Thursday, September 04, 2008

Thoughts on Strength

Strength is an essential part of health and performance. Do you train for relative or absolute strength? Is optimal strength the same as maximal strength? Is the best measure or evaluation of strength always a barbell movement?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I train for relative strength--relative to my bodyweight and needs of my sport(s).
Optimal (ideal) strength is not the same as maximal strength. For example, given your speed, power, or flexibility needs, you may not want or need maximal strength.
No, of course the best measure or evaluation of strength is not a barbell movement. First of all, strength of what? Can a barbell measure or evaluate all types of strength?

Brian DeGennaro said...

I made a blog response to this one, IronMaven. Check my blog to read it; I hope you enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

This sound very similar to the "what is fitness?" question. And I think the answer is similar, too: athletes should train primarily for the kind of strength that will help their sport or athletic activity. In some sports, that might be maximal strength. In lots of sports, it almost certainly isn't. The barbell question is interesting, too. I think as coaches and trainers, part of our job is finding exercises that help train our athletes to get stronger in ways that either improve their performance or reduce their risk of injury. That doesn't have to entail a barbell (or dumbbell or kettlebell), but a barbell is a convenient tool for it.

Kristof said...

Maximal and optimal strength are rarely the same (though they may be close in certain sports). Generally, you want 'maximal power', which would be the result of applying an optimal level of force (i.e. strength).

All else being equal (*NOTE* that this is hardly ever the case) higher maximal strength should yield a higher level of either relative strength or maximal power.

Using barbells to asses a level of either maximal/optimal power/strength that body is able to produce is easy to do. Is it the right thing to do? Depends ...