Understanding Muscular Strength

what is muscular strength definition
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Muscular strength refers to the amount of force a muscle can produce with a single maximal effort. Muscle strength is measured during muscular contraction. The size of your muscle fibers and the ability of nerves to activate muscle fibers are related to muscle strength.

In addition to understanding the definition of muscular strength, it's also important to understand the benefits of strong muscles. Building muscle strength helps with body alignment, makes performing everyday actions easier, increases metabolism, and relieves stress.  

What Is Muscular Strength?

You might think that muscular strength is simply how strong you are. For example, how much you weight you can carry, how many pounds you can lift at the gym or how many push ups you can do during a workout. But a true muscular strength definition is a little bit more complicated than that.

According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), muscular strength is the maximal force a muscle or muscle group can exert during a contraction.

Muscular strength is usually measured with a one-rep maximum (1-RM) test. During a 1-RM, an exerciser performs one repetition of a single exercise to see how much weight he or she can lift.

But there are other factors that affect how strong you are and how much strength you have to complete daily chores or exercises. ACE provides definitions for these terms that are related to muscular strength:

  • Muscular endurance. The ability of your muscles to exert force against resistance over a sustained period of time. 
  • Muscular power. The combination of muscular force and the speed of movement

For example, the number of push-ups you can do in one minute depends in part on your muscular strength but also on your muscular power and muscular endurance.

How to Improve Muscle Definition and Muscular Strength

The best way to build muscle strength is to participate in a program of resistance training. Some people call it strength training or "weightlifting." But you don't have to lift weights to improve your muscles. You can do simple bodyweight exercises at home to build muscle and build strength. 

Strength training improves both the size of your muscle fibers and it also improves the ability of your nerves to communicate with the muscles. So as your muscles get bigger with resistance training (muscle hypertrophy) they also become more coordinated and better able to perform movements that require strength.

So how long does it take to build muscle strength? After 2-3 weeks of resistance training or strength training, you'll probably notice that your muscles get stronger. In addition, you may notice greater muscle definition. That is, your muscles become "defined" and easier to see on your body.

But muscle definition also depends on your level of body fat. If your muscles get bigger but you still carry too much fat, you may not see sculpted muscles on your body. To improve both muscle definition and muscular strength you need to combine a healthy diet to lose fat with a resistance training program to build muscle.

Getting the Right Start

Before you get started, talk to your health care provider to make sure there aren't restrictions or modifications that you should follow to stay safe. If you are new to training, ask for help. A few sessions with a qualified trainer can help you to get your program off to a strong start for lasting results.

Benefits of Building Muscular Strength

When you improve muscular strength and muscular definition, you enjoy many different benefits, especially if you are trying to lose weight. And you don't have to be an expert bodybuilder to take advantage of them. Strength training provides benefits for exercisers of all levels.

When you include strength training in your exercise program you build lean muscle mass and improve your metabolism. Having stronger muscles will also help you to move through your daily activities and burn more calories with greater ease. And muscles help to improve the way that your body looks. A tighter, leaner body looks better at every size. 

A Word from Verywell

Exercise of any kind is important for good health and to maintain a healthy body weight. But if you do strength or resistance training two to three times per week, you build strong muscles to stand taller, burn more calories, and improve the quality of your daily activities and movement.

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