Strength by Design – Absolute Strength

“If you don’t know where you are going,
you’ll end up someplace else.”
Yogi Bera

I’m often asked the question, “Why have FAJA been so successful in producing championship level long, high and triple jumpers?” The truth is there is no secret. What it comes down to is having a solid understanding that designing training programs to improve athlete performance without a clear purpose in mind is inefficient at best.

Too many coaches across all sport disciplines are in a rush to develop the next champion. And while very few athletes are be able to perform at a high level using this approach, they are unable to sustain a high level of competitiveness and often succumbing to injuries derailing what was and could have been a promising and rewarding career.

Without a doubt the best approach to athlete development starts with a clear identification of main contributing elements for sport success. The horizontal and vertical jump disciplines in track and field all have common elements requiring detailed preparation. These commonalities can be categorized into the following Strength Components: Absolute Strength, General Strength, Power, Reactive Strength, and Strength Endurance which must be developed in a hierarchical  manner over the course of the athlete’s training year (for ex. General Prep, Special Prep, Competition, etc.). I will briefly discuss over a period of several blog post.

In today’s post we will look at Absolute Strength which is the ability to develop great force in a static or dynamic sense. Athletes and coaches often misunderstand the implication of absolute strength in performing an athletic movement skill. Speed of movement  is not a concern in absolute strength situation. This strength quality determines greatly an athlete’s ability to hold postural alignment under stress and impact which often occurs during the  performing of various phases of the high jump or horizontal jumps (long and triple), the ability to anchor the  fulcrums of the musculoskeletal lever systems used during movement, and are an inherent and contributing part of all other strength qualities needed in movements. In jumping events, because of the body types typically associated with high performance, absolute strength is best evaluated in the form of relative strength capabilities (forced produced under unit of bodyweight). Most absolute strength training involves high resistances and low speeds of movement.


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