Absolute Strength and Strength Endurance Similarity/Difference

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I have this idea in my head that if a lot of reps at ~80% of max is a staple for increasing absolute strength, then a lot of sets of ~80% of max reps would be equally effective for strength endurance. Are these two concepts similar or very different due to the physiology?
 

Steve Freides

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I have this idea in my head that if a lot of reps at ~80% of max is a staple for increasing absolute strength, then a lot of sets of ~80% of max reps would be equally effective for strength endurance. Are these two concepts similar or very different due to the physiology?
My understanding is the the percentage of max reps needs to be lower for endurance or strength-endurance type work.

-S-
 

the hansenator

Level 6 Valued Member
My first thought is that you might not be able to do many sets at 80%. Over time, as you add more sets, you've gotten stronger too and it's no longer 80%.
 

ClaudeR

Level 6 Valued Member
80% max is usually considered a 5rm, so lots of reps with it is not very realistic... unless you have lots of rest periods, but then it won’t train endurance much.
There is of course substantial overlap, but usually SE is trained with lower weights for much higher reps (most efficient way I guess).

SE is also best trained in short periods (think focus for 6 weeks), otherwise max strength will deteriorate, which will also deteriorate your strength endurance (which is why pure SE programs tend to produce a decrease in numbers if done for too long)
 

North Coast Miller

Level 7 Valued Member
Part of strength endurance involves clearance rates, so even if you broke it into a lot of clusters or Rest/Pause I don't think you could get enough uninterrupted TUL at 80%.

It could certainly be part of the program though. The more specific you can get the better, if you need static holding strength vs long strings of repetitive movement.
 

Deleted member 5559

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In both cases the idea is cumulative sets/reps over time, not in a single session. 80% max rep sets would still require adequate rest like 80% max weight sets.

Recently I did a few iterations of FPP and GTG. FPP increased max numbers but 30-50% GTG had a mix of increasing and decreasing max numbers. I did them both 3 times for various callisthenic movements (i.e., push-up, sit-up, pull-up). I did the GTG without additional resistance, with additional resistance, and post activation of 10% with additional resistance immediately followed by 20% without additional resistance. Another method I tried was 30-50% max reps but with shorter rests of ~60 seconds rather than throughout the day. That method was better the time I did it with additional resistance.

I assume that endurance improved with FPP due to more work being done at or near max reps. In both cases the first 50% became very easy and efficient but the difference was in the second half of the rep range. I've seen recommendations for the NFL combine max rep bench press to do absolute strength training with a final max rep set of test weight at the end. It seems that to train endurance, more time needs to be spent training closer to max which I have this idea that cumulative sets of 70-80% max reps would be similar but have not found many studies or anecdotal evidence for or against the idea.
 

Bill Been

Level 6 Valued Member
The recommendation for focus on absolute bench strength first reflects the fact that higher levels of maximal strength makes repeated bouts with submaximal loads *more sub-maximal and therefore easier to repeat. To wit: knowing nothing about two men except that one benches 405 and the other benches 235, we automatically know who will win a “strength endurance” contest of max reps with 225. In order for strength to *endure*, it must first exist. If the task is bench reps at 225, nobody gives a crap how many you could’ve done at 185.

Which overlays nicely with training. I tell trainees all the time that their ability to repeatedly produce the amount of force represented by a 225 squat is best ensured by building the ability to produce enough force to squat 285. Any dawdling around adding sets at 225 rapidly begins to elicit an entirely different adaptation - an endurance adaptation. I don’t care about building your ability to squat 225 for a bunch of sets because that does not build the ability to squat 285.

Now, if you listen to me, at some point - you’re going to be strong. Like squatting 405x5 strong. If that’s where you sputter and begin to require more specialized programming, you can simply look at me and say “Coach, football/soccer/basketball/ badminton/cycling/whatever season is about to start and I’m worried about my endurance”. Giddyup. We can very rapidly convert your 405 squat into an amount of force commensurate with a 335 squat that can go all game. Meanwhile your opposition, who decided to add tons of sets at 225 can now produce 225 all day. Yay. He loses.
 

Tuebor

Level 6 Valued Member
Perhaps. But everything I say is theory.

Anytime I have worked with a set weight and increased my reps with that weight my body gets comfortable at that weight. Whenever I go heavier (within reason) it feels heavy as f*#@ for one session. But next session it feels ok. And naturally if you can move the same weight for more reps (less than 15) you have gotten stronger (even if it's specific to that movment.)

My thoughts. Work 80% in a density format for 15-30min when you can move that weight comfortably throughout that timeframe increase the weight slightly and continue to trudge on. I like singles through triples.

I've never been a fan of 1RM -life is a grind. Everything should be in 3-5RM.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 7 Valued Member
I still have to believe a lot of it comes down to specificity. Take the McGregor Mayweather fight as a hypothetical - I'd be amazed if McGregor wasn't pushing more weight in every comparable exercise yet by round 3 his punches were losing steam and Mayweather was just getting stronger.

