Maximum strength

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The maximum force is the greatest possible force that the human neuromuscular system can arbitrarily exert against resistance. The terms maximum strength, or raw strength, are also used as synonyms . Under special conditions ( fear of death , hypnosis , electrical stimulation carried out in addition to maximum voluntary muscle contraction, etc.) even more power can be generated for a short time. This higher force, which is composed of the maximum force and the power reserves, the so-called autonomously protected reserves, is referred to as the absolute force .


The maximum strength forms the basis for the other strength properties ( strength endurance , rapid strength , reactive strength ). It can be divided into two different categories. The static (isometric) maximum force (e.g. holding force) is the greatest possible force that a nerve-muscle system can exert against an insurmountable resistance. In contrast to this, the dynamic maximum force occurs within movements, which is characterized by the fact that the movement can only be performed once under predefined conditions due to the high level of stress (Ehlenz, 2003 and Grosser, 2004).

Due to the different working methods of the muscles, the dynamic maximum force is further subdivided in the literature into a concentric (overcoming the maximum possible resistance) and an eccentric (cf. when lowering the maximum weight) maximum force. These differ from the static / isometric maximum strength in that the concentric is below the static / isometric and this in turn is below the eccentric maximum strength (see Schmidtbleicher). The eccentric maximum force corresponds to the metrological representation of the absolute force (see above). A distinction makes sense in practice, since the difference between the eccentric and isometric maximum strength can be used to determine a so-called individual strength deficit, which can provide information on further training planning (Ehlenz, 2003). A high strength deficit indicates poor intramuscular coordination, which can be improved through appropriate maximum strength training. Conversely, in the medium term only hypertrophy training (increasing muscle thickness) can achieve a decisive improvement in strength skills if there is a high degree of intramuscular coordination in the case of a low strength deficit.

Schmidtbleicher (2008) postulates, however, that “a distinction between dynamic concentric, isometric and dynamic eccentric maximum force is impermissible from a dimensional analysis point of view. All of the described forms of contraction are based on a uniform ability, which is described in sufficient detail with the term maximum force. "

Determining factors

Factors that determine the maximum strength (Ehlenz, 2003; Grosser, 2004; Hollmann / Hettinger 2000; Schmidtbleicher, 2008):

Internal factors:

  • the physiological muscle cross-section (the muscle thickness): the larger the cross-section, the higher the number of contractile elements actin and myosin .
  • the number of muscle fibers
  • the fiber type ratio (mainly the ratio between type I and type II fibers)
  • the muscle structure (direction of feathering)
  • intermuscular coordination (interaction of different synergistic muscles)
  • the intramuscular coordination : recruitment, frequenting and synchronization of neural muscular control (interaction of muscle fibers within the muscle)
  • the muscle fiber length and the respective angle of tension
  • the muscle elasticity
  • the static maximum force as a condition for the dynamic maximum force
  • muscle pre-stretching (dynamic maximum strength)
  • the contraction speed of the muscle (dynamic maximum force)
  • the (psycho-mental) level of motivation and the ability to concentrate (voluntary activation ability)
  • the gender (due to the average different muscle percentage)
  • Age (due to the amount of testosterone before puberty and the decrease in muscle mass from around the age of 30)
  • the state of training (enzymatic capacity, muscle thickness, capillarization, etc.)
  • the nutritional status (see malnutrition , dehydration, etc.)
  • the state of preparation ( warming up )

External factors:

  • the time of day (minimum between 2 and 5 a.m., maximum in the early afternoon and evening hours)
  • the ambient temperature (conditional)
  • the mass to be moved (dynamic maximum force)
  • the motivation due to external circumstances (spectators, test procedures, etc.)
  • the measuring arrangement for the determination / testing

The maximum power capacity (muscle cross-coordination and indirectly their motivation) are physical ( resistance training ) and mental training influenced. Recent studies show that the fiber type ratio can apparently be influenced to a limited extent. It is still unclear whether the number of fibers (hyperplasia) can be changed through training. In addition, the latest studies show that moderate strength gains are made possible not only through mental motivation techniques, but even through the mere imagination of muscle contractions (corresponds to special mental training). This supports the assumption that the optimization of muscular activation (intramuscular coordination) is a central nervous learning effect (Reiser, 2005).

For sports practice, it is usually not the absolute but the relative strength that is decisive, which results from the ratio of maximum strength and body weight.

See also


  • Bührle: Dimensions of strength behavior and their specific training methods. In: Bührle (Hrsg.): Basics of maximum strength and speed strength training . Series of publications by the Federal Institute for Sport Science. Vol. 56, 1985, pp. 82-111.
  • Khaled Ebada & Arnd Krüger : Problems of Weightlifting Training in Children and Adolescents. (PDF)
  • Ehlenz, Grosser, Zimmermann: strength training. BLV, 2003, ISBN 978-3-405-15583-4 .
  • Grosser, Starischka, Zimmermann: The new fitness training. BLV Sportwissen, 2004, ISBN 3-405-16741-8 .
  • Harre, Lotz: speed strength training. In: Theory and Practice of Body Culture , Volume 33, Issue Number 6, Berlin 1984, pp. 452-460, ISSN  0563-4458 .
  • Hollmann, Hettinger: Sports Medicine. 4th edition. Schattauer, 2000, ISBN 3-7945-1672-9 .
  • Komi (ed.): Strength and speed in sport . Volume 3. Dt. Doctors-Verlag Cologne, 1994, ISBN 3-7691-0288-6 .
  • A. Krüger : Maximum strength . In: competitive sport , 47 (2017), 5, 37–38.
  • M. Reiser: Gains in strength by imagining maximum muscle contractions. In: Zeitschrift für Sportpsychologie , 12, 11–21.
  • D. Schmidtbleicher: Motor demand form force. In: Deutsche Zeitschrift für Sportmedizin , 38, 1987, 9, pp. 356-377.
  • D. Schmidtbleicher: Diagnosis of strength abilities using the example of Frankfurt performance diagnostics . ( Memento of July 5, 2007 in the Internet Archive ). Retrieved March 28, 2008
  • Zatsiorsky: weight training. Practice and Science . Meyer & Meyer Verlag, 1996, ISBN 3-89124-333-2 .

Individual evidence

  1. Ehlenz et al., 2003