Strength and Speed Qualities

Max strength, speed strength, and max velocity.

What are they and why are they all important for athletic performance?

Max strength is simply how much force you can produce, taking time out of the equation. For example, a squat off pins from a dead-start is a great max strength exercise, especially because you can't utilize the stretch reflex or momentum to help you lift more weight.

Speed strength involves exercises where you are trying to move as fast as you can, but are moving a relatively light weight, typically around 25-35% of your 1RM. A seated box jump with some dumbbells is a great example of this.

Max velocity involves moving your bodyweight (or less than your bodyweight) as fast as possible. This is where overspeed training such as band-assisted jumps can come in handy. The assist from the bands allows you to move at a higher velocity and allows your muscles to contract faster than you otherwise would be able to.

How we move and lift weights has a lot to do with the strength qualities we develop. The point is, it's not just as simple as only doing one or the other. Instead, it’s more about understanding how max velocity and max force training are independent qualities that both need to be trained appropriately. Max force is your base and then other qualities can be built from your velocity and force producing abilities. A well-rounded workout program will contain exercises that help develop each of these qualities throughout training cycles.