Strength is the Key

Strength is the mother of all qualities and provides the foundation for athletic success across sports of varied duration. A stronger athlete will not only be able to rapidly apply far greater forces than their weaker counterparts but they will also have the ability to maintain higher power outputs. This is because they will have a greater strength reserve and are able to potentially work at a lower relative intensity.

Take the NFL Combine Bench Press test as an example. Here all players perform as many reps as possible consecutively at 225 pounds / 100 kilograms. The best performers here always will usually be the big boys who have a bigger 1 rep max. This ensures that working at the relatively lighter weight of 100kg feels relatively easier and they are able to produce higher force for longer. This translates in more reps and in turn greater strength endurance.

However how much strength is required is always context specific. A powerlifter will always pursue continued strength gains as they can take as long as required to maximally move a load. However for many athletes they will typically only need to reach a certain strength threshold to excel. This is because once sufficient strength is reached it comes down to how quickly can they apply force within the context of their sport. Many sports simply require rapid movements and there isn’t enough time to reach maximal strength outputs in this context.

For the physique athlete strength gains are a great indicator of continued progress but again it isn’t clear cut how much strength is required. Sufficient strength is most definitely integral as it allows far greater “damage” to be down to our body promoting remodelling and adaptation. However it also comes down to genetics, diet and the ability to recruit and fatigue muscle fibres.