How Strong Are You Really? – The 7 Different Types Of Strength
Its one thing to look the part in relation to your fitness, but is your body effective at actually doing what you want it to? It’s not unusual for someone to look like Anthony Joshua, but give them certain exercises and they struggle. This is due to the fact that the idea of strength is actually more complex than you may realise. In fact, there are 7 different variations on the way strength can be assessed. In this blog post, we will be looking at the different types of strength you can obtain and the ways you can improve these.
The term Agile Strength refers to an individual’s ability to control and move an object. This mainly affects your ability to move a mass whilst also negotiating the force gravity, for example loading heavy boxes onto a lorry. With many traditional gym exercises, there is only one range of motion. As a result, functional and mobile strength movements are neglected. Agile strength can be improved upon by employing free weight exercises instead of machines (Dumbbells, Kettlebells and Slam balls) and combining movements to make one rep. You will notice that day to day tasks are easier and your sports performance could see a progress too.
When mentioning Strength Endurance, we are describing the body’s ability to maintain output for a given amount of time. Strength endurance is highly affected by the body’s aerobic efficiency. An individual needs to be able to supply the working muscles with sufficient oxygen and nutrients whilst removing metabolic waste effectively. To measure your own Strength endurance, see how many reps you can do of an exercise that is moderate for you, until you fail. Strength endurance can be improved by incorporating more compound movements to your workouts, whilst putting more emphasis on the number of reps than weight. Ways in which improving Strength Endurance can be advantageous include the ability to maintain good posture for longer and higher aerobic capacity.
Explosive strength is how quickly an individual can produce the maximum amount of force their body is capable of. Think of when a boxer throws a haymaker punch or when a sprinter explodes out of the starting block, these are examples of explosive movement. Improving your explosive strength reduces your reaction times and can benefit how resilient your muscles and connective tissues are. To refine your explosive strength quick, powerful movements are required such as Plyometrics and Slam ball exercises.
This is simply the maximum amount of force that can be produced by each movement. This is the type of strength that average Body Builders have mastered and is probably the most commonly used measure of strength. A benefit of building this type of strength is that it is unsurprisingly the best way to increase muscle mass and bone density. To increase your maximum strength, it is beneficial to incorporate heavy compound exercises such squatting, deadlifting, or bench pressing.
Relative strength could arguably be the purest measure of strength as the amount of force produced is measured in relation to the individuals body weight. This is the type of strength that sports men and women will look to improve the most. Relative strength can be improved using most strength building techniques as long as the individual’s bodyweight is maintained. A way in which this can be describe is like this, imagine two boxers are weighing in at the exact same weight before a fight. They are then told to do as many pull-ups there and then on the spot. The one who can do the most pull-ups will most likely have the better relative strength (at least in relation to this movement). So, in short, relative strength is how strong you are in relation to your weight.
This is slightly different to explosive strength because whereas explosive strength is how quickly you can reach your max strength, Speed strength is simply how fast you can do a movement. Think of two people, one has more explosive strength and the other has more speed strength. If they are both having a foot race with a heavy weight on their backs, the person with more explosive strength has an advantage. However, if this weight is removed, the one with the speed strength will have the advantage. With this in mind, to build speed strength you should lower the weight of your exercise and focus on doing it as fast as possible.
This is an individual’s ability to produce their desired amount of force to carry out a task from a stationary position. So, think of 2 people, if you ask both to simply stand up from a seated position as fast as they can, this is a test of the Starting Strength. To improve this focus on using heavier weights but concentrate on your range of motion to ensure that you are controlled and stable to begin with and after.
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