Explosive Strength

I’ve been reading through a lot of threads, and I’m confused about this. Is explosive strength the same as acceleration strength or are they different qualities, and correct if I am wrong, explosive strength is Fm/Tm. So is RFD=explosive strength, or RFD the Tm since it is the rate or time to peak force? I would appreciate any help on this.

Explosive strength is a term used to describe the quality of an athlete being able to recruit close to the maximal # of fibers he can recruit from the very beginning and maintain the application of force to the ground as velocity is increased.

I believe the continum of movement started from a still position and bring it back to the original position or rest: (a olympic movement for example)
Starting strength --> acceleration strength --> RFD --> Explosive strength (maximal RFD) -> Maximum strength --> Strength endurance --> Deceleration strength

I don’t have my references/books available to me to double check this, so correct me if I’m wrong.

To add to narked’s description … I just remember explosive strength as the most force produced in minimal time. And acceleration strength is the athletes ability to generate force as fast as possible once the movement has already started, so not in a isometric fashion such as starting strength. Starting strength is like acceleration strength, but held in a isometric fashion. So building up as much force a possible as fast as possible under isometric conditions. I think that is right. :slight_smile:

Taken from Supertraining 5th edition:

Type of Strength

Maximum Strength- Characterizes the athlete’s strength potential and is a measure of the maximal voluntary isometric force which can be produced without a time limit or a limit to the amount of weight lifted
Relative Strength Amount of force produced per kilogram of bodymass or sports apparatus

Speed-Strength- Characterizes the ability to quickly execute an unloaded movement or a movement against a relatively small external resistance

Strength-Speed- Power capability in sport, characterizes the ability to attempt to quickly execute a loaded movement or movement against a high external resistance

Explosive Strength/RFD- Characterizes the ability to produce maximal force in a minimal time

Starting Strength- Ability of the muscles to develop force at the beginning of the working contraction before external movement occurs

Acceleration-Strength- Ability over time to quickly achieve maximal external force while developing muscle tension isometrically or at the beginning of a dynamic contraction

Strength-Endurance- Characterizes the ability to effectively maintain muscular functioning under work conditions of long duration

Reactive Strength- The switch from stretching to active contraction uses the elastic energy of the stretch to increase power of the subsequent contraction

Thanks guys, your replies really helped me understand this better. So, does your relative strength level along with how well developed your reactive, starting, and acceleration strength determine your explosive strength/RFD?

You got it!

Check out this information by 62 that was provided to me in a correspondence on EFS:

It is important to remember that the longer a specific trait/motor ability is trained, the longer it is retained. A directed training effect has to undergo a delayed transformation. During this time of delayed transformation, which is approximately equal to the length of the training load (ex/a 3 week max strength block will be evident in 3 weeks if properly programmed), the body responds to the new or forced stimulus by a combination of genetic programming that gives rise to new proteins that are built into our neuronal circuitry and stored for later activity. This consolidation of emergent properties combine to yield additional emergent properties. Ex/ max speed 0-20% + starting strength 20-40% + unquantifiable strength 40-60% + accelerative strength 60-80% + max strength 80-100% = EXPLOSIVE STRENGTH.

Yes, and if you can increase max strength by a sizeable amount all other expressions of strength preceeding will POTENTIALLY improve. For some people it will not be so evident because their nervous system needs to practice that particular activity that they want to affect by increasing max strength to reap the benefits. So for example, an athlete that improves his squat max may not see immediate benefits in his first 30m until he practices 30m sprints to a certain volume, on the other hand there are athletes who will see almost immediate gains without practice!!
Some athletes need to rest after a max strength block before reaping the benefits. By increasing max strength without gains in weight you will also improve relative strength.

Thanks jman and martn, that’s some great information! Checked out your website Jman; great stuff. On your site you described both conjugate and concurrent periodization. They seem similar to me. How are they different? I thought that conjugate periodization was training more than one abilities at the same time like Westside’s ME and DE days in the same week, but I guess that would be concurrent periodization.

Thanks for checking out the site.

I recently discussed the exact same question to 62 on EFS. I too had questions as to the comparison of Conjugate and Concurrent training.

Here’s the dealio on Conjugate vs Concurrent.

In it’s essence, Conjugate entails the sequential development/prioritization of sport/strength specific abilities by means of uni-directional loading. However, although uni-directional loading is utilized there is still a certain amount of training volume allotted to the development and or maintenance of all other sport/strength specific abilities. Hence, the simultaneous/concurrent development of abilities.

Concurrent is also a method of simultaneous development of all sport/strength specific abilities, however, by means of complex loading only. Complex loading being the training of multiple abilities during a single workout or micro cycle. The former USSR/Eastern Bloc has illustrated that complex training tends to be less optimal for elite athletes, as complex loading on it’s own does not allow for enough training volume to be allotted to the development of any one single ability.

What the former USSR/Eastern Bloc has shown us is that once an athlete reaches elite levels, the majority of training time must be directed towards further developing SPP above all else. The most optimal method for developing any single ability is uni-directional loading. This uni-directional loading allows the athlete to spend the entire training block focusing on a single ability. However, as I already stated, there is also training time allotted to developing/maintaining other abilities so as to avoid the detraining effect which is synonymous with the uni-directional approach to Linear periodization (Western periodization).

So what you end up with, regarding Conjugate training, is an optimal means of integrating the complex loading of the Concurrent method into the sequential plan of the Conjugate system, thereby allowing the athlete to prioritize various abilities at various points throughout the annual cycle while concurrently developing/maintaining all other abilities.

The above is a summation of the work of Siff/Verkoshansky.

So as you can see, the WSB method is absolutely an application of Conjugate training. Complex loading is used in the sense that various abilities are addressed in single workouts/microcycles, however, the uni-directional approach is utilized in addressing/prioritizing the development of various strengths/lifts throughout the course of various training blocks leading to competitions.

The WSB method is truly a work in progress, as the continual progression of training (by way of means/methods being dropped/added based on efficacy) happens before our very eyes. This is illustrated in the training logs of the lifters who contribute to EFS

The complete understanding of the manipulation of the various methods of periodizing training is, in my opinion, the key to all. This may be defined as the Programming and Organization of training.


Jman, thanks for the reply. That makes a lot sense, and helped me understand the concept much better. I appreciate your help.