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Sports Med. 2016 Oct;46(10):1419-49. doi: 10.1007/s40279-016-0486-0.

The Importance of Muscular Strength in Athletic Performance.

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Department of Exercise Science, East Stroudsburg University, East Stroudsburg, PA, 18301, USA.
Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, WA, Australia.
Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, Center of Excellence for Sport Science and Coach Education, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN, 37614, USA.


This review discusses previous literature that has examined the influence of muscular strength on various factors associated with athletic performance and the benefits of achieving greater muscular strength. Greater muscular strength is strongly associated with improved force-time characteristics that contribute to an athlete's overall performance. Much research supports the notion that greater muscular strength can enhance the ability to perform general sport skills such as jumping, sprinting, and change of direction tasks. Further research indicates that stronger athletes produce superior performances during sport specific tasks. Greater muscular strength allows an individual to potentiate earlier and to a greater extent, but also decreases the risk of injury. Sport scientists and practitioners may monitor an individual's strength characteristics using isometric, dynamic, and reactive strength tests and variables. Relative strength may be classified into strength deficit, strength association, or strength reserve phases. The phase an individual falls into may directly affect their level of performance or training emphasis. Based on the extant literature, it appears that there may be no substitute for greater muscular strength when it comes to improving an individual's performance across a wide range of both general and sport specific skills while simultaneously reducing their risk of injury when performing these skills. Therefore, sport scientists and practitioners should implement long-term training strategies that promote the greatest muscular strength within the required context of each sport/event. Future research should examine how force-time characteristics, general and specific sport skills, potentiation ability, and injury rates change as individuals transition from certain standards or the suggested phases of strength to another.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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