To answer this you need to understand 2 forms of strength :
Absolute Strength: This is the greatest force that can be produced by a given muscle under involuntary stimulation. Note the word, “involuntary” as this is commonly measured through electrical stimulation of the nerves supplying the muscles to make them contract as hard and as powerfully as humanly possible. Yes, I’ve done this in the lab. Yes, I can confirm it’s not pleasant.
Competitive Strength: Is the ability of the muscles to produce the greatest force possible through a voluntary contraction. This time note the word, “voluntary” since this is performed during competition and it’s not surprising this isn’t as powerful as being electrocuted. Instead it’s the maximum force you can produce simply by getting psyched up.
The difference between these 2 is known as your Strength Deficit.
If there’s a small difference between them it shows you’re using the muscle mass you have to it’s full, neurological potential. Basically all your muscle fibres are being used and firing.
You’re 80kg but squatting 200kg. You’ve a good power-to-weight ratio. You’re maxing out your muscle’s neurological potential. You’re like a scooter that’s managing to reach 70mph with the small “engine” (muscle) working overtime and you need to add more muscle to get stronger.
Basically you need more Structural Strength Training.But, if there’s a big difference between them it shows you’re not using your muscle mass to it’s full, neurological potential and all the muscle fibres aren’t being recruited.
You’re 100kg and squatting 150kg. You’ve a bad power-to-weight ratio. You’re like a supercar car with a giant engine that’s being driven at 50mph. You are not using your muscle mass to its full, neurological potential and need to drill technique to do this.
Basically you need more Functional Strength Training.
So are you a scooter or a supercar?
When you know the answer you will be better able to design your training program and decide whether you need to get big, strong or both. Worth noting is strength training is always a combination of Structural and Functional Strength Training, but if you know your Strength Deficit you will know which one to focus on.
How does this relate to endurance focused goals? So for instance if you are mad enough to swim 100km with 100lbs, have you been training functional strength to supplement your swimming centred training programme?
Was wondering if there are other ways of determining strength deficit/neurological potential besides using EMS out there? Or charts that give an idea of the expected neurological potentials for certain body weights on different exercises?