Strength is the ability of a given muscle or group of muscles to generate muscular force under specific conditions. Strength is not primarily a function of muscle size, but one of the appropriate muscles powerfully contracted by effective nervous stimulation. Maximal strength is the ability of a particular group of muscles to produce a maximal voluntary contraction in response to optimal motivation against an external load. Strength and power athletes generate large maximal force in their athletic movements, and to enhance performance they usually need to increase the force production. The production and increase of strength both depend on neuromuscular processes. The strength that an athlete can generate in a give motion depends on body posture.
Strength and posture:
Effects of strength training are posture specific. They depend on the range of joint motion and on the joint position used in training. Velocity Sports Performance focuses on exercises that correct the athlete's posture, which enables the athlete to maintain the correct movement technique for a longer time period. Developing strength helps reduce the risk for injury. The strength component places a heavy emphasis on technique.
The production of strength in the short and long term depends on these main factors:
1. Trainability: The potential to develop strength in response to a specific training regime and depends largely on genetic factors and pre-training status.
2. Neuromuscular efficiency: The skill with which one executes a movement and relates to how efficiently and intensely one recruits muscle fibers in the appropriate muscle groups to produce an accurate and powerful movement pattern.
3. Biomechanical efficiency: Genetic factors of the body, such as leverage characteristics, relative strengths of different muscle groups that control movement of each limb, and the neuromuscular efficiency which controls all movement patterns of the body.
4. Psychological factors: Sporting performance depends heavily on psychological factors such as motivation, aggression, concentration, focus, ability to tolerate pain, placebo effect, anxiety, stress, ability to relax, and attitude towards winning or losing.
5. Pain and Fear of Pain: Need to distinguish between pain of injury and pain of effort. The pain of injury is something that has caused damage to some system of the body. The pain of effort refers to one's personal interpretation of the intensity of a given effort.
6. Injury and Fear of Injury: Injury may make it impossible for one to produce maximal strength. Fear of injury must be recognized as a major inhibitory factor in production of strength or other motor movements.
7. Fatigue: Determines one's ability to sustain a specific type of effort. This can be at the muscle cell level or the cardiovascular level.