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Strength comes in many forms - here is how to develop them

Brian Mackenzie provides an overview of the classifications of strength and how we can develop strength.

The common definition of strength is the ability to exert a force against a resistance. The strength needed for a sprinter to explode from the blocks is different to the strength needed by a weightlifter to lift a 200kg barbell. This, therefore, implies that there are different types of strength.

What are the classifications of strength?

The classifications of strength are:

  • Maximum strength - the greatest force that is possible in a single maximum contraction
  • Elastic strength - the ability to overcome a resistance with a fast contraction
  • Strength endurance - the ability to express force many times over

How do we get strong?

A muscle will only strengthen when it is worked beyond its normal operation, it is overloaded. Overload can be progressed by increasing the:

  • number of repetitions of an exercise
  • number of sets of the exercise
  • intensity - reduced recovery time

How do we develop each strength?

Article Reference

This article first appeared in:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2003) Strength comes in many forms - here is how to develop them. Brian Mackenzie's Successful Coaching, (ISSN 1745-7513/ 3 / July), p. 7

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2003) Strength comes in many forms - here is how to develop them [WWW] Available from: [Accessed

About the Author

Brian Mackenzie is a British Athletics level 4 performance coach and a coach tutor/assessor. He has been coaching sprint, middle distance and combined event athletes for the past 30+ years and has 45+ years' experience as an endurance athlete.

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