training tip #007 - strength is the foundation...

We have an unshakeable belief that strength is the foundation for every single young athlete and adolescents. The stronger we are with great technique, the wider our base can be, and the higher we can then build

The whole purpose/intention for weight training is to place the body in specific positions and strengthen them under load. We have the ability to place you in positions you'll find yourself in your sport within a gym setting and develop you to become more proficient and strong in those positions when you're back out on the court

But what if strength could improve your speed and acceleration too?
What it becoming stronger could also help you jump higher?
Would it then be something that interests you and your sport-specific coaches?

The Good News is that it does!

The relationship between Strength, Speed, and Jumping

For the purposes of this article, we're going to break strength down into 2 main groups, and then three little sub-groups underneath it

1. Relative Strength

Firstly, we have relative strength, this can be thought of in terms of how strong we are for our size and bodyweight. For instance, if I weight 80kg and squat 80kg, but you weight 50kg and squat 60kg - you're relative strength is greater than mine, as you squat more than your own bodyweight

The subgroup under relative strength is starting strength (i.e. from a dead stop) and explosive strength (i.e. how quickly & explosively we can move the weight). And this main group and two subgroups translate over to increased acceleration and speed off the mark (think the first 20m) and helping with producing force on a jump

So if we needed to improve our speed off the mark or our vertical jump, we'd spend time working on our starting strength (i.e. paused squats) and also develop the body unilaterally (i.e. work each leg individually)

2. Maximal Strength

Secondly, we have maximal strength, which is the total amount of weight we can move. Using the instance above, my maximal strength is higher as I can squat 80kg and you can only squat 60kg. In regards to translating over into running and jumping, maximal strength helps with maintaining an absolute speed (i.e. the fastest we can run and maintain) and depth jumping/countermovement jumping (i.e. where the goal is to learn to absorb more force than normal)

The subgroup under maximal strength is reactive strength, which is the amount of strength we have to counteract an opposing force - think about landing from a jump and being able to immediately jump again, or land and push off to the left with as much power as possible

So if we need to increase how fast we can run or how well we can absorb force and jump, or sprint, straight away - working on your maximal strength would be the way to go

Interesting Note

Working on your speed or your jumping WON'T impact your strength levels, hence why strength is the foundational quality. If you need more acceleration or agility, work on your relative strength, starting strength, and explosive strength. If you need more maximal speed and the ability to absorb force and explode again, work on your absolute strength and aim to get stronger keeping the great form you have

Nick Maier