Strength and Fitness - The Impartial Guide to strength, fitness, endurance and nutrition

Types Of Strength

Muscle strength definition: muscular strength can be defined as the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to generate force to overcome a resistance in one single effort.

Different Types of Strength:

General Strength - refers to the strength of the whole muscular system. General Strength training should provide the foundation for the whole strength programme and a low level of general strength may limit progression and increase the risk of injury.

Specific Strength - refers to the strength of the particular muscles that will be used in a specific activity and can be referred to as Sport Specific Strength.

Maximum Strength - refers to the maximum force that can be generated during one maximal effort regardless of bodyweight or the time required. Maximum strength is often measured through an athlete’s one repetition maximum (1RM).

Concentric Strength – occurs when a muscle shortens to overcome resistance e.g. the lifting (positive) phase of a bicep curl or pull-up – the muscle contracts in order to lift the weight.

Eccentric Strength – occurs when a muscle lengthens while under tension e.g. the lowering (negative) phase of a bicep curl or pull-up. Eccentric muscle contractions can support greater resistance than concentric contractions.

Static Strength/Isometric Strength - occurs when a muscle generates force without lengthening or shortening of the muscle fibres. Examples include gripping an object or the plank exercise.

Muscular Endurance/strength endurance – this refers to a muscles ability to perform work over a prolonged period of time. Individuals with greater strength endurance tend to have a higher percentage of slow twitch muscle fibres.

Power - refers to the maximum amount of force that can be applied per unit of time. Power is the product of both strength and speed. Power requires the ability to quickly recruit and contract muscle fibres and as such improvements in strength do not always result in increased power – e.g. improved strength of slow twitch muscle fibres is unlikely to lead to any significant changes in muscle power.

Absolute Strength - refers to the maximum amount of force that can be applied regardless of body weight.

Relative Strength - refers to a ratio between an athlete’s absolute strength and his or her body weight. Relative Strength is important when considering athletic performance in sports such as cycling, boxing etc.