Developing Muscle Strength

The classic model for the role of strength training in athletes progresses systematically through the following training phases:

Muscle Endurance

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Hypertrophy

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Strength

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Power

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This linear model varies the intensity over time. For example, a 16-week program might have weeks 1-4 as light (endurance), weeks 5-8 moderate (hypertrophy), weeks 9-12 heavy (strength), and weeks 13-16 (power) as very heavy.

Strength is the foundation of power, power endurance and muscular endurance – all the factors required for sport. Strength is highly dependent upon the size of the muscle as well as the quality of nerve stimulation that muscle receives. The table below summarises the key factors to be considered when developing strength.

Factor Novice Advanced
Muscle Action Concentric – muscle shortening

Eccentric – muscle lengthening

Concentric – muscle shortening

Eccentric – muscle lengthening

Loads 60-70% 1 RM 80-100% 1 RM
Repetitions 8-12 1-6
Progression Reassess 1RM every 2-4 weeks

Increase load 2-10%

Reassess 1RM every 2-3 weeks or

drop reps and increase intensity 2-10%

Sets 1-3 2-3
Exercise Selection Single and multi-joint exercises Multi-joint exercises
Free-Weights or Machines/td> Free weights and machines Free weights
Speed of Movement Slow to moderate with good technique Slow to moderate to fast depending on sport or event and with good technique
Rest between Sets 3-5 minutes for multi-joint exercises (e.g. bench press)

2-3 minutes for single joint exercises (e.g. leg curl)

3-5 minutes for multi-joint exercises (e.g. bench press)

2-3 minutes for single joint exercises (e.g. leg curl)

Frequency 2-3 times/week with 48 hrs between sessions 4-5 times/week depending on sport/event/training phase
>Range of Motion Complete or to individual tolerance Complete or to individual tolerance