Types of body strength
> You need to build on total physical stamina and body fitness to stay healthy even in your old age
OUR PHYSICAL fitness is crucial to our health and wellness. You may look the part – bulging biceps, built calves, six-pack, the works – but can you actually use your strength effectively if the situation calls for it?
Strength is not defined by a six-pack; there are many different ways our body uses our hard-earned muscles.
The majority of us will never be Olympians, but here are seven types of strength we can develop:
Agility It is the ability to control and manoeuvre your body. In normal exercise conditions, this type of strength is rarely trained, unless it’s sports related.
Most of the moves you do in a gym involve a singular back and forth motion. But in real life, you may need to move in more than just one direction.
How to train: Start by performing multifaceted movements in various planes of movements.
Endurance Endurance means you can keep up with heart-pumping activities for extended periods of time. This type of strength comes in handy when you’re running, working on household chores for hours, or performing any kind of workout that stretches over a longer period of time. Plus, more strength endurance means better posture and enhanced performance during any workout. How to train: Cardio exercises are the best endurance tools. Aim to improve endurance by lengthening the duration and intensity over time.
Explosive dexterity Dexterity is the reaction and action towards a movement change. This is the key formula that defines explosive strength.
This type of strength has to do with your muscles lengthening, followed by a rapid shortening, as well as how quickly you can move through a range of motions.
By working to improve dexterity, you’ll reap the benefits of reduced reaction time and improved resiliency of muscle and connective tissues.
How to train: Dexterity works best when muscles, connective tissue and the nervous system work before the brain can react. List down five task-based exercises. In random order, get a partner to bark out the tasks to be performed. Increase the list over time.
Absolute strength Defined by bodybuilders and strongmen, maximum strength is the optimum level of muscle force that the body can produce. It involves a specific muscle, or group of muscles, using all of their motor units in order to create a maximum effect.
This type of strength comes into play whenever you’re power lifting, squatting, dead lifting, or bench pressing.
How to train: Go heavy. For every exercise performed, work to heavy weights targeting six to eight reps max.
Inner power This strength has to do with your bodyweight-to-force ratio. When muscular efficiency and muscular force increase while your body stays at a consistent mass, your relative strength will rise. So basically, relative strength equals efficient strength.
How to train: There isn’t a specific workout for building relative strength, because it has to do with multiple abilities. So instead of dwelling on a specific workout, try a little bit of everything to build this type of efficient strength.
Balance The ability to balance and have good stability skills may not seem important. But everything we do relies heavily on our ability to balance, yet maintaining balancing skills is one of the most underrated aspects of well-being.
As we age, we gradually start to lose our muscle strength, vision and sensory perception – all things that contribute to our ability to balance. As a result, our mobility can be compromised and lead to falling.
How to train: Soft exercise programmes like yoga help.
Flexibility Being flexible will improve your performance in physical activities, and decrease your risk of injuries by helping your joints move through their full range of motion. It also enables your muscles to work most effectively.
These include the ability to walk up three steps at a time (hamstring flexibility), or washing your entire back with both hands (shoulder flexibility).
How to train: Stretching, of course, and some yoga helps too.
Let’s be fit!
Jonathan Tan is the club manager of the Sports Toto Fitness Centre at Berjaya Times Square. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.