Muscular strength

Definition

In layman’s language, how we measure muscular strength is by how many pulls, pushups one can do, or how many kgs one can lift. Well, as per science it is quite different.

It is the amount of force produced by muscles with a single maximal effort is known as muscular strength. We can also call it the ability of muscles to produce force against an external resistance( the mass of the body). The size of your muscle fibers and the ability of nerves to activate muscle fibers plays a vital role in the muscular strength of an individual.

Why muscular strength is important?

Now, we have seen the benefits of all of the types of strength specifically. Now, let’s see the importance of it.

  • Makes your body strong enough to perform day-to-day tasks and even perform some heavyweight tasks without getting exhausted/tired.
  • Muscular strength helps you maintain your body shape and weight by burning calories and maintaining the ratio between fat and muscle.
  • It helps boost your mood, energy, and hormones level which would help you to improve your sleeping pattern and quality of sleep.
  • Would help in decreasing the chances of injuries as your body would develop more stability, flexibility, and balance.
  • Helps in improving body posture and helps in relieving back pain.

Types of muscular strength

If you are planning to start lifting weight then this part is important for you as you should know which part you have to focus on particularly. There are 4 muscular strength:-

Absolute Strength

Also known as maximal strength. It is the maximum amount of force an individual can exert in a single rep irrespective/ regardless of his/her weight. In other words, it is the maximum strength one can put at one point in a time. Greater the absolute strength better the relative strength capabilities. The place where it is needed the most is in weight lifting.

It is a saying in the fitness industry “Mass Moves Mass”. The absolute/ maximal strength would be more in people who weigh more. You can say that absolute strength is the most weight an individual can lift in comparison to others.

In order to improve or enhance your absolute strength, you need to do resistance training as it is a result of improved coordination and nervous system adaption. You may increase the training volume and experience more loaded movement even this would help in increasing strength.

Usually, powerlifters and strongman competition people have the highest level of absolute strength.

Benefits of absolute strength

  • Increases an individual’s capability to do tasks such as lifting things, chopping woods without getting tired.
  • Reduces the risk of injury
  • Helps you to maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Lead to healthier, strong muscles and bones.
  • Increases the level of muscle-building hormones.
  • Activates type 2 muscle fibers which are capable of generating high levels of force.

Relative Strength

The maximum strength produced by an individual in comparison to his/her bodyweight. In other words, it is the force generated per unit of body weight. Lightweight people would have higher relative strength.

If neuromuscular efficiency and force production is increased while maintaining or reducing the body mass it would result in higher relative strength. It can be done by doing controlled and strict movement patterns along with weight. If you add weight to the exercise or the set of movements you perform, it would help in increasing relative strength

Benefits of relative strength

  • If you have higher relative strength then you have much more ability to move your body than others
  • Improved neuromuscular strength
  • Improves performance in sports
  • Maximizes motor unit recruitment
  • Maintains the power generator muscle mass

Explosive strength

In explosive energy how quickly you can use your energy is what is considered. It involves less no. of repetitions but heavy and in a short period of time and one may take a long time between those reps. In other words, it is the maximum ability to exert maximum force in a minimum time.

Improve explosive strength

  • Focus on building your speed-strength
  • Try to increase your absolute strength within the same time frame

One has to train oneself keeping in mind that the majority of the training in combining maximum efforts to increase the strength potential of the muscles on the other hand more reps and lightweight would help in improving the speed and stamina.

The movement change from eccentric to a concentric action will help in improving the explosive strength. One of the popular methods to improve is the Plyometrics method.

Benefits

  • Reduces our body response time
  • Activates type 2 muscle fibers
  • Helps to improve the resiliency of muscles and connective tissues
  • Makes us capable of lifting heavier loads
  • Lifting lighter weights at a higher speed not only builds strength but also helps in preventing injury.

Agile Strength

The strength comes into play when an individual decelerates, controls, and generates muscle force in a multiplanar environment. According to Wilson “It is the ability to change directions quickly and powerfully”.

Tasks that require one to move the mass from the ground(taking gravity as a downward force) to multi planes of motion. Example- picking up and carrying a child.

Benefits

  • Helps your body move with ease
  • Increases fluidity in multiple directions
  • Helps in improved body coordination and balance
  • Improves resiliency of connective tissues and muscle which would reduce the chances of injuries like sprain or muscle pulls
  • Helps in improving the performance of specific sports or activities of daily living.

Muscular strength exercises

As the entire world is fighting coronavirus. Therefore it is being requested by and to everyone to stay in their homes safe and avoid going outside till the time it is not necessary. But being in home does not mean that we will distance ourselves from fitness.

Today I will help you with few exercises which you can do at home without any equipment.

Squats

Performing squats helps you pratice balance, helps you in burining fat, activates your core and back and improves circulation. Squats tone, tighten and firm up your body while the major focus is on legs/ booty.

  • Stand straight and open your legs a little bit, toes facing front(enough so that you can bend your legs easily as shown in the picture above).
  • Drive your hips back by bending at the knees and ankle
  • We need to reach a position where we resemble the chair or it should look like we were sitting on a chair and now it has been removed but we are still in the same position(creating a 90degree angle).
  • Then again come up and stand.

Note

  • Make sure that your knees are not going beyond your feet.
  • While squatting keep your heels and toes on the ground, chest up, shoulder back, and chin up while looking straight.

Repeat 25reps X 3-4 sets, you may increase and decrease the no. of reps in a set depending upon your strength.

Step ups

Step- ups is one of the best exercises to burn lower half fat. They help us maintain balance and stability.

