Relative Strength

Relative strength is an aspect of fitness that we focus on as opposed to simply strength in general. Relative strength is the strength of an individual in relation to their bodyweight. It’s easy to be strong and huge, but this does not always serve the most efficient function. This sort of strength development means being super strong for your size.

Imagine being able to squat three times your own bodyweight. This is efficient. Being big would never allow that. If you weigh a lot and are able to lift a lot it does not mean you are functionally fit. Functionally fit means you are able to lift a lot for your size and also move efficiently.

If someone weighs 120kg and is able to dead-lift 300kg there is no argument that they are strong. However what if that person is in the military? They get injured and have to be carried. This is not efficient because it slows down the whole platoon. If someone weighs 70kg and can dead-lift 220kg they are considered stronger in terms of relative strength. If they are injured they can easily be carried as another piece of luggage.

So having a higher strength to weight ratio is highly effective and functional in the real world. That’s the aspect of strength that Personal Evolution is interested in.

So how do you condition this sort of strength? I mean aren’t some people more responsive to gaining muscle size?

Well yes and no. People can be responsive to gaining muscle size more than others who perform strength training. The ones who get stronger than they do bigger are generally more neurologically efficient. But strength training even for genetically responsive people to muscle growth, can be structured to make the person stronger for their weight.

In order for a muscle to be strengthened, one of two things must happen: one way is to increase the cross-sectional area of that muscle. This means a larger muscle capable of producing more force. Another way is to increase dormant aspects of the individual’s strength potential and reduce inhibitory responses. This is done through maximal strength training where the neuromuscular system is trained into utilising more of the existing motor units.

How to Increase Relative Strength

  • First of all eat like a track and field athlete or gymnast, not a body builder. This means eating the calories your body needs, not excess.

  • Keep your body fat level below 10 percent. This will mean maximum efficiency because there will be very little non-functional body tissue.

  • Train with low repetitions, like a range of about 1-3 reps per set. Training with low reps produces a response more conducive to neurological strength gain as opposed to muscle size gain.

  • Rest a lot between sets. Give the body time to recover and replenish creatine stores before attempting subsequent maximal efforts. This takes about 5-7 minutes.

  • Perform compound, free weight movements in order to recruit the maximum possible number of motor units. This produces neuro-endocrine responses that contribute to higher maximum strength.

  • Perform maximal strength training infrequently. This means giving the body a lot of rest between strength workouts.

  • Ensure the strength training is relevant. The movements chosen will be most effective if they are specific to the movements you want to actually get stronger at. This transfers over into the real task much more readily.

That’s a basic rundown of relative strength training. This is more important in our opinion than muscle gain because it allows an individual to lift much more than their bodyweight. This transfers over into a wider range of tasks than absolute strength accompanied by huge body size.



Contact Us

Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.

Please enter the word that you see below.


To Subscribe To Our FREE Newsletter Enter your E-mail Address
Now Enter your First Name

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Sokudo Training Journal.

Return to our home page from relative strength