Strength & Conditioning (SC) provides a detailed approach to improve fitness levels. From a biologic perspective, nature did an outstanding design bringing us to life. Among all that nature surprising beauty, the secrets beneath stunning life seem to have been precisely ordered for a purpose. SC applications aim to trigger responses and improvements to certain physiological levels using different pathways played by the rules, the genetic code. Therefore it seems an acceptable strategy that SC sets its targets on the very fundamentals of exercise physiology. In consequence no matter what orientation of the goal/s or the need/s have to be targeted, any exercise application per equal is based on the fundamentals of its true functional existence.
Despite field complexity, science success decoding how it works played a crucial role on understanding a large number of exercise physiology pathways and adaptations. To summarize physiological pathways and outcomes into the SC fitness spectrum, ATHL.Core framework is based in 5 main fitness attributes. Those 5 are:
BALANCE | STRENGTH | METABOLISM | ENDURANCE | RECOVERY
WHY STRENGTH IS ESSENTIAL?
Strength is THE fundamental component within the SC spectrum, and the more relevant. Strength is generally understood by the quality or state of being physically strong (Oxford, 2020). The musculoskeletal system is a complex biological structure responsible of generating movement through muscle tissue contractile properties and its anatomical configuration, its relevance is of extraordinary significance.
Strength has multiple understanding approaches, two main fields should be considered and understood as fundamentals and not only by exercise science professionals.
Exercise physiology is the first field to considerate. Exercise physiologists have been able to decode a large amount of muscle function pathways and adaptations defined by the genetic code for human performance, athletic development, prehab and health. However, still up to this date research strives and works to understand more about this essential and adaptative organ.
Biomechanics, is another important field, which also approaches the study of musculoskeletal system from its simple complexity to its extensive motor and athletic skill performance. Meanwhile biomechanics aim to measure the mechanical physical outcome of structural systems the same mechanical stimulus impacts physiology mechanism regulation process of musculoskeletal tissues ( Muscle, tendon, ligments and bones). This stimulus develop adaptations in both structural and physiology mechanisms at all levels.
After this intro there is no need to scrabble to understand, that if we are born to move and muscle tissue is the underlaying responsible, muscle strength and overall body structural integrity is essential for life. To highlight how essential muscle tissue is, the heart itself is mainly muscle. No beat no life.
THE MUSCLE STRENGTH PROFILE
What makes muscle tissue unique is its the ability to create force by its contractability. In physics, force is any interaction that will change the motion of an object, if not opposed (providing resistance). Force is a reliable internationalized unit to observe and objectively measure inter-connection with mass, velocity, distance and time. The goal of this post it is not to enter into biomechanics analysis, but to highlight that human body offers a multitude of rotational mechanical systems, as all articulations are, from which musculoskeletal system is able to generate force and manage resistance.
Force can has different expressions. This defines different strength types based on its force outcomes:
Strength: Overall general force output produced by increased muscle contraction ability.
Maximal strength: Maximal force output able to generate by muscle contractability. Its mass dependant.
Endurance: High end sustained amount of force production and efficiency by muscle contractability maintained over time. Its distance dependant, within its anatomic range of motion.
Power: Maximal force output able to generate/transfer by muscle contraction per unit of time. Its time dependant.
Strength is a whole component, emphasizing which type benefits more individual fitness goals or needs defines a particular profile distribution. An SC program should safely provide individualized, specific, overload and progression programming within a safe environment to successfully reach and attain the physiological adaptations and readiness needed.
FROM BIOMECHANICS TO TISSUE ADAPTATION
Every single outcome has different muscle physiological pathways, regulations and metabolic systems which allow exercise and training stimulus to develop and adapt temporally for good.
As mentioned human body interacts through simple to complex rotational systems able to solve and manage different kinds of resistance. A single movement will has a defined torque to the rotational axes, like a seated knee extension. A complex movement will coordinate and sync multiple rotational axes and multiple torques. Torque is dynamic and challenging to measure.
The Rate of Force Development (RFD) is a useful mechanical approach which sets a bridge between biomechanics and exercise physiology. RFD can be improved from different physiology lenses as:
+ Neurological adaptations and how muscle responds “electrically” to the central nervous system.
+ Physiological structural adaptations as inner structure, different cell pathways behaviors and mechanical stress tolerance and last but not least size.
+ Methodological stress applications as contraction types and angle positions and pre-tension.
