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     Fitness Tips For 6/22/2011

Types of Strength

By Montana Axle

What is Strength?

Strength is the ability of muscles or a group of muscles to generate
force. You can't get anymore simple than that.

Limit Strength

Limit strength is the amount of musculoskeletal force you can generate 
for a maximum effort. When you are "maxing out" you are testing your 
limit strength. This is what powerlifting and weightlifting is based 

Absolute Strength

Absolute strength is the same as limit strength with one HUGE 
difference: limit strength is attained while aided by a work producing 
aid such as mind power, supplements, steroids, etc. Absolute strength 
is strength achieved with no aids. Absolute strength is the maximal 
amount of force generated during a single effort.

Relative Strength

I really place an enormous emphasis on relative strength. Anyone who 
competes in a sport that has weight classes should be concerned with 
relative strength as well. If two people can press the same weight 
overhead, but one is lighter than the other, then the lighter one 
has greater relative strength.

Relative strength is most important in sports that have weight 
classes or sports in which an athlete must overcome their bodyweight 
to perform a motor task (long jumping, sprinting and so forth). There
are other sports in which bodyweight beyond a definite point is 
detrimental to performance (gymnastics, rock climbing). Strength can 
be developed by targeting the muscles or the nervous system.

There are athletes who will have almost no choice but to compromise 
relatively strength. Absolute strength is of most importance for 
athletes such as football linemen, shot putters and even sumo 
wrestlers, for example. I would also suggest using a combination of
nervous system training and bodybuilding training. The bodybuilding 
training can be used for mass and the nervous system training is best
used for getting the most form the newly-built mass.

For those athletes at their ideal bodyweight and/or who cannot afford
to compromise their relative strength, bodybuilding-type training is 
not recommended unless they are intentionally trying to move into a 
higher weight class. Strength training builds strength through neural
 adaptations rather than the increase of a muscle's cross section. 
Multiple sets of low repetitions are best for strength building. 

As you become larger... begin to lose your relative strength. If your goal is to add 
bodyweight, make damned sure that it is functional bodyweight. I've
said it once and I'll say it again, adding bodyweight for the sake of 
adding bodyweight is wrong. Rapid weight gain can be explained by two 
phenomena: you are a beginner OR you are becoming FAT. Rapid weight 
gain, unless you are underweight, is not cute. "Bulking up" is not 

There is something that must be mentioned and it deals with relative 
strength. Although smaller lifters often have greater relative 
strength, but not always, the larger athletes invariably have greater
limit strength. For example, there are many world-class power lifters 
in the lighter weight classes with much greater pound-for-pound 
strength their larger brethren in the heavier weight classes. This 
being said, no sub-200 pound human being will be able to develop the 
same amount of absolute strength as a superheavyweight lifter. The 
same thing applies to weightlifting as well. Relative strength is 
not everything.

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Types of Strength

Neither nor the authors of this publication assume any liability for the information contained herein. The Information contained herein reflects only the opinion of the author and is in no way to be considered medical advice. Specific medical advice should be obtained from a licensed health care practitioner. Consult your physician before you begin any nutrition, exercise, or dietary supplement program.

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