Speed Strength vs. Explosive Strength

I am curious as to how the contributors to the forum differentiate the above two motor qualities and the optimal training to improve each. As a matter of definition, I understand speed strength to be the ability to move a light or unloaded movement as quickly as possible. Explosive strength, on the other hand, is the ability to produce maximum force in minimum time. Explosive strength generally involves the stretch-shortening cycle (reactive strength) but what about speed strength? Is it possible to maximize speed strength without employing the SSC? I may be nitpicking here but how to differentiate between these two motor abilities is not clear to me.

yeah I usually assumed that speed strength was without the SSC where as explosive strength utilizes the short eccentric phase to increase force.

Herein lies the question “What activity involves moving fast without employing the SSC?” Certainly not sprinting. Maybe, by definition, bench pressing but so what? What is the value in moving the bar faster in the bench press except potentially being able to move more weight if accompanied by maximum effort training? Hence my confusion. I would really appreciate some help here.

I would agree that most movements require use of the SSC. The places where speed strength might come into play would be that first step out of the blocks, coming out of a stance in football, or something of that nature. In most sports, explosive strength seems to predominate. Also I would assume that there is a good bit of transferrance between the two strength qualities so it might help to work on either or both at different times in the training year.

i agree and things to help those skills would be pause jump squats with a 3-5sec pause.

That is an excellent answer. I was’nt thinking about sprint starts or moving out of a three point stance. Good examples.

Are speed strength vs. explosive strength trained very differently or similarly?

Pretty similarly. Again speed strength would be anything withoutthe eccentric(lowering) phase. hang cleans, snatches(assuming you are doing the half versions where you are not trying to duck under and catch the bar), as utfootball said, paused jump squats, etc. Examples of training explosive strength would be any jumping drills, dive bomb squats(although be very careful with those) the rebound push ups, or sprinting.

If you want to get down to the real nitty gritty - explosive strength itself does not have to involve the SSC.

Explosive strength in the strictest sense is the relationship of Fmax to Tmax in the force-time curve - and is characterized by the athlete’s ability to display powerful effort in a minimal amount of time (simply the maximal rate of force development). Explosive strength itself can be developed under concentric only conditions.

The ability to display explosive strength in the SSC is typically termed reactive ability. A very slight difference in definition, but requires different methods in training.

When talking about speed-strength - the term itself is a very general one, and as Siff points out in his book, is very context dependent. Speed strength can be produced under extremely diverse conditions, each of them requiring different methods to train. Explosive strength is a component of speed strength. They are not seperate entities.

Going out to a Christmas party, but will comment more tommorow. I look forward to what others have to say.

Shows you what I know, lol. Look forward to hearing more.

Agree explosive strength need not necessarily involve the SSC. However, according to Siff:

-Speed Strength characterizes the ability to quickly execute an unloaded movement or a movement against a relatively small external resistance. SPEED STRENGTH IS ASSESSED IN TERMS OF THE SPEED OF THE MOVEMENT.

-Explosive Strength characterizes the ability to produce maximal force in a minimal time. THE INDEX OF EXLOSIVE STRENGTH (IES) IS OFTEN DESCRIBED ROUGHLY BY DIVIDING THE MAXIMUM FORCE BY THE TIME (Tmax) TAKEN TO PRODUCE THIS LEVEL OF FORCE.

Elsewhere in Supertraining:

Examination of this force-velocity curve enables us to recognise five different strength-related qualities (as discussed earlier):
-ISOMETRIC STRENGTH at zero velocity;
-QUASI-ISOMETRIC STRENGTH at very low velocities;
-STRENGTH SPEED at low velocities;
-SPEED STRENGTH at intermediate velocities;
-EXPLOSIVE STRENGTH at high velocity.

So, as we can see, things can get a little bit confusing in considering the definitions.

IIRC, typical definitions were

speed-strength was around 20-30% 1RM. So plyos, unweighed stuff, even light medball involving very high speeds. focus is on speed of movement

strength-speed (possibly synonymous with explosive strength) wsa around 60-70% or so. typical power movements like cleans, snatches, even WSBB style DE work


Lyles definitions are as I understand the differences and while I’m not am MMA expert - but I would expect a punch is an unloaded movement? And as mentioned previously first step is another.

speed is distance to cover and strength is ability to move objects, they do not belong in the same boat.

quite simply put… if u can squat 1000 doe sit mean u can run the 100 in 8 seconds… NO…

get my angle…