Muscle Building Myth: Training For Different Types of Strength

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by Frederick Foresight, Mar 7, 2018.


    Recently during one of my live video seminars HIT trainer Andrew Short jokingly suggested I talk about “speed strength.” I say “jokingly” because he and I and probably most of the people watching know there is no such thing, but a lot of people do believe things like moving quickly, lifting heavy weights, and performing endurance activities require different types of strength and different ways of training to improve them. Fortunately, this isn’t the case and you do not need complex workout programming to improve all of these.

    Your muscles produce force for the primary purpose of controlling your body’s position and movement. If your muscles get stronger they can produce more force, if they get weaker they can produce less.

    The other factors of functional ability support the work done by your muscles. Your bones and connective tissues transmit the force. Your cardiovascular system delivers fuel to and wastes away from yours muscles so they can create the energy required produce force. Your flexibility allows your muscles to move your joints. Skill allows your muscles to produce force in a coordinated and efficient manner.

    How much weight you can lift, hold, or lower under control depends on how much force your muscles can produce. How many times you can lift and lower or how long you can hold a particular weight depends on how much force your muscles can produce. How quickly or “explosively” or fast you can move depends on how much force your muscles can produce.

    These are not different types of strength, they’re just different ways of using your strength in combination with other factors of functional ability.


    Your maximum or limit strength isn’t a specific type of strength, it is just the most force you can produce for a short duration to lift or hold something heavy.

    Your “strength endurance” or local muscular endurance is not a specific type of strength either. The stronger you are, the lower the percentage of effort required to lift a sub maximal weight so the longer you are able to do it.

    There is no such thing as “speed strength” or “explosive strength”, either. If you are stronger you can generate more force thus accelerate more quickly and move faster.

    There is no such thing as “agile strength.” Your ability to move and change direction quickly is depends on a combination of your strength and your skill in the type of movements you are performing, and not a different type of strength.

    Why is this important? Because it means you don’t need different types of training to improve these things; just getting stronger in general will improve all of them. You don’t need to alternate between focusing on “max strength” one week, “strength endurance” the next, and “explosive” strength the week after that. You just need to focus on getting stronger in general and all of these will improve. If you want to optimize your ability to perform an activity or skill you need to combine general exercise for strength with specific practice for skill.
    Slartibartfast and Clubber Lang like this.
  2. Did he mean to say Power instead of strength?

    Strength is amount of force a muscle, or group of muscles, can exert to lift/move something. A one rep maximum test is performed where you find the greatest weight you can lift with proper form. Speed of the movement is not important when testing strength.

    Power is defined as the ability to generate as much force as fast as possible, i.e. speed. It is for movements such as olympic lifts (clean and jerk), swinging a baseball bat, swinging a golf club, running through a tackle, etc. Power does require strength and speed to develop force quickly. The load or resistance must be heavy enough to allow for maximal force to be applied but not so heavy that the exercise is performed too slowly.

    So there is a difference between strength (1 rep max deadlift) and power (clean and jerk).