Muscle and Strength
What Is Muscular Strength?
You might think that muscular strength is simply how strong you are. For example, how much you weight you can carry, how many pounds you can lift at the gym or how many push-ups you can do during a workout. But a true muscular strength definition is a little bit more complicated than that.
According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), muscular strength is the ability to generate the maximal amount of muscle force a particular exercise. But there are other factors that affect how strong you are and how much strength you have to complete daily chores or exercises. ACE provides definitions for these terms that are related to muscular strength:
• Muscular endurance: The ability to produce and sustain muscle force over a sustained period of time.
• Muscular power: The ability to generate enough force to move weight in the shortest amount of time possible.
For example, the number of push-ups you can do in one minute depends in part on your muscular strength but also on your muscular power and muscular endurance.
What happens in your body to produce the effect of strength relies on several factors. The size of the muscle and the ratio of fast-twitch and slow-twitch fibers in that muscle is one component.2 Then the neural connection is key, as the motor neurons must be coordinated in their firing in order to signal the muscle fibers to contract at the same time. Strength also relies on the muscle having good support for the movement of the joint, including the health of the joints, bones, ligaments, and tendons.