Muscular Strength

By Rachael and Lauren

What is it?

Muscular Strength is the maximal force that can be generated that can be generated by a muscle or muscle group in one maximal effort.

What are the factors that affect muscular strength?

  • Cross-sectional area (larger = more force)

  • Muscle length and joint angle (120 degrees = best angle for force application)

  • Fibre Type (white fibres apply more force)

  • Sex (males have a larger cross-sectional area)

  • Muscle type (Pennate muscle allows greater force. Fusiform allows greater force)

  • Speed (as speed of contraction increases amount of force decreases

Recognised Tests

Grip strength

Grip strength is the force applied by the hand to pull on or suspend from objects and is a specific part of hand strength.

To partake in this test you will need a dynamometer (which is an instrument which measures the power output of an engine, in this case a muscle.)

To effectively utilise this test you will need to adjust the hand grip size to a position that Is comfortable for individual, the subject will then stand erect with their arms at their sides. The dynamometer is held parallel to the side, with the dial facing away from the body. The individual will then squeeze the dynamometer as a hard as possible without moving their arm. Three trials are usually are usually administered for each hand, with a one minute rest between trails.

Victoria Police Grip Strength Dynamometer Review


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Abdominal Strength (Sit ups)

Abdominal Strength (Sit ups) is a physical exercise that Is designed to strengthen the abdominal muscles, It is when a person sits up from a laying position on their back without using their arms for leverage.

To perform this test you will need a 2.5kg and 5kg weights.

To successfully partake in this test the performer lies on their back with their knees at right angles and their feet flat on the ground. The individual then attempts to complete one sit-up from each of the levels in the table below. Each level is completed satisfactorily if they can can compete on full sit-up without their feet coming off the floor.

The 7 Stage Abdominal Strength Test


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1RM Leg Press

The aim of this test is to assess maximal strength of the leg musculature. It is essential from an injury-management perspective that correct technique in a controlled manner is demonstrated at all times.

To perform this test you will need to:

  1. Warm up by completing several sub maximal repetitions
  2. Determine the 1RM within four trials, with rest periods of 3 to 5 minutes between each trial
  3. Select and initial weight that is within the subjects capacity
  4. Resistance is progressively increased by 2.5 to 20 kilograms until the subject cannot complete the selected repetition.
  5. The final weight lifted successfully is recorded as the absolute 1RM


Leg press ratio = weight lifted / body weight

How to do a 1 RM on leg press


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Methods to Improve Muscular Strength:

  • Resistance Training
  • Circuit Training
  • Core Strength Exercises
  • Swiss Ball Exercises

Resistance Training

  • Also known as weight training
  • A properly constructed and individualised weight-training program will enhance sporting performance
  • Initial gains from weight training can occur rapidly

Benefits of Weight Training:

  • Increases strength (allows an increase in force production)
  • Promotes weight loss and balance
  • Helps prevent osteoporosis
  • Improves psychological wellbeing
  • Improves dynamic stability
  • Forms the foundation for the development of speed, power and agility
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Circuit Training

  • Comprises of a sequenced performance of exercises at different activity stations
  • Can improve multiple fitness components
  • A circuit can be developed for specific needs

Benefits of Circuit Training:

  • Offers variety
  • Several fitness components can be targeted
  • Can be modified for the athletes specific needs
  • Minimal equipment is required
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Core Strength Exercises (includes Swiss Ball Exercises)

Improved core strength is associated with:

  • improved running eficiency
  • decreased risk of injury
  • improved transfer of power between the lower and upper body
  • improved balance
  • the potential to improve both acceleration and deceleration

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