  • Stand in front of a knee height bench or a stepper.
  • Keep one foot on the stepper/ bench then through the heel of another foot exert pressure and take your alternative leg up.
  • Take the leg high enough that you come to a position where you are standing on one leg and the other leg is going up to your chest level, if unable to reach that level then try to go as far as you can.
  • Then bring the leg which you lifted high back to the ground.

Repeat 15-20 times each leg that would complete your 1 set, do 3 sets. You may increase/decrease the no. of reps depending upon your strength.

Pushups

One of the foundational and basic exercises requires your upper body strength, core, and lower-body stabilization. You can try different variations of it and each one has a different advantage.

  • Measure the length from your elbow till palm that will the exact position where your hands would be in front of your shoulders.
  • Now, come in planks position, keep your neck neutral and back flat. Make sure your shoulders are rotated back, down too and your legs are straight without any bend.
  • Now, bring your body down by bending your elbows and touch your chest to the ground.
  • Now, exert pressure and come back to the plank position.

Note

  • Try to keep your elbows as close as possible to your body, making sure that it does not go way too far from the body.
  • See straight keeping your neck straight, while going down.
  • Breath in while going down and breath out while coming back to the original position.

Mountain Climber

Need not to go to mountains to do mountain climbers, take advantage of your bodyweight.

  • Come in pushups position.
  • Then start with the right leg. Take/ Drive your right knee up towards your chest or as close as you can bring to your chest.
  • Come back to the normal position immediately. Don’t hold, you need to just touch the chest.

30reps X 3-4 sets depending upon your strength. But make sure that the number of reps in each set are equal.

For more exercises you may refer- Link

Strength endurance

Strength endurance is the ability to act against resistance under the condition of fatigue. It is a specific form of strength that is performed in different activities which require a relatively long duration of muscle tension with a minimum decrease in inefficiency.

Hill sprints, Sled pushes, Assault bike intervals, High volume weight lifting are some examples of strength endurance where a high level of muscle endurance is displayed. Rowing, swimming, and wrestling are some sports that involve strength endurance. In sports, dance, martial arts, and physical activities, strength endurance is the type of strength you require. It depends upon aerobic and anaerobic pathways to fulfill the muscle requirements by providing fuel for contractions. It enhances the ability to perform various functional tasks and activities of daily life.

Bodybuilding works to muscle fatigue that helps in stimulating growth while endurance training does not restrict strength into specific muscles resulting in a leaner body type. Endurance strength is all about how long you can go. When fatigue is reached by 10 to 15 reps it results in muscle growth. Your body requires both aerobic and anaerobic pathways to stay in motion. It helps in developing postural stabilization for a longer time and improves the aerobic capacity of your muscles.

You can test your strength endurance by observing the number of squats or pushups you can do in a minute. The more reps you can do the better your strength endurance is.

Benefits

  • Improved cardiovascular health.
  • Improved performance in sports, dance, and martial arts.
  • The optimal mode of training for fat loss.
  • Great for strength and muscle gain.

Being able to perform a task for a long time without breaking the pattern is progress that takes your fitness to a next level, which is the benefit of working on your strength endurance. You increase the amount of time before you feel fatigued while exercising.

How to work on your strength endurance

Focus on high-rep-low weight workouts that need either your body weight or light weights. These pieces of training can boost your stamina and strength both simultaneously when you involve these workouts in your daily routine. It helps you to work for long hours without experiencing fatigue. By the time you will only get stronger a little.

Types of strength endurance

  • Dynamic or static strength endurance: Dynamic and static strength endurance can be developed by following proper training schedules.

Dynamic strength endurance is correlated with cyclic exercises in which a considerable amount of tension is repeated without interfering throughout the cycle of movement. Acyclic events require maximum power routines with short rest intervals between such as jumping or throwing activities.

Static strength endurance is correlated with relatively long or short-term maintained muscular tension. Each case determines its importance.

  • General and local strength endurance: Both of these strength endurance depends upon the number of muscle groups involved in the activity.

General strength endurance is developed where the large muscle groups are being utilized to power the activity like rowing. In rowing, quads, biceps, triceps, deltoids, gastrocnemius, and latissimus dorsi muscle rule the scene.

A specific muscle group is targeted to improve depending on its use throughout the sport in local strength endurance.

For example, the upper body muscles of the chest and upper back, deltoids, and the triceps for a bench press using body weight for repetitions contest.

Muscular strength frequency

The frequency one should keep to maintain or increase their muscular strength are as follows:-

  • Train your body twice to thrice in a week.
  • Keep at least 48 hours difference between 2 training sessions.
  • You may try to focus on 1 part of your body in a day and can keep on changing every day so that all the parts can be trained properly and will be given an ample amount of time.
  • If you are new then you should not lift more than 60% of your body in 1RM(1Repetition maximum) as your strength will increase with time then you may increase the weight.
  • Being an experienced weight lifter you may go up to 2-4 sets with 8-12 repetitions each, don’t forget to take 2-3 mins rest between 2 sets.
  • If you are focusing on muscular endurance then you may decrease the weight and increase the repetitions. For example- 15-20 reps. 1-2 sets with a weight not more than 50% of your body weight.

Note- The weight and the repetitions mentioned above are the stats with which people go if you are unable to meet these weights and repetitions. It is all good. Everyone is different, has a different body type. We exercise to make ourselves better. Henceforth, ego or aggressions never lift more than required heavyweight as that may lead to complications.

Conclusion

Making a little bit of changes and observing the type of muscular strength can help you achieve your goal easily and quickly. And challenging your body muscles to work harder can help you build muscular strength.