Strength is one of the main characteristics of human abilities, along with speed, endurance, flexibility, and so on. Thanks to muscular strength a person can resist forceful influences on the body from the outside, to lift weights, to overcome obstacles, etc. Strength endurance makes it possible to overcome external resistance for a long period of time or to maintain a sedentary body position. In this paper, we will disclose all of the above concepts, explain the physiological features of muscle work during physical activity, and describe the structure of human strength ability.
In today’s world, loads on the human body are very high, even in everyday life. Therefore, it is necessary to develop various muscle groups and train their strength. The relevance of the work is that we offer various methods of development of human strength abilities. Using these techniques can not only increase muscular strength and strength endurance, but also to build muscle mass, develop speed and strength movement. This will help to overcome everyday stress on the body and improve the well-being of everyone who uses these methods.
Strength as a human physical quality. Structure of strength abilities
Strength is a person’s ability to overcome external resistance or to counteract it through muscular effort. One of the most important aspects that determine muscle strength is the muscle’s mode of action.
If there are only two muscle reactions to stimuli – shortening and isometric muscle tension – the results of the exerted effort vary depending on the mode in which the muscle works. If, when overcoming any resistance, muscles contract and shorten, such muscle work is called overcoming (concentric).
Muscles that work against some resistance may also lengthen under tension, for example, by holding a very heavy load. In this case their work is called yielding (eccentric). The overcoming and inferior modes of muscle work are combined under the name of dynamic. Muscle contraction under constant tension or external load is called isotonic.
During isotonic muscle contraction, not only the magnitude of its contraction depends on the load applied, but also its rate: the less is the load, the greater isotonic contraction rate. When moving, a person often displays strength without a change in muscle length. This mode of their work is called isometric, or static, in which the muscles show their maximum strength. On the whole, isometric mode is the most unfavorable for the organism due to the fact that excitation of nerve centers, which experience a very high load, is quickly replaced by inhibitory protective process, and tense muscles, squeezing blood vessels, prevent normal blood supply, and the work efficiency quickly falls down. When the muscle length is forcibly increased in inferior movements, the strength can greatly exceed the maximum isometric strength of the person.
This can manifest itself, for example, during a landing from a relatively high height, in the shock-absorption phase of pushback in jumps, etc.
The force developed in the inferior mode of operation in different movements depends on the speed: the higher the speed, the greater the force. Muscles generate less force than in the static and yielding modes by contracting in the overcoming mode. There is an inversely proportional relationship between force and speed of contraction.In pedagogical characterization of human strength qualities, the following varieties are distinguished:
- Maximum isometric (static) strength is an indicator of the strength exhibited in holding for a certain period of time the maximum loads or resistance with maximum muscle tension.
- Slow dynamic (bench press) strength, manifested, for example, during the movement of objects of great mass, when speed is almost irrelevant, and the exerted effort reaches maximum values.
- Speed dynamic force is characterized by the ability of a person to move large (submaximal) weights in a limited time with acceleration below the maximum.
- “Explosive” strength is the ability to overcome resistance with maximum muscular tension in the shortest possible time. With the “explosive” character of muscular effort, the developed accelerations reach the maximum possible values.
- Absorptive power is characterized by the development of force in a short time in the inferior mode of muscular work, for example, when landing on the support in various kinds of jumps, or when overcoming obstacles, in hand-to-hand combat, etc.
Strength endurance is defined by the ability to maintain the necessary strength characteristics of movements for a long time. Among the varieties of power work endurance there is dynamic work endurance and static endurance. Dynamic work endurance is defined as the ability to maintain efficiency during professional activity connected with the lifting and moving of weight and with overcoming external resistance for a long period of time. Static endurance is the ability to maintain static forces and keep a sedentary body position or stay for a long time in a room with limited space. Lately, there has been singled out in methodical literature another strength characteristic: the ability to switch from one mode of muscular work to another when it is necessary to show the maximum or submaximal level of each strength property. To develop this ability, which depends on the coordination abilities of a person, a special training orientation is required.
Methods of Strength Skills Development
By their nature, all exercises are divided into three main groups: common, regional and local impact on muscle groups.
