Factors Influencing Strength And Explosive Performance In Athletic Activities

Muscle size, gender, limb length, tendons, and muscle fiber type affect strength

Strength and power are components of fitness which have many similarities. These similarities include the need to use force to conquer resistance while in motion. Contraction of specific muscle is involved in both and are components of fitness which can be measured. It is the ability of the muscle to overcome resistance through energy application in one effort while the quantity of work done per unit of time is power. Strength tests comprise the squat for the lower body, lifting weights upwards when in a supine position (meant for upper body) and lifting from a standing position for both the lower back and leg assessments(Benedek & Leuciuc, 2010). Power is skill related element while strength is measured by the amount of weight lifted.

Increase in the size of muscles and strength can happen to everyone regardless of age after undergoing a strength training program which is effective and safe (Brandon, 2005). However, strength plus muscle gain happens to be high from 10 and 20 years since those are the fast growth and development years. When one gains the standard physical maturity developments of muscles is not fast as compared to the teenage years.

Gender is the state of being a male or a female.  The quality of our muscle is not affected by age, unlike quantity. Male and female muscles are similarly characterized. The male sex hormone increases the muscle size hence making men have more muscle tissues than women (Casartelli, Muller, & Maffiuletti, 2010). The size of the muscle is directly proportional to the strength, therefore, the bigger the muscles one has, the stronger he is, and this is why most males are muscular and stronger than females.

Limb length is a naturally determined strength factor. People with short legs lift lots of weight due to advantageous leverage aspects than to people with long legs whose leverage factors are not beneficial (Cornie et al., 2007). Differences in the development of strength may rise due to the length variation of muscles. People with long muscle have tremendous possibilities for size and strength development compared to people with short muscles.

Tendons similarly known as sinews are tight bands of fibrous connective tissue that joins muscles to bones and are capable of enduring pressure. They are made of collagen. The function of tendons is to transmit forces (Dotan & Bar –Or, 2003).  The point of tendon insertion influences the strength of muscles. A good example of this can be given by assuming Jude and Jade have same arm as well as muscle lengths. Jude’s biceps tendons attach to her forearm while Jade’s biceps attaches to his elbow joint. Here Jude has a biomechanical benefit of lifting more weight than Jade.
Muscle fiber is of two kinds namely, fast twitch and slow twitch. Fast twitch is used for anaerobic activities while slow twitch is used for aerobic exercises (Fahey et al., 2005). Slow twitch yields small levels of force for a long period making them more suitable for endurance activities. Fast twitch yield high levels of energy for a short period and therefore are the best ideal for power activities, e.g., weightlifting.

Fast-twitch muscle fibers, neural impulses, reaction time, and muscle stiffness affect explosive performance

The above mentioned muscle fibers should be recruited by athletes for improved explosive power and strength. Explosive performances being one of the power activities fast twitch muscle fiber fit best here. Fast twitch muscles require greater stimulus and are predominantly active in larger motor units (Faigenbaum, Milliken, &Westcott, 2003). An athlete must include appropriate training which explosive power is based to -train these high force developing fibers successfully.

This is the regularity at which neural impulses are led to already active motor units. The increased uniformity of neural impulses sent to the motor units leads to increased amount of force created without activating more motor units.

It is the time difference between the signal of the starter’s gun as well as the first moment the athlete exerts a certain amount of pressure on the starting blocks. Athletes with better reaction time have a psychological advantage over their opponents.

It is the amount of muscle deformation relative to the amount of force acting on the muscles. An athlete can be able to display considerable stiffness and be elastic at the same time. Elite athletes exhibit more stiffness than novice athletes since their joints move less when they come in contact with the ground when jumping and sprinting (Hopkins, Schabort, &Hawley, 2001). Athletes regulate their level of stiffness depending on the duty and surface. Stiffness comprises contractile and structural components hence tissues adapt to become stiffer and muscles contract faster and harder creating stiffness.

Rationale, Strengths and Limitations of Using 1 RM, Isokinetic Force, Wingate Sprints and Jump Height to Assess the Strength and Explosive Power

Used to merge the intense contractions of isometric exercises with a variety of motion reached in tasks which are isotonic.

