Strength is an essential component of all human performance. It’s development is something that shouldn’t be neglected- Yuri Verkhoshansky a.k.a. some really smart russian dude.
Strength simply put is a muscle’s ability to generate force. I’d argue that strength is one of the most important of all fitness characteristics. Your ability to produce force is something that will be tested throughout the entirety of your life. Did you pick your kid up off the ground, carry some groceries, shovel some dirt, lift a box up off the ground and put it on a shelf, or go and lift something at the gym today? If so, you applied force. Before we can talk about why that’s important we first must address two common types of strength, absolute strength and relative strength.
Absolute Strength describes the total amount of force an athlete can produce, regardless of bodyweight or size. The athlete who can lift the largest amount of weight has the highest absolute strength.
Relative Strength refers to the amount of strength an athlete has when compared to his body weight. In a sport like powerlifting we can compare relative strength across multiple weight classes. We can measure the amount of force a 100kg athlete is able to create and the amount of force an 83kg athlete can create. If they are both capable of creating the same amount of force, i.e. deadlifting 180kg, the lighter athlete would be more efficient and from a relative standpoint, stronger.
Now what if the heavier athlete can do more pull-ups than the lighter athlete? If we were measuring their strength based off of their pull-up performance we would then say that the heavier athlete is relatively stronger.
Why is this all important?
I don’t feel that we value our own strength enough in this world. Strength and the word heavy are both relative terms that often get tossed around like they are absolute terms. As a society we often get caught up in looking at the absolute numbers that people lift and forget that what is strong for you is just as important as what is strong for me.
Lifting and moving the heaviest relative loads are often the best ways to develop strength. So next time you go to load that bar up, remember that regardless of what the absolute load is on someone else’s bar versus your bar you’re both applying the necessary load to drive further adaptations.
Let’s get strong, together.
If you’re looking to get stronger contact us today to see how we can come up with a program for you to address your specific goals.