Most Athletic Movements Are Too Fast to Express Maximal Force

maximal strength rate of force development May 27, 2022


How to Train Athletes

Recently on Instagram, @ericcressey posted about the diminishing returns point of max strength work for athletes and it got me thinking.⁣ There are few sport movements that take place over a long enough time to actually express maximal strength⁣.

  • For example:⁣ ⁣ It takes about 0.5 seconds to express maximal strength⁣
    • Sprinting at max velocity, ground contact time is 0.09-0.11 seconds⁣ ⁣
    • In the acceleration phase of sprinting: 0.17-0.2 seconds⁣ ⁣
    • Change of direction: 0.4-0.7 seconds⁣ ⁣

Athletes Should Not Be Trained Like Powerlifters

So while strength definitely matters for joint stability, creating force, etc. it’s not productive for athletes to train like powerlifters.

Unfortunately, a lot of coaches learn from powerlifters and pass down bad information (ex: push through the heels, look up to go up, always squat to depth, etc.)⁣.

As you can see in the graph, a more productive quality for most athletes to chase is rate of force development.⁣ ⁣ I’d rather be the soccer player who can cut the hardest in 0.2 seconds than the soccer player who can squat the most to depth.⁣ ⁣

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