Muscles recover faster than connective tissues (tendons and ligaments) because they have a 10 times better blood supply and metabolic exchange.
Additionally, muscles can increase in size without affecting the proper functions of the skeletal system whereas tendons cannot. If the connective tissues get significantly bigger, the normal activity of the joints will be affected in a negative way. How do you play the piano with 20-inch wrists?
So, if our tendons can’t get significantly bigger and don’t have a good blood supply, how do we strengthen them?
Some say that the best way is to hit the tendons with really high reps in order to increase the blood supply in the area. However, ultra-high rep training does not build strength because the resistance is just too low. Therefore, doing only high reps for tendon health is not a complete approach.
At the end of the day, the best way to strengthen your tendons is simply to get stronger. If you deadlift 400lbs and move your deadlift to 450lbs, the tendons involved in the lift will have no choice but to get stronger.
The popular strength coach Bill Starr wrote in some of his articles that lifters need to lift heavy weights to develop their tendon strength. It makes sense. High reps with the pink dumbbells just aren’t enough.
Furthermore, when designing a routine, always keep in mind that the connective tissues recover slowly. That’s why you should always include planned deload phases in your training plans.
Note: There are also exercises that place more stress on the tendons and ligaments deliberately. A good example would the knuckle push-up which is designed to strengthen your wrists. You can use similar exercises to build connective tissue strength. Be careful!
Just get strong and include high rep exercises to supply the connective tissues with more nutrients.