Ideal muscle strength depends on what works best for you
Are your muscles ready to “go” or just for “show?”
“Gods, I was strong then.” – Robert Baratheon, Game of Thrones
What is the better display of strength, a powerlifter squatting 700 pounds or a gymnast being in constant motion on the uneven bars for four minutes?
In my experience as an athlete, I have competed against opponents who “looked” strong but lacked any noticeable advantage. Other adversaries had much less muscle mass but were a whole lot “stronger” than they looked.
Today, we will see what the difference is between having a muscular appearance and having the ability to use it.
Muscular strength refers to the amount of force a muscle can produce with a single maximal effort. Muscle strength is measured during muscular contraction. The size of your muscle fibers and the ability of nerves to activate muscle fibers are related to muscle strength.
In addition to understanding the definition of muscular strength, it’s also important to understand the benefits of strong muscles. Building muscle strength helps with body alignment, makes performing everyday actions easier, increases metabolism, and relieves stress.
What Is Muscular Strength?
You might think that muscular strength is simply how strong you are. For example, how much you weight you can carry, how many pounds you can lift at the gym or how many push ups you can do during a workout. But a true muscular strength definition is a little bit more complicated than that.
Muscular strength is the maximal force a muscle or muscle group can exert during a contraction.
Muscular endurance. The ability of your muscles to exert force against resistance over a sustained period of time.
Muscular power. The combination of muscular force and the speed of movement
For example, doing a successful push-up test will measure not only your muscular strength, but your endurance and power as well.
In order to build muscular strength, perform a workout routine centered around resistance training. Depending on your goals, there are many different training methods and apparatus that can be used to build muscular strength.
Endurance athletes such as runners or swimmers will typically focus on building muscular endurance by performing bodyweight or lightweight exercises for a high number of sets and repetitions.
Power athletes such as football players and powerlifters choose to lift heavier weights in lower amounts in order to increase the muscle’s ability as movers to lift heavy objects.
Hybrid athletes like basketball players or wrestlers opt instead for a mix of moderate weights for a medium amount of sets and repetitions to utilize muscle strength as well as speed of movements.
Other athletes such as bodybuilders, show less interest in the amount of weight they can lift or the speed of their movements and simply focus on their muscle’s appearance and size.
What is best for me?
If you do not fall under the category of athlete, we recommend you to follow a resistance training program with examples of all types of weight training included. Here is a short resistance circuit that you can try on your own:
Perform three sets of 12 repetitions of the following six exercises:
1. Seated Row
5. Overhead Press
6. Single Leg Deadlift
Are you strong?
The definition of strength applies to the type of strength you are seeking, and that will depend on the event that it is being used. The most important aspect of any muscular strength program is the goal behind the training, and it should be your central focus is designing a workout routine.
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Brandon is the Training Manager of Anytime Fitness Destrehan and has extensive experience working with athletes young and old. After beginning his career at Elmwood Fitness working with individual clients, he started working with high school athletes and running outdoor boot camps. While working with The Fitness Principle at EJGH under Mackie Shilstone, Brandon worked with NFL and MLB athletes…