Absolute Strength Rules, Absolutely

The name of the game, regardless of your sport of choice, is absolute strength. It is the most basic expression of strength and can be defined as the maximum amount of force that a muscle can exert - for the pink tank top wearing bros reading this, it’s also known as “how much ya bench?”. The greater the athlete’s maximal strength, the greater the capability for all other types of strengths. Absolute strength is not the only skill required in sports, but it is the #1 weapon in the arsenal of needed skills.

One major myth I must debunk right away is that an athlete must choose between training for absolute strength or training for sport performance. False - and run away from anyone who tells you otherwise...far, far away. Our athletes at Pulse constantly get faster, more explosive and better at their sport, all while getting stronger. An athlete's body will only adapt to the load that is placed on it - maximal loads equal maximal strength. For instance, let’s say a collegiate track athlete comes to Pulse and wants to get faster. What do we do? We prescribe a program that, along with other methods, raises their absolute strength by training above 90% with maximum effort - so in turn they get faster and stronger. It is a ridiculous concept that this is taboo in the performance world and cannot be achieved through optimal training. Strength is the catalyst to most sports, and by no means should it cost you any decrease in sport performance.

Going to practice everyday will help raise strength endurance and aerobic capacity, but absolute strength is left melting away to nothing in the background like a popsicle in the sun. There is no reason both cannot be addressed. Now let’s take the intelligent approach and say some time outside of practice was used to focus on increasing absolute strength. This will also increase the same strength endurance and aerobic capacity that practice does, but will add in the benefit of also raising your work capacity and allowing you to do more work in less time.

More work in less time = Improved sport performance

Athletes must also constantly strive to build up weaknesses and raise their absolute strength because it  lays the foundation for all other strengths (relative strength, speed strength, explosive strength, and strength endurance) to improve. Yes that's right, your endurance is also fueled by absolute strength. The stronger and more prepared you are functionally, the less energy is required to complete a prescribed task (being able to lift 300lbs makes lifting 100lbs easier) If you are strong enough to complete a task using only small amounts of effort, then you will be able to do it faster, easier and longer than someone weaker who has to use greater effort to complete the same task.

Sport-specific skill is also fostered by absolute strength. It is simple to understand why you always need to be getting stronger, if nothing else, it just makes you a more useful human in general. But your attitude and confidence will also get a big upgrade knowing you are more physically dominant than your opponents. I’m a firm believer in the role confidence plays in an athlete's psyche, and few things will positively effect that as much as knowing you are more prepared than your opponent. You must work all parts of your game to become a complete athlete and be strong. Not “hey lets arm wrestle” strong, I'm talking about having that you-dont-have-a-chance-im-the-juggernaut-and-theres-nothing-you-can-do-about-it strength. Try that mindset on for size, it will make your life, and athletic career, much easier.

Quit making excuses on why you don’t need to be strong and start training with bad intentions. Yes it’s hard, and yes it will hurt...but not more than losing. I guarantee that it will all be worth it when gameday rolls around and your staring into opponents eyes knowing they wont be able to stop you.

 

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