The physical strength of a person depends not only on the size of the muscles. In a powerlifter-bodybuilder pair (with the same volume of biceps and triceps), the first will be 60% stronger than the second.
Strength or Endurance: Which is More Important?
The weightlifter is superior to the athlete in physical strength, but over a long distance he may not reach the finish line. He simply does not have enough endurance, and without it he will not be able to develop strength. The athlete will not withstand intense training loads.
Strength is overcoming external resistance, moving a heavy weight from one point to another. The higher the resistance to be overcome, the stronger the person. Such loads are useful for building muscle.
Endurance is the long-term performance of certain actions. A good example is running a marathon for 40 kilometers and beyond, or the ability to hold the bar for 40-60 minutes.
The conclusion is obvious: physical strength and endurance are interconnected, both abilities need to be trained. A pile of muscle is of little use if the athlete has endurance problems.
6 components of physical strength
The development of physical strength is influenced by biomechanical and psychological factors, the state of the central nervous system.
1. Tendon stiffness
A tendon is a tissue that connects muscles and bones and sets joints in motion. A stiff tendon prevents the muscle from contracting before the joint moves. Both processes take place simultaneously.
If the tendon is not rigid, then the muscles contract faster than the joints change position. Contraction speed increases and muscle strength decreases. To improve it, you need to increase the stiffness of the tendons. This is facilitated by power loads with a large weight – up to 90% of the maximum.
2. Tendon thickness
Muscles grow until the tendons can withstand external resistance. Tendon thickness is a genetic factor, like height, ear size, and skull shape. It is almost impossible to change it forcibly. The increase will be insignificant, even if you exercise for a long time and regularly.
Some athletes take psychotropic drugs to force the muscles to contract intensely. This is dangerous – the tendon can come off the bone.
3. Nervous system
Brain activity affects the physical strength of a person. The brain sends a signal to muscle contraction. Further, this impulse is transmitted to the spinal cord, and from it – along the neuronal fibers to the muscles.
The strength of the athlete is proportional to the volume of contracted fibers. An untrained person will not be able to strain even 80-85% of muscle fibers. With regular power loads, this figure increases.
Studies have shown that in three weeks of regular heavy weight training (80% or more of a one-rep maximum), the number of contractile fibers increases by 2.35%.
Light weight training (30% of 1-rep max) has almost no effect – fiber involvement increases by 0.15%.
4. Muscle elasticity
The elasticity of the muscles is the same rubber band. The more you stretch it, the more force it will compress. The better the muscles are stretched, the more intense they contract and the higher the physical strength of a person.
Some people have elastic muscles by nature, others can stretch them by doing special exercises.
5. Types of muscle fibers
There are two types of fibers:
- White (slow) – they have more mitochondria, more intense blood supply. These fibers are responsible for endurance.
- Red (fast) are included in the work with short-term explosive loads. By training them, the athlete increases the size of the muscles.
The ratio of fibers is individual, it is inherent in a person genetically. This explains the different predisposition of people to power and aerobic loads.
6. Number of muscle fibers
Over the years, there are fewer red fibers in the muscles, and more white ones. This is a consequence of the transformation, which cannot be influenced. Their natural hyperplasia is impossible: 3-5% is the maximum that the human body is capable of.
How to develop strength
A well-chosen training program helps to develop physical strength. It includes:
- strength exercises;
- aerobic and anaerobic endurance loads.
Training is aimed at developing several types of strength:
- Relative – this is work with your own weight (push-ups, plank, hanging leg raises). This workout lasts from half an hour to an hour.
- Absolute is exercises with weights. The maximum weight reaches 95% of the athlete’s own weight. A one-repetition complex is performed, the number of repetitions is from 8 to 20.
- Explosive – during training, the athlete develops maximum effort in a short period of time. This is 4-6 explosive movements instead of one slow one with a weight of up to 80% of your own.
- Fast – this type of physical strength is trained by performing as many movements as possible in one set. Usually, 15-20 reps with weights up to 50% of your own weight.
Strength training is inherently traumatic. This is a serious reason to think about taking out insurance in case of sprains, tendon ruptures, fractures and other accidents.
Rapid physical strength exercises also develop endurance, but weight lifting alone is not enough. Training should include aerobic and anaerobic loads.
Aerobic – these are exercises on a treadmill, orbit track, step platform, walking. It is important that the speed is constant, and the pulse rate does not exceed 150 beats per minute.
Anaerobic is a more difficult stage of training, as it is performed in a ragged rhythm and with a constantly changing load. The athlete is in constant mental stress, the pulse is above 150 beats per minute.
After anaerobic endurance training, the body will need 2-3 days to recover. Tempo at the limit of capacity is only allowed for those athletes who have a healthy heart, strong joints and strong muscles.