Among those exercises of the total effect are those involving at least 2/3 of the total muscle volume, regional exercises from 1/3 to 2/3, local exercises involving less than 1/3 of the total muscle volume. The orientation of power exercises is mainly determined by the following components
- the type and character of the exercise;
- the size of a load or resistance
- the number of repetitions of the exercise;
- speed of performing the overcoming or relinquent movements;
- the tempo of the exercise;
- the nature and duration of the rest intervals between the approaches.
An athlete’s maximal strength capacity is not only related to maximal effort, but also largely determines the ability to work on endurance. The higher the strength reserve, the higher the rate at which he can perform dynamic work with standard loads in the range of 50 to 90% of the maximum force the muscles are capable of showing. In sports practice, several methods are used to develop maximal strength.
The maximal effort method is aimed at increasing the “starting” number of motor units and improving the synchronous operation of motor units, but it has little effect on plastic metabolism and metabolic processes in muscles, because the duration of its effect on muscles is very short.
The repeated effort method consists in selecting such weights with which an athlete is able to perform from 6-8 to 10-12 repetitions in one attempt. In such an exercise, each subsequent strain with submaximal weight is a stronger training stimulus in comparison with the previous one, it will contribute to recruitment of additional motor units. The number of repetitions when using the repetitive maximum method is sufficient to activate protein synthesis.
Velocity (dynamic) strength is manifested by fast movements against relatively little external resistance. To develop the velocity force, exercises with weights, high jumps, jumping exercises and complexes of the above-mentioned training means are used. Weights are used both for local development of separate muscle groups and in perfection of an integral structure of sports exercises or professional actions.
Two ranges of weights are mainly used:
- with weight up to 30% of maximum – in cases when in a trained movement or action insignificant external resistance is overcome and primary development of starter muscle power is required;
- with weight 30-70% of maximum – in the case when in the trained movement or action the external resistance is overcome and a higher level of “accelerating” force is required. This range of loads is characterized by relatively proportional development of power, speed and “explosive” abilities.
Exercises with burdens in the development of dynamic – speed force are used repeatedly in different variations. For the predominant development of starting muscle strength, weighting of 60-65% of the maximum is used. To develop speed force it is necessary to strive for maximal possible muscle relaxation between each movement in an exercise, and between their series you must include swinging movements, active rest with exercises on muscle relaxation and shaking.
To develop “explosive” arm strength, training with medium weights of maximum single contraction speed, as well as high-speed isokinetic training with medium resistance and setting the maximum possible single movement speed can be used. Intensity of muscle tension and volitional effort must be such that an athlete could perform not more than 10 movements in one approach. The tempo of the movement is arbitrary. Development of “explosive” strength of the legs is carried out through jumping exercises to the maximum height of jumping out and with the help of “shock” – plyometric method, which consists in maximum jumping out up after a jump in depth from an elevation. The athlete starts pushing away without waiting for the cushioning on landing to finish. The shock method is based on the use of the unconditioned reflex “contraction after stretching” – the quickly stretched muscle shows a much greater force during contraction than during the movement without prior stretching. This activates exceptionally fast motor units.
The method of working in inferior mode with supermaximal loads has been successfully used by swimmers in a number of countries to increase maximal strength. In such training, weights exceeding the value of the athlete’s maximum static force by 30-40% can be used. The time for lowering the weight is 4-6s and the time for lifting with the help of partners or coach is 2-3s. Number of repetitions in one attempt reaches 8-12, and the number of attempts per session – 3-4 times. The size of the load stimulates an increase in the “starting” number of motor units, and the duration of the strain contributes to the recruitment of new motor units in the course of the exercise. This mode activates regulatory and structural adaptation in both fast and slow muscle fibers.
The isometric method of strength development consists in manifestation of maximal tension in static postures for 5-10 s with tension building up in the last 2-3 s. The leading training stimulus is not so much the magnitude as the duration of muscle tension. Isometric training enables local influence on separate muscles and muscle groups at given joint angles, develops motor memory, which is especially important for remembering boundary poses when teaching and improving swimming technique, promotes hypertrophy of mainly slow muscle fibers. At the same time, the isometric method has a number of disadvantages. The gain of strength ceases quickly and may be accompanied by a decrease in speed of movement and deterioration of their coordination. In addition, strength is manifested only in those positions in which isometric training was performed. Because of this, isometric training in the form of slow movements with stops in intermediate positions with strain for 3-5 seconds or lifting of mobile weights with stops for 5-6 seconds in given poses is widespread in swimming.