You could take a lot of people who at the same bodyweight can bench more than a specific athlete, but cannot convert that strength into similar endurance at the athlete's level without training in ways that will ultimately (and rapidly) reduce their limit strength gains anyway. It only translates with confidence if you're having a benching endurance contest.

Train for strength with a bit of periodizing, which should improve endurance anyway, and then train the activity. If the activity is undefined you're still better off training a variety of rep and loading schemes with an eye to prolonging your TUL. It would have to be a trade-off, if the activity is undefined how do you even know you have enough strength in the first place?

Drop setting (not to failure) by three steps, beginning with a 1-3RM load but stringing it out for 60-90 seconds as you decrease weight might be part of a good strategy, not the only one.
 

Deleted member 5559

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My understanding is the the percentage of max reps needs to be lower for endurance or strength-endurance type work.
That was what I thought also until I did a bunch of it the last few months. One of the most common methods for distance track runners is to train 25% of the race distance for a total of 1-2.5x the race distance. However, they are training run pacing which is a little different I suppose.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@Bro Mo, not sure I follow. Are you suggesting a distance runner training for a 10 km might do a weekly total, or daily total, of 10 - 25 km, by doing 2.5 km intervals/segments? And at what pace.

My understanding and experience with distance running is that once a week is intervals at the track, once a week is a tempo run, and the rest are Zone #2 and moderate/comfortable distance, typically 40-80 minutes in length, with a weekly long run. Very little training is done at race pace unless you happen to be racing 10 k's - tempo pace is typically 10 km race pace, regardless of distance, and also typically 20 minutes-ish in length and not a lot longer.

-S-
 

Kozushi

Level 7 Valued Member
The recommendation for focus on absolute bench strength first reflects the fact that higher levels of maximal strength makes repeated bouts with submaximal loads *more sub-maximal and therefore easier to repeat. To wit: knowing nothing about two men except that one benches 405 and the other benches 235, we automatically know who will win a “strength endurance” contest of max reps with 225. In order for strength to *endure*, it must first exist. If the task is bench reps at 225, nobody gives a crap how many you could’ve done at 185.

Which overlays nicely with training. I tell trainees all the time that their ability to repeatedly produce the amount of force represented by a 225 squat is best ensured by building the ability to produce enough force to squat 285. Any dawdling around adding sets at 225 rapidly begins to elicit an entirely different adaptation - an endurance adaptation. I don’t care about building your ability to squat 225 for a bunch of sets because that does not build the ability to squat 285.

Now, if you listen to me, at some point - you’re going to be strong. Like squatting 405x5 strong. If that’s where you sputter and begin to require more specialized programming, you can simply look at me and say “Coach, football/soccer/basketball/ badminton/cycling/whatever season is about to start and I’m worried about my endurance”. Giddyup. We can very rapidly convert your 405 squat into an amount of force commensurate with a 335 squat that can go all game. Meanwhile your opposition, who decided to add tons of sets at 225 can now produce 225 all day. Yay. He loses.
Well, I've recently figured this truth out through actual experience in judo. The higher up went my deadlift the more endurance let alone limit strength I got for judo. Going for strength-endurance with light weights is something more to do with cardio health since absolute limit strength beats endurance strength it seems.
 

Bill Been

Level 6 Valued Member
It’s helpful to keep a few things straight in the mind:
- There’s only one kind of strength, defined as your ability to produce force against a resistance.
- Endurance is a subset of strength, defined as your ability to continue to produce sub-maximal levels of force many times.
- In order to be able to do a task many times, you must first be strong enough to do it ONCE.
- Endurance activities will interfere with ones strength training program as the two “qualities” are the products of different adaptations. Strength training creates structural adaptations such as increased bone density, tendon thickness and elasticity, muscle cross sectional area, and an anabolic hormonal profile. Pure endurance training create chemical adaptations aimed at improving energy use and oxygen delivery - mitochondrial density, capillarization, and a catabolic hormonal profile.
- The structural adaptations are deeper, more permanent, harder-won, and slower to acquire. The chemical and enzymatic optimization of endurance training is more quickly acquired - and more quickly lost.
- With the above in mind it makes sense to organize our training to get strong first, then convert that strength (which does not revert back to some pre-strength training baseline) into adequate endurance for our sport or for our activities of daily living.
- It’s also helpful to keep in mind that while Strength is not task-specific and therefore need not be developed in postures and positions which mimic the expression of strength on the field (another thing to pray that your competition believes), conditioning IS highly specific to the task at hand. You wouldn’t train for a 40m sprint by running 5k’s nor vice versa. But either event is improved by getting an untrained individual’s squat up tbrough the easy gains of the Novice lifter.
 

