reducing premature death from non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes or chronic respiratory disease by a third through prevention and better treatment by 2030. Biological age is an expression of the risk you have to develop conditions like this. Your biological age thus says something about the chance you have for lifestyle diseases based on the average in the Norwegian population. A lower biological age means a lower risk. The most significant thing you can do to reduce your biological age is to exercise.

By using our app Myworkout GO when you train endurance, your app calculates maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max) and biological age. In companies where employees train with the app, we can figure out how many biological age years have been reduced in total and link it to sustainable development goal #3.4. Suppose all employees complete ten effective training sessions. In that case, you will get a half per cent improved maximum oxygen uptake for each session, and become five per cent fitter in total. Usually, this means that you will be 5 years younger in biological age.

sustainable development goal #3
References for this article (Harb et al.2019, Helgerud, Hoff et al. 2007).

Why it is essential to reduce biological age

Reducing biological age is one of the most important things we can do! It is crucial for you who want to live a good and healthy life and for your employer who needs you to perform at work. It is vital for the health organizations that want to take care of your health, and for society to be able to tolerate virus transmission better. 9 out of 10 deaths in Norway due to infection with COVID-19 have one or more underlying chronic disorders.

Inactivity is a global megatrend. At the same time, we are getting older. Inactivity, combined with ageing increases the effects of inactivity exponentially. Researchers have made some gloomy predictions about the consequences of ageing and inactivity. These forecasts say; if the cost per health case is to be 1 to 1 equivalent as it is today, the world will run out of money in 2060. We have to work smarter and more sustainably. We have no choice.

How to collaborate on this?

In 2019, Norwegian users of the app Myworkout Go were a total of 18,775 years younger in biological age. This corresponds to NOK 44 million in saved costs for employers and NOK 18 billion saved for society over the next four decades. We have the technology to calculate goal achievement. Still, we must work together with the Norwegian business community to be able to achieve the goal of 100%. Companies can have a great deal of influence and a duty to consider measures to ensure that employees choose to move more in their everyday lives. The health app Myworkout Go motivates because each individual experiences that the training makes progress.

Do you want to focus on UN Sustainable Development Goal #3 in your company? We are ready to help you get started and know from experience what it takes to reach the goal.

No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. And together with partners and customers, we can do a lot for a more sustainable future!

Feel free to contact us for a chat about our health and fitness offer

👩🏼‍💻 Christine Hammeren (Head of Sales)
📧 christine@myworkout.no
📞 +47 482 06 447

‍ 👨🏻‍💻 Bjarne Kosberg (Senior Sales Manager)
 📧 bjarne@myworkout.no
 📞 +47 922 60 650