what is the difference between absolute strength and relative strength?

what is the difference between absolute strength and relative strength?

Written by Stefan Ianev (Clear Well being Analysis & Growth Specialist)

Relative power refers back to the skill to supply maximal pressure relative to your body weight. This differs from absolute power which is the flexibility to supply most pressure regardless of physique weight.

You're reading: what is the difference between absolute strength and relative strength?

For example, suppose you had two people as follows:

Particular person A Physique Weight – 100kg Max Squat – 180kg

Particular person B Physique Weight – 80kg Max Squat – 160kg

By way of absolute power, particular person A is stronger than particular person B on the squat as a result of they’ll carry extra weight, i.e. 180kg vs 160kg.

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Nevertheless, by way of relative power, particular person B is stronger as a result of they’ll squat twice their body weight whereas particular person A can solely squat 1.8 instances their body weight.

In most sports activities, relative power is extra fascinating that absolute power, not just for athletes who’re sure to competing in a weight class, but additionally for athletes that have to displace their very own body weight. That features all sports activities with working and leaping.

Contemplate this for a second, if two athletes each had equal energy of their legs, the lighter athlete would be capable of displace their physique additional when working and leaping as a result of they should overcome much less resistance. The heavier athlete would wish to supply extra pressure to displace their physique weight the identical distance because the lighter athlete.

As well as, the heavier athlete would wish to soak up better touchdown forces, which might put extra stress on their joints. Even from a drop top of 60 cm for instance, floor response forces of two.38 to 4.91 instances physique weight have been reported (1).

Additionally, extra muscle hypertrophy modifications the pennation angle of the muscle fibers which reduces the rate of contraction. Subsequently, extra hypertrophy can gradual athletes down, regardless of the additional weight they should displace. In the event you discover sprinters right this moment are loads leaner and fewer muscular than sprinters from a few many years in the past.

So how does an athlete go about attaining relative power? How does coaching for relative power differ from coaching for absolute power?

The first distinction is within the depth and quantity. When coaching for absolute power you may prepare throughout a broader vary of intensities and repetition ranges. Usually, when coaching for absolute power you’d use between 80-100% of your 1RM for 1 to eight reps per set. It will will let you maximize power by rising hypertrophy and bettering neurological effectivity.

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When coaching for relative power, you’d use between 85-100% of you 1RM for 1 to five reps per set. It will will let you enhance neurological effectivity and in addition to bettering structural diversifications akin to elevated tendon stiffness, whereas limiting muscle hypertrophy.

By improved neurological effectivity we imply:

  1. Elevated motor unit recruitment
  2. Elevated motor unit synchronization
  3. Elevated motor unit firing frequency (fee coding)

By way of muscle hypertrophy, a better quantity of labor by way of the full variety of reps approaching failure could also be required with the intention to expose the muscle groups to mechanical loading for a adequate period. Research have proven that hypertrophy is comparable for units of anyplace from 6 to 25 reps on a per set foundation (2). Nevertheless, it seems that for units of 5 reps or much less, extra complete units should be carried out to realize the identical hypertrophic impact (2,3).

This recommend that for rising relative power, athletes ought to carry out fewer than 5 reps per set, restrict the full units per muscle group to five units or much less, and keep away from coaching to failure. It will assist be certain that athletes receive the specified neurological diversifications and structural diversifications of the tendons, with out accumulating an excessive amount of quantity to extend hypertrophy.

Equally, if no more vital, athletes coaching for relative power ought to preserve their caloric consumption barely under upkeep to keep away from placing on body weight, as a result of even at a decrease quantity, there may be going to be some hypertrophy happening when coaching with close to maximal hundreds.

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  1. Niu W, Feng T, Jiang C, Zhang M. Peak vertical floor response pressure throughout two-leg touchdown: a scientific overview and mathematical modeling [published correction appears in Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:941923]. Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:126860. doi:10.1155/2014/126860
  1. Schoenfeld BJ, Grgic J, Ogborn D, Krieger JW. Power and Hypertrophy Diversifications Between Low- vs. Excessive-Load Resistance Coaching: A Systematic Assessment and Meta-analysis. J Power Cond Res. 2017 Dec;31(12):3508-3523. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002200. PMID: 28834797.
  1. Schoenfeld BJ, Ratamess NA, Peterson MD, Contreras B, Sonmez GT, Alvar BA. Results of various volume-equated resistance coaching loading methods on muscular diversifications in well-trained males. J Power Cond Res. 2014 Oct;28(10):2909-18. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000480. PMID: 24714538.