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Health and Fitness News

Choosing Your Strength

What kind of strength you want should determine the kind of training you do.

Strength training is an integral part of a fitness program. Building strong muscles and bones should be a priority no matter your goals, and strength training is the best way to get there. Many people begin a strength-training routine with the goal of increasing strength and building and toning muscle. What most people don’t realize is that there are different types of strength, and the type of strength you desire should shape your training.

For example, slow acceleration against heavy resistance will lead to one kind of strength, while rapid or constant acceleration against a smaller resistance will develop another. Before starting a strength training program, determine which of the following types of strength you want to achieve. Then work with your trainer to design a training program that fits your goals.

Maximum Strength

The greatest amount of muscle force that can be acted upon an external resistance is your maximum strength. A muscle or group of muscles must gather all their reserves to create a maximum effect. This type of strength is used by bodybuilders and strongman competitors to do powerlifting and exercises such as deadlifts, bench presses, or squats.

To increase maximum strength, focus on compound and isolation exercises using weight machines or free weights with high amounts of weight.

Agile Strength

Agile strength is the ability to control, produce, and slow down muscle force in a changing environment. This is the type of strength you need for everyday activities or moving objects from one location to another. With agile strength, it’s easier to perform everyday tasks like carry heavy bags of groceries or do yard work with a lower risk of injury.

The use of cable machines and free weights like medicine balls and dumbbells are the best way to develop agile strength. Practice multiplanar movements with low to moderate intensity.

Speed Strength

Speed strength refers to the greatest amount of force able to be made in a short period of time while moving at a high speed. This type of strength is helpful for swinging a golf club, running sprints, or throwing a baseball. With speed strength, you lower your reaction time, which is essential in athletic performance.

Workouts that increase speed strength should focus on bodyweight exercises done at a high speed.

Strength Endurance

Endurance measures the ability to maintain a consistent force for a long period of time or during physically challenging activities. Strength endurance is useful for long workouts, running a marathon, or competing in a triathlon.

To increase strength endurance, focus on high reps of a variety of isolation, compound, or bodyweight exercises done at low to moderate intensity.

Starting Strength

Starting strength is your force at the start of a movement without prior momentum or warm-up. This is especially important for track or football athletes.
Speed strength is increased with exercises that focus on initial force movements that begin from a stationary position.

Explosive Strength

Similar to maximum strength, explosive strength refers to the maximum amount of force applied in the smallest amount of time. Explosive strength may come in handy if you need to jump out of the way of danger. Exercises such as the snatch and the clean-and-jerk incorporate explosive strength. A shot-put thrower may also benefit from this type of strength.

Single-joint exercises done at the fastest speed possible are used to build explosive strength.

Relative Strength

Relative strength compares the strength of individuals based on their bodyweight. If there are two people who weigh the same amount, but one is able to lift or move more weight, then there is a difference of relative strength.

To increase your relative strength, incorporate all different types of strength-training exercises.