Rodney McBride

A More Detailed Look at Strength 2

A More Detailed Look at Strength 2

Hopefully by now it is understood that a functional working Nervous System (NS) is the core and foundation of all strength; and movement in general for that matter. It is super important not to forget because all the other strength components are built off of this relationship. Are we good? Good.

Another element of strength is tension. Tension is defined as a muscle/s ability to generate force. When a muscle contracts that is the same as saying that this muscle just produced tension or force. Strength relies heavily on the ability to maximize tension/force.

Why this is imperative to comprehend is because research shows that the average person can only yield 20% to 30% of tension/force in a muscle at one time. More experienced lifters 50% max. This leaves any where from 50% to 80% of unused muscle tension/force!!!

There is a reason why you would never be able to use 100% of the available tension/force in a muscle. It's called the inhibition reflex. The body is very protective of itself and would never request that you do anything that could jeopardize its own integrity. Using 100% of the available strength in your muscles would literally tear yourself apart!!!

So the best way to magnify the strength that you are stuck with is to learn how to generate more tension/force when lifting. This is why an efficient NS is important because you are ASKING it to generate more tension/force to its max.

There are two portions of a muscle that we must keep in mind. The muscle fibers themselves and the motor nerves that innervate (touch) these muscle fibers. This relation is referred to as a motor unit. 

The more motor units you can use during a lift the more robust the tension/force. Also by purposely tensing all of your muscles during the lift not just the primary one's involved; you recruit more motor units thereby getting the maximum tension possible. They go hand in hand.

This would be just as relevant on heavy training days as it would be on light and medium training days. The whole idea is to effectively draft as MANY motor units as feasible with the MOST tension feasible. Got it?

So instead of being stuck at 20% of your muscles tension/force potential you can increase its efficiency to 30% by applying the tension principle. Squeeze the bar really hard as if you were trying to crush it. Brace your abs. Squeeze your glutes together really tight. Along with using other tension promoting techniques as well. 


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