All are measures of fitness used before letting an athlete go out for competition with the opponents. They cannot be ignored at any time, and any athlete must pass the tests first. They are related to one another in that all are used to measure whether the athlete is good for the performance and are used to avoid messing with their health (Ortega et al., 2008). Coaches are trained first before getting down to teach the athletes. These activities are used to strengthen the body muscles. The reason for their similarities are, all are findings that are used to show how far an athlete has gone. What is needed to be worked on to get to the next level and they are great tools for determining a proper progression of one’s fitness routines, risks of injury and for reinforcing a sense of personal accomplishment.
Reasons for their differences are that they consist some exercises that focus on different things which are either strength, balance, endurance or flexibility. The focus depends on the type of athlete, e.g.; a sprinter performer may have different exercises from a high jumper (Winwood et al., 2014). They may differ due to nature of activity involved, i.e., if it’s aerobic or anaerobic. Aerobic activities trigger more difficulty breathing and faster heat beats and result in increased lung and heart fitness. Anaerobic exercises are the intense enough physical events which leads to the formation of lactate (Warburton, Nicol, & Bredin, 2006). They are used in non-endurance sports to promote speed and power, strength and muscle building, especially in bodybuilders.

How the Information about 1RM, Isokinetic Force, Wingate Sprints and Jump Height Can Be Used To Guide Training and Predict Sporting Performance

These are measures used to test for fitness in athletes. A fitness test must imitate one of the fitness demands of sport for one to be relevant to a game. Test of fitness must be valid, reliable, accurate, sport specific and scientifically sensitive to notice fitness variations (Thomas, Silverman, &Nelson, 2015). To be valid a test must test what is intended to, e.g., a cyclist having as many press-ups as possible shows a good measure of maximal endurance, but this is not a valid test since cycling does not require muscle endurance but maximal muscle strength. If a test lacks the specificity of the sport, it becomes invalid for a particular sport (Souiss et al., 2010).

Strengths and Limitations of Using 1 RM, Isokinetic Force, Wingate Sprints, and Jump Height to Assess Strength and Explosive Power

Reliability is defined as consistency and repeatability of the test. Ideally when athletes undergo similar test repeatedly under same conditions with no change in the identical fitness results should be produced. A test must be sensitive scientifically for it to notice changes in fitness otherwise it could be difficult to notice fitness gains earned. This may discourage the athlete and may lead to undermining the coach (Rossi e al., 2005). The sensitivity of a test is dependent on measurement accuracy and test reliability. The information above is beneficial to a coach and the trainee.

The coach uses the information above about fitness to measure the strengths and weaknesses of the trainee relative to the demands of their sport. By knowing the strengths and weaknesses, the coach is, therefore, able to plan on how to improve on the weakness and exploit the strengths (Petit et al., 2010). This is done through giving proper exercises relative to the sport and not beyond one’s fitness level. The information also aids in the recommendation of appropriate training loads. It is achieved better after understanding the requirements of the sports one is intended to engage.

Monitoring the efficiency of the training is also achieved by the aid of this information. It is done through noticing any changes either positive or negative changes on the trainee. The coach is then able to give the right advice concerning the changes.    The information triggers short-term fitness goals. By knowing one’s fitness level and understanding on the benefits of fitness one can have short-term goals.e.g when a trainee understands that the sport they are engaged in requires specific strength or speed, they can set their goals and procedures on how to attain the required speed or strength. Coaches may also help them by administering the best activities to engage in for them to reach the requirements (Pate et al., 2005). They may also assist in checking the discipline of the trainee on their way to achieving their set goals. The information can be used by coaches to design training programs which can help improve team’s performance.


Despite all the measures of fitness one cannot rise above their level of fitness. Level of fitness is the ability of the body to endure a physical workload and get better promptly. It can be learned through the fitness test from Health reviser (a computer used to analyze one’s fitness level using one’s physiological data).Incorporating different types of exercises in one’s workout routine assists in creating a well-rounded fitness that the body and heart will appreciate and also helps in breaking the monotony. Improving one’s level of fitness involves focusing on the following constituents of physical fitness which are strength and endurance of muscles, elasticity, cardiovascular endurance, and body configuration. Testing can either be conducted on the field or in the laboratory. Tests done on the field have an advantage over the lab tests because they are performed in the sporting environment.