Isokinetic method is applied for development of maximal strength of sportsmen in the form of low-speed isokinetic training with high resistance to motion and angular velocity of motion not more than 100°С. In isokinetic exercises the muscles are maximally loaded during the whole movement and along its amplitude under the condition of maintaining a constant speed of movement or increasing it in the second half of the movement.
In isokinetic exercises, significantly more motor units are recruited than in overcoming work with isotonic or auxotonic mode of muscle contraction. Isokinetic training requires special isokinetic simulators that allow performing local exercises on different muscle groups. In order to develop maximal strength, you should choose such resistance apparatus which enable to perform in general approach up to failure no more than 6-10 movements (time of performing a single weighted movement is 4-8 seconds, time of approach is from 30 to 50 seconds).
Strength endurance, i.e. the ability to exert optimal muscular effort for a long time is one of the most important motor qualities in professional-applied physical training and sports. The success of motor activity mainly depends on its development level. Strength endurance is a complex physical quality and is determined both by the level of development of vegetative functions that ensure a necessary oxygen regime of the organism and by the state of the neuromuscular apparatus. When working with approximately maximum muscular effort its level of development is defined mainly by maximal force. Increase of the efficiency of training loads is connected, first of all, with an analytical approach to their application, i.e. with the use on one training session of such exercises and their complexes which have a selective directed influence on “leading” factors and the combination of which within the limits of one training session gives a positive delayed growth of efficiency. Therefore, two basic methodological approaches can be formulated in the analytical improvement of power endurance.
The first approach consists in improving the phosphagen system of energy supply by: increasing the capacity of anaerobic alactate process; expanding anaerobic alactate capacity by increasing intramuscular energy sources, increasing the efficiency of realization of the available energy potential by improving working movement technique.The second approach to strength endurance development in muscle work under anaerobic glycolysis conditions consists in improving mechanisms of compensation of unfavorable acidotic To increase maximal anaerobic power, exercises with 30-70% of the limiting weight and with the number of repetitions from 5 to 12 times are used. They are performed with arbitrary rest intervals, until recovery. The number of sets is determined empirically: until the power of the performed work decreases. In this case it is usually planned to perform up to 6 sets. To increase anaerobic alactate capacity and increase the efficiency of using energetic potential you can use exercises with weighted load up to 60% of maximum, with number of reps from 15 to 30 times. The exercises are performed in 2-4 approaches with 3-5 minutes rest. In the process of work it is necessary to constantly monitor the technique of performing exercises.
In order to improve compensatory mechanisms and adaptation to work in conditions of strong acidotic shifts in the organism you must perform not more than 4 sets at high tempo with loads from 20 to 70% of the ultimate loads with the number of repetitions “to failure”.
Training for development and improvement of power endurance can be organized both in the form of sequential application of series of each chosen exercise, or in the form of “circular training”, when in each circle one approach of selected exercises is performed sequentially. There can be several such “circles” in total in the training with strictly regulated parameters of the exercises. The number and composition of exercises, as well as the number of “circles” depends on the level of fitness of the participants and the goals of training. The most effective “circle” training is at the stages of basic general physical training of sportsmen or at the stages of application of developmental exercises in professional-applied training.
Conclusion: The development of a person’s strength abilities plays an important role in the body. There are many ways and methods allowing us to train muscular strength and power endurance.
Strength and power abilities of the human body are great. They help to overcome stresses: both those that a person faces every day, and “overloads” that may occur in emergency circumstances: fires, traffic accidents, etc. In order to successfully solve all these problems and not to undermine health, it is necessary to train and expand the body’s strength capabilities. This is, we emphasize once again, the relevance of this work.
There are many methods for training, which we highlighted in our study, and everyone can choose a method for themselves, taking into account their capabilities. In addition, all of the above methods of development of strength abilities can be, and often are recommended to combine, which will allow to natrain the body and make it immune to stresses and negative factors of the environment.
Unfortunately, however, the problem of the method of strength development, despite the considerable advances in science and practice, is still far from being solved. The more the curtain of obscurity is lifted in this field, the more immense horizons are opened to the researcher’s eye. Therefore, a huge purposeful joint creative work of scientists and practitioners is necessary in order to generalize, analyze and correctly understand the revealing facts, often contradictory, organize new research and create a methodologically rigorous system of knowledge that constitutes the scientific basis for the method of athlete’s strength development.