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Athletic Strength Guidelines
How strong should you be to establish a solid foundation for athletic performance? It’s a difficult question to answer given the shear number of variables.
It’s important to understand that athletes shouldn’t overly concern themselves with maximal strength. Not to the degree that a powerlifter, weightlifter, or strongman would. Strength athletics set an different set strength standards with regards to becoming a competitive athlete in those sports. As far as developing athletic strength is concerned, the conversation goes much deeper than the big lifts of the squat, bench, deadlift, and press.
The reality is athletic strength should be considered relative to general movement patterns as strength training is essentially general physical preparation for most athletes. The majority of athletes would be considered to have mediocre strength in the world of strength sports.While being strong is important, they have competing demands of conditioning, sport practice, competition, and additional technical/tactical attention that become just as important to achieving athletic mastery.
Determining an ideal level of strength for any individual athlete is truly an individualized process, but we can at least speak to some general guidelines for starters.
Meeting certain strength standards is essential to physical performance demands and durability. Athletes will benefit from these guidelines as they can help eliminate weaknesses and improve specific physical abilities. Specific physical abilities such as speed, power, and explosiveness that are dependent upon strength. Strength also becomes important in improving bone density, connective tissue resilience, and overall durability of the body which become important factors in reducing injury occurrence.
While limited research exists in regard to strength standards for athletes, there are some guidelines that many strength coaches can agree on from professional experience.
These videos demonstrate five athletic strength tests. The strength guidelines are relative to bodyweight. For reference I sit at 215.
1) Loaded carry - 100-200% of bodyweight for total load carried
Video: 225/hand (450 total)
2) RDL - 180% of bodyweight for 1RM
3) Reverse Lunge - bodyweight x 10/leg
Video: 225/leg x 10
4) Chin-up - 140% of bodyweight for 1RM
Video: bwt+90 (305 total)
5) Close Grip bench press - 125% bwt for 1RM
Note - not all testing has to be a true 1RM (rep max). Testing can be 3-5RM and can project 1RM from there with decent accuracy.
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