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Goal-setting offers a classic sports and fitness motivation technique. Establishing a tangible goal gives you something to aim for, which helps you keep going anytime you feel like slacking off. Setting a short-term goal can be particularly effective, because you can achieve the goal in just a few weeks, making it seem as if it's always within reach.
Set a realistic short-term goal. Go through your routine once, then set a goal that you can accomplish within the next month. When you're ready, set specific goals. Instead of just hoping to improve, set numerical targets and establish the time frame in which to achieve those targets. You may also wish to set interim goals. For example, if you set a goal of performing 20 percent more repetitions of an exercise within four weeks, set interim goals of a five percent improvement each week.
Impact on Goal-Setting
Muscular endurance permits you to repeat your movements during the course of competition. Perform a strength training program first, before working on muscular endurance and establishing your short-term goals. The stronger you are, the more muscular endurance you can develop, and the higher you can set your short-term endurance goals. If you're trying to establish muscular endurance for a specific sport, for example, perform exercises that mimic the movements and the resistance you encounter in your sport. Set up your exercise program, then establish your goals for short-term improvements.
Power moves include a pitcher throwing a fastball, a hockey player taking a slap shot or a tennis player serving the ball. In most cases, the player must repeat the power move many times to be successful. To maintain the necessary endurance to repeat these power moves, use plyometric workouts, or weight training exercises in which you lift about 50 to 70 percent of your one-repetition maximum. To set a short-term goal for a plyometric routine, add one more set within three weeks and aim to increase the number of repetitions you perform by 25 to 30 percent. If you're weight training, increase your load by about 20 percent in the first three weeks.
Short-Term Muscular Endurance
Sports in which athletes use frequent, short bursts of energy require short-term muscular endurance. A football running back, for example, runs at full speed until the play ends, rests between plays, then must be prepared to run at full speed again on the next play. Include a circuit of body-weight and free weight exercises in your training, lifting 40 to 60 percent of your one-rep max in the weight training portion. Set a three-week goal of performing body-weight exercises for 50 percent longer and increasing repetitions by 25 to 50 percent.
Long-Term Muscular Endurance
Athletes who repeat the same motion for long periods, such as marathoners who run for more than two hours, require long-term muscular endurance. The typical training program includes a circuit with plenty of weight training, at 30 to 40 percent of your one-rep maximum, plus body-weight exercises. Set a short-term goal, for example, of maintaining your program for the first month. After four weeks, increase the intensity by performing two exercises consecutively, without rest. Include the goal of adding one circuit to your routine after four weeks.