Strength ends up being like a wonderful palette of colours. Every single color is different, each one has its own expression and message but they come from the mixture and composition of the primary options. So, rather than what colors do you like, think about what colors do you actually need, what colors do serve best you purpose.
This generic yet specific approach in strength provides a detailed profile menu for athletic goals, enhance skill performance, improve physical activity quality, health impact and even develop a complete sound learning process to all ages.
MUSCLE, NOT JUST FOR MOVEMENT
Human body biologically synchronizes 12 systems: skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, lymphatic, respiratory, digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems. The inter-relation of those delves deeper in biomedical research and the balance for normal function between all of them is mandatory for what is know as health.
Its been found and supported that muscle behaves as an organ, despite being able to produce movement, generate heat and allow us to enjoy life at is maximum extent. Muscle tissue has synergies with and within the regulation process in skeletal, nervous, respiratory, cardiovascular and additionally with the endocrine system. Muscle tissue acts as a regulator in hormonal control having outstanding and efficient applications into health conditions reversing, to certain extent, disfunctions in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Increased muscle contractability and muscle mass is related to longer life span, better life quality, increase function and vitality and mitigates aging effects.
A sound and well designed SC program does not only applies for athletic performance, its physiological fundamentals, supported by research, have shown to be an outstanding solution and treatment with multiple health benefits and outcomes. Click here to start your program assistant finder.
“The ultimate pill, exercise is medicine”
Lets back engineer this post. System, tissue regulaitons and adaptations are triggered by increased muscle activity. This increased muscle activity is consequence of mechanical work due to different strength goals and force production through the application of resistance. Resistance training is a powerfull method, within all his infinite possiblities, to enchance strength profiles.
The truth is that our cognitive perception allows as to ad additional information to what, where and how we do but muscleskeletal system does not. Muscle does not has the ability to distinguish if you run on the beach, if it climbs a mountain or if trains in the gym, what is able to read is the resistance applied by the type of force exerted to perform.
Programming strength profiles for resistance training its an adaptable tool with multiple applications based on different indiviudal goals and outcomes need it. The implementation of resistance training exercise for athletes, health and prehab is key for movement production and tolerance.
Resistance training does not depend on equipement, it depends on how mechanically program adapt different types of exercises to attain desired physiological and biomechanical goals. Resistance can be generated in dynamic or static scenarios therefore its accessiblity is unprecedented from body weight, suspension trainers, free weights, elastic bands and external muscle stimulations devices. ATHL.Exercise offers strength goals within SC scope programs to exercise anywhere, anytime. Adaptable and dynamic programs which adapts to your needs providing guidance and outright SC profiles.
Strength is an essential factor for locomotion, joint integrity, function and performance. Strength profiling is a useful tool to detect strengths and weakness for individuals in a wide range of applications.
Resistance training provides stimulus that can be modulated to regulate health process, due to muscle tissue function as an endocrine organ, managing disfunctions in cardiovascular, metabolic and other health conditions. SC programs with strength goals provide efficent treatments with health-fitness oriented exercise prescription programs.
Resistance training is an outstanding journey to increase athletic performance priming the structural needs to enhance function, ensure structural integrity, mitigate injury risks improving physical activity quality and experience. SC programs including strength goals provide reliable platform adaptations to physical and skill fitness oriented exercise programs.
Resistance training is a fundamental process for prevention and pre/post injury stages. The focus to work towards structural integrity involves compelling physiological and biomechanical targets to balance the scale to optimal function and benefits. SC programs with specific and targeted strength goals for this purpouse blend health and physical fitness oriented exercise programs for ultimate function and performance adaptations.
Do you wanna learn more about Strength & Conditioning in different applications and how a program might fit your needs? Find our more about ATHL.Exercise and ATHL.Core framework goals in our blog, here:
All you need to know about fitness
Health-fitness and the 7 outcomes to look for
Injury prevention and REhab, 7 outcomes to look for
Strength & Conditioning for athletic development
Why balance is critical?
Why strength is essential?
Why metabolism is vital?
Why endurance is important?
Why recovery is noteworthy?
About the author:
Albert Piñol – Master of Physical Activity and Sports Science, MSc in Exercise Physiology, DHE Snowboard trainer, DH Mountain guide & Mountainbike and MAT certified. Snowboarder, exercise science and adventure sports enthusiast. IG: @albert_pinol