Strength vs. Power

TAGS: strength and power, Power vs. Strength, Marshall Johnson, questions, Julia Ladewski

I have been attempting to up my powerlifting IQ. It's no secret to anyone since I have said it many times, but I have little knowledge of programming. I found what worked for me in the gym and didn't venture outside my bubble. However, it's time for me to step outside my comfort zone.

With that being said (and the point of this article), I was reading the Periodization Bible by Dave, and I found myself struggling to understand what I was reading. Why? Well, in all honesty, I was confused on the meaning of certain words and phrases. It's very hard to understand a program when you struggle to understand the words and phrases used to describe a program. It was just simple shit, too...and that made it all the more frustrating. One thing that I noticed, however, was that the words "strength" and "power" were thrown around quite often. But I sat there stumped because I couldn't come up with a difference between strength and power...

I wanted to get it out there that I struggle with little things like this, and I want to convey to others that it is okay to struggle—even with simple things. At first I felt very dumb to have to ask people the difference between the two, but I was pleasantly surprised by how helpful everyone was. I had asked a few friends what the difference between the two were, and I did not get the same answers exactly. Each person had his/her own idea or opinion about the difference between the two definitions. Therefore, I decided to ask a bunch of friends and acquaintances in the sport to give me their personal take on the difference between the words strength and power. I will list them below, but first I just want to say that it's okay to have questions—no matter how dumb they seem to you. The most important thing is that you are making an effort to better yourself. Never feel ashamed or be embarrassed to ask a dumb question.

JL Holdsworth

Strength is the ability to move large amounts of weight. Power is the ability to move that weight quickly. So, if someone has more strength, they don't necessarily lift more than someone else if they have enough power to move the weight, with momentum, to a better mechanical advantage point. Think of it like this, strength is the ability to throw a huge ass boulder at someone's head. Power is the ability to throw that huge boulder fast enough to knock their head off.

David Tate

Power= (Force × Distance)/Time
Strength= the ability to overcome strain and/or adversity

Donnie Thompson

Power, in my opinion, is how much strength one can generate to push or pull a weight...and do it fast! Strength is a low-gear ability to resist against a weight to eventually overcome it or position it! It's a capability of one's capacity to resist!"

Clint Darden

Man, I'm not sure I can define it. I've seen power, and I've felt the power of strength. The strength to pull through fear, to stand up when I want to stay down, to do the right thing when the wrong thing would be easier, and to keep stepping forward because I know my son is watching. Power is often put on display. Strength is a choice. Strength is felt.

Anthony Carlquist

Strength is the most weight you can lift from point A to point B. Power is weight divided by time—the amount of weight you can move between two points in the shortest amount of time.

Julia Ladewski

To be exact, power has to do with how much force is produced in a certain amount of time. Power has an element of force to it, which may or may not include speed. Strength, well, there are many kinds of strength, but I usually think of absolute strength when someone says strength.

Chris Mcdole

Power is the rate of force produced—how fast you move any weight. Meathead example: A guy benches 400 pounds for one rep and takes four seconds to do so. He takes a short rest and presses 400 pounds again, but much faster. The power is greater on the second attempt.

Mark Bell

Speed would be the ability to move a weight quickly throughout the entire concentric range of motion. I would say through a full range of motion, but really, who cares how you decide to lower the weight? I've seen people move both slow and fast on eccentrics with success, and this tells me that there is more than one way to explode into weight. While training for strength, it's crucial that many tempos of speed are explored. This can be determined by the exercise, and the weight on the bar of accommodating resistance. While many may argue that strength is the ability to produce maximum force, I like to view strength in more general terms and say that strength is the ability to absorb external forces. This could be anything from squatting 800 pounds to overcoming cancer. So, in your pursuit of strength, realize that you are constantly conditioning the mind for the body to handle more.

David Hansen

Strength is your ability to lift heavy things. Power is the ability to lift them fast. They are both very closely related. The best way to increase your power (speed) is to get strong (strength). It is impossible to be fast and weak. If you can deadlift 200 pounds, then you are slow because you are weak—not because you don't do box jumps and shit like that.

 



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