Posted by: Ben | 2009/10/02

difference between muscle, strength and power

could someone outline the differences between strength, power and muscle, i know that training for each respective attribute is different but how and why is this could you also tell me if u can train for each in the same workout and give me an example workout with specific exercises.

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HI Ben

Strength is the maximum ability of a muscle to exert a force. Power is the ability to produce strength at speed. It has a velocity component. So a weight lifter has enormous strength, a 100m runner or a sprint cyclist has enormous power. Obviously, there is overlap between them, but you can see how at the extremes, they might different. That is, a long jumper might not be as strong as a weight lifter, but they have power because of the velocity over which they exert that strength.

So when you train for strength, you generally lift very heavy weights, and the speed is slower, controlled. Training for power usually involves cutting down on the weight (by 20 to 50% in some cases), but then performing the movements at great speeds. Squat jumps, dynamic lunges etc are power exercises.

My advice is to avoid training both in the same session - the muscle responds very specifically to training and so if you do both, you don't really get the maximum benefit of either. Usually, a good training programme has you building strength over a number of weeks or months, and then introduces power only much later. So in truth, you don't even train them in the same week or month. You shift from strength to power as the season progresses.

Good luck

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