Strength, a misundertood topic in the movement universe.
The ones who are not familiarized with a physical practice tend to label some people strong by looking to the overall volume of their bodies. Some people label themselves as strong because it’s easier for them to carry weights. Some athletes think that their discipline is the one that develops strength to a higher degree. Let me talk about these myths.
To solve one big mess, let me talk about a training principle: specificty.
- Strength is context-specific;
- Strength is vector-specific;
- Strength is ROM-specific;
- Strength is speed-specific;
- Strength is technique-specific;
- Strength is tempo-specific;
- Strength can be developed by interacting with the physical envrionement, objects and other people;
By recognizing this, we all should look to strength is a vast concept that can and is manifested in a million ways. Perhaps we should stop to compare strength levels beetween people who don’t share the same practices. We are all different and our body adapts to the stress we impose on it – SAID principle (Specific adaptations to an imposed demand). So carrying weights will make you strong in carrying weights. Practicing a sport will make you stronger in that sport. One thing we should know: Strength transfer beetween tasks or contexts is very subtile. If you become stronger in a certain context doesn’t mean necessarly that you will transfer those gains to another context. The body is not easily fooled.
To solve another problem, let’s talk about what influences strength in a more physiological way:
- Metabolic factors (energy substrates);
- Muscular factors (volume, pennation angle, Cross-sectional area; Fiber typology…);
- Neural factors (intramuscular and intermuscular coordination);
- Internal state factors (motivation, distress and fatigue levels);
These are the main factors influencing strength production. What does it mean? Muscular factors are one piece of it, not the only one. Muscle volume represents a small contribuition and it may even be detrimental to rapid force production, to some degree. So, yes, a person who has a big muscular volume may be efficient in some contexts and inefficient in others. It take us again to the specificity principle.
In Origo, we like to approach strength as a big universe and we try to improve our strength status by exposing ourselves to different situations so we can develop a body that knows how to cope within different conditions/constraints. It’s how we approach it, in a holistic way. We are humble enough to not characterize ourselves as strong people. Strength is a good building block of our practice but not the only one, so we are always shifting our attention towards another human qualities that tend to be neglected in the physical practice. Strength is the mother-capactiy of any animal but it doesn’t work in isolation.
Be strong but be humble. The world is made of diversity – respect that.