Let's Talk Maximal Strength

“Maximal strength can be defined as the maximal voluntary contractile force the neuromuscular system is capable of producing in a single effort, irrespective of time.” – Charles Poliquin⁣ ⁣ Simplified further – max strength is the maximal amount of force you can produce.⁣ ⁣ It’s highly neural – meaning it relies on the brain to activate the most amount of muscle tissue possible.⁣ ⁣ That’s why a smaller person with less muscle mass may lift more weight than a big person with more muscle mass. If the smaller person has a more efficient nervous system to stimulate more of their muscle, then they will be able to produce more force.⁣ ⁣ It’s important to talk about maximal strength as it underpins most other athletic qualities…⁣ ⁣ “The importance of maximal strength can be seen in the strong correlations to sprinting speed, agility, and jumping and the role it plays in return-to-performance following injury.” – Nick Winkelman⁣ ⁣ When training for maximal strength our aim is to improve our brain’s ability to activate the most muscle possible. Here’s how you can improve you max strength:⁣ ⁣ Test it: To find your one rep max we recommend performing a 3-5RM and multiplying it by the number from the chart in the video (ie. 100kg 3RM x 1.09 = 109kg 1RM). This is safer and a more realistic ‘training max’ than a 1RM would be.⁣ ⁣ Keep the weights heavy: to elicit a response from the nervous system we want to perform our maximal strength work above 80% of our 1RM.⁣ ⁣ Keep the reps low: we need to be very efficient in our movement and minimise muscular fatigue. Keep the reps below 5. 3-5 is generally the sweet spot. Anything above 5 and we start tipping into more muscular adaptations – remember we are chasing neural (brain) adaptations.⁣ ⁣ Avoid failed reps and lifting to failure: similar to the point above – doing sets of 8+ to failure, may add more muscle mass but most of the adaptation is occurring at the muscle level – not the brain (there is a time and place for hypertrophy training but that’s for another day).⁣ ⁣

If you want help with your maximal strength training, contact us today. #one22 #maxstrength

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