Strength is a crucial element in physical fitness that helps improve overall health, sports performance, and everyday activities. However, measuring strength can be complex as there are various factors to consider, including body weight, height, and the specific exercise being performed. In this article, we will delve into two different ways to look at strength – absolute and relative strength – and the various factors that influence these measures. We will also provide information on strength standards for women and men, as well as answer some frequently asked questions about measuring and improving strength. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced athlete, this article will help you better understand your strength and how to improve it.
What is Absolute Strength?
Absolute strength refers to the maximum amount of weight that an individual can lift for one repetition. It is measured using the one repetition maximum (1RM) in specific exercises like squat, bench press, or deadlift. Absolute strength is an essential indicator of an individual’s strength, and it is useful in comparing two individuals of the same weight.
What is Relative Strength?
Relative strength compares an individual’s lifting capacity to their body weight. It is calculated by dividing the amount of weight lifted by an individual’s body weight. For example, a 70-kilogram person lifting 100-kilograms on a bench can lift 1.42 times their body weight. Relative strength is a more meaningful measure of strength when comparing individuals with differences in weight.
Factors Affecting Absolute and Relative Strength
Several factors affect an individual’s strength, and it is essential to consider them when evaluating strength.
Body Composition: An individual’s body composition, particularly muscle mass, and fat percentage significantly influences their strength. The more muscle an individual has, the more force they can exert.
Limb Length: The height of an individual affects their strength. Taller individuals have longer limbs and muscle fibers but smaller muscle cross-sectional area. In comparison, shorter individuals may have a thicker muscle belly and more force production capacity.
Body Weight: An increase in body weight, particularly muscle mass, increases the cross-sectional area (muscle concentration) by two times but increases the volume by three times. This means that relative strength may decrease with an increase in muscle weight.
Exercise Type: Different exercises require varying amounts of strength. For instance, lifting 100 kgs may be challenging for a bench press, but not for a deadlift or squat, as these movements require the recruitment of more muscles, particularly the leg and glutes.
Strength Standards for Women
Various standards have been developed to help individuals set realistic goals for their strength training. Here are some strength standards for women based on different levels of experience:
- Bench Press: 0.5 x bodyweight
- Deadlift: 1 x bodyweight
- Squat: 0.75 x bodyweight
- Bench Press: 0.75 x bodyweight
- Deadlift: 1.5 x bodyweight
- Squat: 1 x bodyweight
- Bench Press: 1 x bodyweight
- Deadlift: 2 x bodyweight
- Squat: 1.5 x bodyweight
Strength Standards for Men
Here are some strength standards for men based on different levels of experience:
- Bench Press: 1.25 x bodyweight
- Deadlift: 1.75 x bodyweight
- Squat: 1.5 x bodyweight
- Bench Press: 1.5 x bodyweight
- Deadlift: 2.25 x bodyweight
- Squat: 1.75 x bodyweight
- Bench Press: 1.75 x bodyweight
- Deadlift: 2.75 x bodyweight
- Squat: 2 x bodyweight
These standards serve as guidelines and can vary depending on various factors like height, weight, age, and gender. It’s important to note that these standards are just benchmarks and should not discourage individuals who do not meet them. Consistency, effort, and progress should be the primary focus of any strength training program.
What is the difference between absolute and relative strength?
Absolute strength refers to the total amount of weight lifted, while relative strength compares an individual’s lifting capacity to their body weight.
Can taller people lift more weight than shorter people?
Taller people tend to have longer limbs and muscle fibers, but a smaller muscle cross-sectional area. In comparison, shorter individuals may have a thicker muscle belly and more force production capacity. However, the displacement of weight for a range of motion would be greater for taller individuals, meaning they have to exert more effort to lift the same weight as a shorter individual.
Is relative strength more meaningful than absolute strength?
Relative strength is more meaningful when comparing individuals with differences in weight. However, absolute strength is useful when comparing two individuals of the same weight.
Is lifting 100 kg in deadlift considered good?
Lifting 100 kg in deadlift is considered good, but it also depends on the individual’s weight, age, and training experience.
How can I set realistic goals for strength training?
Various standards for strength have been developed, which are guidelines that help people set realistic goals for their strength training. However, it’s important to note that these standards are just guidelines and should not make individuals feel inadequate if they don’t meet them.
- T Nation. (n.d.). Strength standards: Are you strong? https://www.t-nation.com/training/strength-standards-are-you-strong/
- Gubernatrix. (2008, December 6). Strength standards for women. https://gubernatrix.co.uk/2008/12/strength-standards-for-women/
What is the difference between absolute and relative strength? Absolute strength refers to the total amount of weight lifted, while relative strength compares an individual's lifting capacity to their
Answer and Explanation:
Absolute strength is measured the same for any individual. It is determined by the maximum amount of force exerted regardless of one's body size or weight. Relative strength is more individually oriented. It is determined by the amount of force exerted relative to one's body size and weight.
Relative strength vs absolute strength, what's better? In most sports, relative strength is more desirable that absolute strength, not only for athletes who are bound to competing in a weight class, but also for athletes that need to displace their own bodyweight. That includes all sports with running and jumping.How do you calculate relative strength and absolute strength? ›
Rather than being measured by simply adding up all of the weight plates and barbell (or other forms of weight) that you are lifting for an exercise, as is the case with absolute strength, relative strength is calculated by dividing the weight you lifted for an exercise by your body weight.Why is relative muscular strength more important than absolute muscular strength? ›
Being stronger pound by pound is much healthier on joints, bones and overall health. It also helps a lot on body weight movements. The goal with relative strength is to increase your lifts without increasing your muscle mass.How do you understand relative strength? ›
Relative strength is a tool used in technical analysis to compare the price performance of one stock or asset to a benchmark, such as an index, over a given period. It measures the price of a security relative to a benchmark and helps identify which security is performing better or worse than the benchmark.What is an example of relative strength? ›
A common example of a relative strength activity would be gymnastic movements involving only the client's bodyweight. Clients with a sufficiently high level of relative strength are less fatigued and are likely more efficient at moving their body weight in space.