Performing the tests on the sporting environment helps in increasing the specificity of the test since data can be controlled in context.  However, for one a coach to give meaningful results, tests on the field need significant care and thought in its supervision. After a fitness test comparison of the test, scores with those expected for participants in the sport should be made by the coach. If the results in the specific fitness need specific attention, then the significant training should be given, and feedback to the performer is critical too.

Reference List

Benedek, F. and Leuciuc, F.V., 2010. Using electronic device for muscular strenght determination. Elektronika ir Elektrotechnika, 106(10), pp.173-176.

Brandon, L.J., 2005. Physiological factors associated with middle distance running performance. Sports Medicine, 19(4), pp.268-277.

Casartelli, N., Müller, R. and Maffiuletti, N.A., 2010. Validity and reliability of the Myotest accelerometric system for the assessment of vertical jump height. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 24(11), pp.3186-3193.

Cormie, P., Deane, R. and McBride, J.M., 2007. Methodological concerns for determining power output in the jump squat. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 21(2), p.424.

Dotan, R. and Bar-Or, O., 2003. Load optimization for the Wingate anaerobic test. European journal of applied physiology and occupational physiology, 51(3), pp.409-417.

Fahey, T.D., Insel, P.M., Roth, W.T. and Insel, C., 2005. Fit & Well: Core concepts and labs in physical fitness and wellness. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Faigenbaum, A.D., Milliken, L.A. and Westcott, W.L., 2003. Maximal strength testing in healthy children. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 17(1), pp.162-166.

Hopkins, W.G., Schabort, E.J. and Hawley, J.A., 2001. Reliability of power in physical performance tests. Sports medicine, 31(3), pp.211-234.

Kean, C.O., Behm, D.G. and Young, W.B., 2006. Fixed foot balance training increases rectus femoris activation during landing and jump height in recreationally active women. Journal of sports science & medicine, 5(1), p.138.

Markovic, G., 2007. Does plyometric training improve vertical jump height? A meta-analytical review. British journal of sports medicine, 41(6), pp.349-355.

Mulder, E.R., Stegeman, D.F., Gerrits, K.H.L., Paalman, M.I., Rittweger, J., Felsenberg, D. and De Haan, A., 2006. Strength, size and activation of knee extensors followed during 8 weeks of horizontal bed rest and the influence of a countermeasure. European journal of applied physiology, 97(6), pp.706-715.

Ortega, F.B., Ruiz, J.R., Castillo, M.J. and Sjöström, M., 2008. Physical fitness in childhood and adolescence: a powerful marker of health. International journal of obesity, 32(1), p.1
Papadopoulos, G., Siatras, T.H. and Kellis, S., 2005. The effect of static and dynamic stretching exercises on the maximal isokinetic strength of the knee extensors and flexors. Isokinetics and exercise science, 13(4), pp.285-291.

Pate, R.R., Pratt, M., Blair, S.N., Haskell, W.L., Macera, C.A., Bouchard, C., Buchner, D., Ettinger, W., Heath, G.W., King, A.C. and Kriska, A., 2005. Physical activity and public health: a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicine. Jama, 273(5), pp.402-407.

Petit, P.D., Pensini, M., Tessaro, J., Desnuelle, C., Legros, P. and Colson, S.S., 2010. Optimal whole-body vibration settings for muscle strength and power enhancement in human knee extensors. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, 20(6), pp.1186-1195.

Rossi, M.D., Brown, L.E. and Whitehurst, M., 2005. Early strength response of the knee extensors during eight weeks of resistive training after unilateral total knee arthroplasty. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 19(4), p.944.

Souissi, N., Driss, T., Chamari, K., Vandewalle, H., Davenne, D., Gam, A., Fillard, J.R. and Jousselin, E., 2010. Diurnal variation in Wingate test performances: influence of active warm-up. Chronobiology international, 27(3), pp.640-652.

Thomas, J.R., Silverman, S. and Nelson, J., 2015. Research methods in physical activity, 7E. Human kinetics.

Warburton, D.E., Nicol, C.W. and Bredin, S.S., 2006. Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence. Canadian medical association journal, 174(6), pp.801-809.

Winwood, P.W., Cronin, J.B., Keogh, J.W., Dudson, M.K. and Gill, N.D., 2014. How coaches use strongman implements in strength and conditioning practice. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 9(5), pp.1107-1125.

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