What is Strength?
Strength is the foundation from which all forms of athletic movement becomes possible. A solid strength foundation should be the first and most important element in someone’s exercise program. If your goal is simply to develop an aesthetic physique, strength training in combination with a proper diet is all you need. Not that cardio is bad or cannot aid your goals if done strategically, but it's not necessary (more on this later).
Our muscles are governed by our nervous system, which is operated by our brain.
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Together, our muscles and our nervous system form our neuromuscular system. These two are always interconnected; think of them like electricity and magnetism – you cannot have the one without the other. Therefore, whenever you apply stress on your muscles, whether you are doing pull-ups or pistol squats, you also apply stress on your nervous system. Both of them can only handle so much. If you over-train them for a long period, they will eventually start to fatigue and the overall amount of reps you can perform on a daily basis will decline.
Types of Muscle Tension.
Strength is produced by our muscles with three types of tension:
1. Concentric Tension: This is when the muscle belly decreases in size to produce force. To remember this type, think that the muscle always contracts in the concentric type. Keep in mind that in all three situations the muscles contract but most people have in mind concentric tension when they think about muscle contraction.
2. Eccentric Tension: Is when the muscle belly increases in size while the muscle is contracting. To remember this, think that the muscle extends when the muscle is in eccentric contraction.
3. Isometric Tension: Is when the length of the muscle remains the same while still producing tension. Iso in Greek means equal.
If it's the first time you are hearing of these terms you might feel overwhelmed. Hey, when I first heard them I was more than overwhelmed. But, have a look at the following examples which will clear up any confusion:
Because a video is worth a thousand words here's a short video example.