Is Essential If
You Want To Build

"Basics Of Strength Development"

"Is your current weight lifting routines, strength training workouts, or fitness training programs getting YOU and your athletes where YOU want and need to be?" YOU may have the best strength, fitness or weight lifting exercises but if YOU don't know how to use them for the purpose they are intended for, what is the point. Right here and now, let's get right to the discussion of the different forms of strength and its development.

There are so many different opinions as to who has the best strength, fitness, and weight lifting routines. "What medicine ball routines, circuit training programs or weight lifting exercises need to be used to build muscle fast?" "Where do you get the best fitness, strength or weight lifting program?" "Where do you start?" In my many years of experience, I have learned that there is no magic formula out there. The direction for your success is centered around the common sense approach. Yes, YOU need to follow and learn from the experts. An expert is one who has already made the mistakes from the process of trial and error. They know what works and what doesn't! Look at it this way, they have made the mistakes so YOU don't have to. I am one of those "mistake makers" for your benefit. "Are YOU ready to know what works"?

The only point for using strength, fitness or weight lifting routines that work is based on developing functional strength. In other words, "strength that YOU can use!" "WHAT IS FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH?"

* Strength that optimally enhances the body's kinetic duty or purpose and provides significant transfer to target activity

*Strength that familiarizes the body with its operational environment. Using gravity, momentum, ground reaction forces and 360 degree movement freedom.

If YOU are truly serious about optimizing the use of your weight lifting program and "super charging" your weight lifting exercises, making an investment in one of the best books on training functionally, authored by Juan Carlos "JC" Santana, Med, CSCS, will pay your efforts back many times over! This book will make you an expert. It challenges YOU to think "outside of the box"!

Ask yourself two direct questions -- "What kind of strength do I need?" and "How much strength is enough to build muscle fast?" According to Juan Carlos "JC" Santana, Med, CSCS "Strength is the quintessential quality most sought by athletes and coaches. Look at any performance enhancement program and you will usually see the development of strength at the forefront of its objectives. Listen in on any conversation between coaches or between athletes, and you will hear a repeating theme: how much can you lift? Strength is one thing everyone can't get enough of."


If our weight lifting routines are going to work optimally, we need to understand strength development from 3 basic phases. The 3 basic phases of strength are:

GENERAL STRENGTH: (developed with standard weight lifting equipment, body weight exercises, etc...) General strength training does not mimic any specific athletic movement. The main objective is to create anatomical adaptations focused on increasing maximum strength and work capacity. Using exercises such as cleans, squats, shoulder presses, and bench presses are examples of weight lifting exercises used for developing general strength.

SPECIAL STRENGTH: enhanced by exercises that closely resemble the actual mechanics of athletic movements targeted for improvement. Many of the weight lifting exercises used in this phase have been classified as functional exercise. The special strength phase begins the transfer of general strength to a more specific form. Basic medicine ball exercises and plyometrics are just a few examples.

SPECIFIC STRENGTH: Necessary to optimize the transfer of general and special strength to the targeted activity. This training phase tries to closely mimic athletic movements targeted for improvement, down to their exact speed, load, and mechanics. Examples of these specific training exercises are hitting a blocking sled, throwing a weighted ball, swinging a weighted bat, and performing sport specific movements with resistance bands.

"The Expression Of Strength"
Moving Forward

Although there are many different types of strength, the expression of strength can be classified into 3 basic categories. The 3 basic categories are:

ABSOLUTE STRENGTH: The general strength gained with the major exercises involved with your weight lifting routines are usually the major criteria used to evaluate an athlete's maximum strength. One example would be the 1RM obtained in a bench press or squat.

RELATIVE STRENGTH: Strength can be expressed in a relative manner involving your weight lifting routines. Relative strength is expressed by dividing the weight lifted by the athlete's body weight. This is a generally better way to guage an athlete's sports-oriented strength performance because this criterion is a judgment of strength per pound of body weight.

FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH: Strength that can be expressed in a very obvious manner and very subjective manner. Take any athlete who does not look very impressive and can't lift much weight in the gym. However, they display awesome qualities in their athletic performance. "Functional Strength is strength that you can use!"


Athletic skills and movement requirements like running speed, vertical jump capability, and throwing speed are just some of the athletic components that will improve after the application of general strength training. We must be careful not to overemphasize strength development as any weight training routines or fitness programs primary objective. According to Juan Carlos "JC" Santana, Med, CSCS "Problems will arise when the expression of maximum strength begins to "dominate" your weight lifting routines and performance objectives become secondary; when strength is developed for the sake of strength and not for what it can do for you and your programs."

We must ask ourselves 2 very important questions given the information you just read about strength, fitness, and weight lifting routines.

(1) "Will the time that I invest in my weight lifting routines build additional strength and yield improved performance?"

(2) " Would I better serve the needs of my athletes by maintaining reasonable strength levels and work on functional qualities that will significantly improve athletic performance?"

If you understand the above information, the answers should be quite simple. If your athlete or athletes demonstrate that there is enough absolute strength, focus on their ability to transfer and apply it. It would be a great mistake to spend weeks or months increasing maximum strength by 8% and not be able to functionally use it. Here is something to seriously think about. A 70% explosive application of a 300-lb squat will result in 210-lbs of devastating force. Another way to see it, 40% transfer of a 275-lb yields 110-lbs of bench press capacity. "What situation would you like to see your offensive lineman too be in during that moment of truth?"






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