Thinking About Strength

In athlete development, with the obvious exception of the preparation of a weight lifter or a power lifter, strength training should be a means to an end. At times it will be the absolute focal point of training and at other times it will play a subservient role. It is important to be constantly aware of where it fits and how it supports and interacts with other training components.

Related Content: Read other elite coaches’ thoughts on strength training in our roundup of quotes and links from this week.

In order to see things differently it is imperative to broaden the focus and be constantly aware of the concept of the spectrum approach to strength training. The spectrum encompasses a range from very heavy and slow movements to light fast ballistic movements. As the athlete moves through the spectrum the goal is strength that the athlete can use, strength they can apply to their respective sport. It takes at least .6 of a second to generate maximum strength. Most sport performance takes place in less that .3 of a second. The main goal is to reconcile the difference. Sometimes this is very measurable in terms of pounds lifted, number of reps, etc.; at other times it will manifest itself in less tangible ways. In order to develop appropriate applicable strength requires a vigilant approach so one does not get caught up in one method. It requires a thorough understanding of the demands of the sport from strength and power perspective, the pattern of injuries and the qualities of the individual athlete.

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