January 08, 2023 2 min read

When discussing strength as it relates to physical performance, there are two primary concepts that need to be considered: absolute strength and relative strength. Understanding the difference between the two is important for optimizing any athlete’s performance. In this blog, we'll explain what absolute strength and relative strength are, why they're important for performance, and how you can use them to improve your athletes’ results.

What Is Absolute Strength?

Absolute strength is defined as the maximum amount of force an athlete can generate at a single point in time. This is typically measured by tests such as 1-rep maxes or maximal isometric contractions. It's important to note that absolute strength does not depend on body size; it's based solely on the athlete's ability to generate force without taking into account weight or size. For example, a lightweight lifter may have a higher absolute strength than a heavier lifter even though the heavier lifter has more mass.

What Is Relative Strength?

Relative strength is defined as the amount of force an athlete can generate per unit of body weight or cross-sectional area. This measure considers both size and force production ability, so it's often used to compare athletes' performances relative to their size. For example, if athletes A weighs 200lbs & squats 300lbs & athlete B weighs 150lbs & squats 300lbs, athlete B has higher relative strength than athlete A, because they were able to produce more force per pound or kilogram of body weight/area.

Why Are They Important for Performance?

Both absolute and relative strengths are important for improving physical performance because they give coaches and trainers insight into what type of training protocols should be used with each individual athlete. For example, if an athlete has a high level of absolute strength but low levels of relative strength then they may need to focus on explosive exercises rather than trying to build up their 1-rep max. On the other hand, if an athlete has low levels of absolute strength but high levels of relative strength then they may need focus more on building muscle mass to increase their maximum force production capability. Knowing these metrics can help coaches customize training programs for each individual athlete in order get the most out of their performance capabilities.

 

In conclusion, understanding both absolute and relative strengths are important for optimizing physical performance in any sport or activity because they provide insight into what type of training protocols should be used with each individual athlete to maximize their potential results. Understanding these concepts can help coaches create personalized plans that will help their athletes reach their goals faster and more effectively than ever before!

Brad Becca
Brad Becca


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