offwidth

Level 9 Valued Member
It’s helpful to keep a few things straight in the mind:
- There’s only one kind of strength, defined as your ability to produce force against a resistance.
- Endurance is a subset of strength, defined as your ability to continue to produce sub-maximal levels of force many times.
- In order to be able to do a task many times, you must first be strong enough to do it ONCE.
- Endurance activities will interfere with ones strength training program as the two “qualities” are the products of different adaptations. Strength training creates structural adaptations such as increased bone density, tendon thickness and elasticity, muscle cross sectional area, and an anabolic hormonal profile. Pure endurance training create chemical adaptations aimed at improving energy use and oxygen delivery - mitochondrial density, capillarization, and a catabolic hormonal profile.
- The structural adaptations are deeper, more permanent, harder-won, and slower to acquire. The chemical and enzymatic optimization of endurance training is more quickly acquired - and more quickly lost.
- With the above in mind it makes sense to organize our training to get strong first, then convert that strength (which does not revert back to some pre-strength training baseline) into adequate endurance for our sport or for our activities of daily living.
- It’s also helpful to keep in mind that while Strength is not task-specific and therefore need not be developed in postures and positions which mimic the expression of strength on the field (another thing to pray that your competition believes), conditioning IS highly specific to the task at hand. You wouldn’t train for a 40m sprint by running 5k’s nor vice versa. But either event is improved by getting an untrained individual’s squat up tbrough the easy gains of the Novice lifter.
Strength is not task-specific
Bill could you please expand on this a bit. Thanks...
 

North Coast Miller

Level 7 Valued Member
While it makes good sense to train limit strength, any strength training beyond a certain point is not helpful- a waste of training time.
Even general strength, as repeated skill specific training will pull your top end back down to the default value needed to do the actual task. This is why many pro athletes don't pull any better numbers in the weight room than rec lifters but go all day at their sport.
Granted it isnt really clear what the break point is for any given person in a given sport/activity, but time spent going much over whats needed is time wasted. Also, training injuries tend to increase at higher %RM training per hour, all factors to consider.

Its easy enough if you're talking about lifting apples to apples, greater limit strength will generally pull higher numbers of sub-max reps. Once you start doing unprogramed strength activities all bets are off. Even just linear progression for most activities you'll hit the base level of needed limit strength pretty quickly for most athletics and rec.
 

Kozushi

Level 7 Valued Member
It’s helpful to keep a few things straight in the mind:
- There’s only one kind of strength, defined as your ability to produce force against a resistance.
- Endurance is a subset of strength, defined as your ability to continue to produce sub-maximal levels of force many times.
- In order to be able to do a task many times, you must first be strong enough to do it ONCE.
- Endurance activities will interfere with ones strength training program as the two “qualities” are the products of different adaptations. Strength training creates structural adaptations such as increased bone density, tendon thickness and elasticity, muscle cross sectional area, and an anabolic hormonal profile. Pure endurance training create chemical adaptations aimed at improving energy use and oxygen delivery - mitochondrial density, capillarization, and a catabolic hormonal profile.
- The structural adaptations are deeper, more permanent, harder-won, and slower to acquire. The chemical and enzymatic optimization of endurance training is more quickly acquired - and more quickly lost.
- With the above in mind it makes sense to organize our training to get strong first, then convert that strength (which does not revert back to some pre-strength training baseline) into adequate endurance for our sport or for our activities of daily living.
- It’s also helpful to keep in mind that while Strength is not task-specific and therefore need not be developed in postures and positions which mimic the expression of strength on the field (another thing to pray that your competition believes), conditioning IS highly specific to the task at hand. You wouldn’t train for a 40m sprint by running 5k’s nor vice versa. But either event is improved by getting an untrained individual’s squat up tbrough the easy gains of the Novice lifter.
This goes completely against everything I ever thought about lifting weights, and it is at the same time 100% correct and I've experienced the truth of all of this personally.

As great as S&S (32kg kettlebell swings and getups) is for lots of reasons what 350lbs deadlifts are doing for my judo is nothing short of miraculous.

I don't look any different than I used to, but I can pick up someone 350lbs heavy off the ground even though I weigh only 220lbs. This means that there is nothing they can do to outstrength me, since I can pick up their entire body, their offending body part(s) and all!
 

offwidth

Level 9 Valued Member
I'm still trying to wrap my head around the comment made that "Strength is not task-specific"

I'm probably misunderstanding this somehow...
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
I'm still trying to wrap my head around the comment made that "Strength is not task-specific"
My legs are stronger on my bike since I've been doing heavy squats. Strength developed in one task may be used in another. Not really a strange concept, is it? Maybe I am missing something...
 

jef

I am a student of strength.
Certified Instructor
Strength is a general adaptation.
The application of this strength in a certain context may be skill-dependent, but the ability to produce force is general.
 
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