What Is The Difference Between Stamina and Endurance?

The terms ‘stamina’ and ‘endurance’ are used very frequently across the fitness world. However, when it comes to what they both mean and the difference between the two, you could be left a little confused.

Are you looking for some clarification about the meaning of these terms? Are you unsure what the difference between stamina and endurance is?

If the answer is yes to either of these questions then I will be breaking both of these terms down so you know exactly what each means. Then we’ll go through the difference between the two.

What is Stamina?

Stamina is defined as “the physical strength to do something that might be difficult and will take a long time.” With that in mind, stamina is a reflection of both determination and strength of will. (1)

Having stamina during exercise involves having the physical ability to continue, even when you may want to stop. It is the length of time that a muscle, or muscle group, can perform at their highest capacity.

What is Endurance?

Endurance is defined as “the ability to keep doing something difficult, unpleasant or painful for a long time.”  Demonstrating endurance would be to perform a difficult task over a lengthy period of time. (2)

When specifically linked to exercise, endurance is pushing through any mental desire to stop. It is the amount of time that a particular muscle, or muscle group, can perform, but not necessarily at their highest capacity. (3)

Stamina vs Endurance

While the two terms may sound as though they have the same meaning, there is one main difference between stamina and endurance.

Endurance is focused on maximizing the amount of time you are able to perform an activity, regardless of capacity. Continuing on to complete a race at walking pace, even though you feel like your lungs are about to burst, is an example of endurance.

Stamina relates more so to the level of capacity you are able to reach during a workout. Let’s say you are aiming to do thirty pull-ups without stopping, however, after fifteen your arms fail. This is an example of a lack of stamina.

Another way you could look at the difference, involves energy versus oxygen. Endurance demonstrates the ability to efficiently process and deliver oxygen around the body. Whereas stamina demonstrates the ability to process and deliver energy around the body.

Both oxygen and energy are required to help you perform at a certain level while exercising. However, what you require more of, depends on the kind of exercise you are doing. You may focus on endurance or stamina, depending on the specific goal you have set yourself.

Endurance Training vs Stamina Training

When it comes to improving your endurance and stamina, different types of exercise are needed. Stamina involves your muscles functioning at optimal capacity, so strength workouts are often effective.

Endurance involves the ability to perform for a longer period of time without getting out of breath. The best way to do this is through aerobic and cardio exercises. This allows the body to improve its ability to process oxygen, which will fuel your muscles and keep you going for a longer period of time.

Strength Training for Stamina

An effective method of training muscles for improved stamina is by doing “loaded carries.” These help to build muscle but also have a low risk of injury. The key is in the way the way you walk with the weights, as opposed to the sheer amount of weight you work with.

Loaded carries will train and build stamina all over the body. The muscles that this exercise focuses on include:

  • Arms.
  • Back.
  • Shoulder.
  • Core.
  • Legs.

If you are interested in trying out some loaded carries, these videos may help.

Cardio Training for Endurance

Endurance training works to build your body’s ability to perform over longer periods of time. One of the best ways to improve your endurance is to combine a variety of different workouts into your regular exercise routine.

Try incorporating a mixture of high-intensity exercises with long, slower-paced activities. Endurance training involves improving your body’s recovery rate. Mixing up the speed and intensity of the exercise you are doing will help your body to do this.

Some activities you can try to help improve your endurance include:

  • Running.
  • Swimming.
  • Cycling.

While taking part in these activities, try to gradually increase the time you perform them for. Be sure to include short bursts of high-intensity activity while exercising, followed by a slower speed to allow your body time to recover.

Focus on gradually increasing the intensity level of your training sessions, but also keep things interesting. Try to add different speeds, intensities and even different types of exercise during your workout sessions. The emphasis is on improving your body’s ability to adapt and recover efficiently.

If you are interested in concentrating on endurance training, here are some good examples of schedules that you can try. (4)


While endurance and stamina are both quite similar, they each have a unique focus in terms of fitness and training. One involves the basic strength of the muscles, and their ability to perform at peak capacity. The other focuses on extending the amount of time that a set of muscles can perform for.

If you are looking to improve your overall fitness, you will benefit from training to enhance both stamina and endurance. Remember, different exercises are needed, depending on what you’re concentrating on.

  • To improve your stamina, focus on strength training.
  • To improve your endurance, focus on cardio and aerobic exercises.
  • Endurance will also be improved by intermittent high and low impact activity.

I hope that you now have a better understanding of the difference between endurance and stamina. If you have any questions about either, I would love for you to leave a comment!

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