What is a Strength Curve? – Helpful!

Alright everyone, for today’s article we are covering a slightly more advanced topic, however, like always, it will be broken down into an easily absorbable format! The topic for today’s article will be, what is a strength curve? I will be sure to provide information on how they relate to your training as well as how you can implement them!

Let’s hop into the article so you can learn a very beneficial and applicable topic for your training!

What is a Strength Curve?

A strength curve relates to how difficult a certain portion of a lift is. What I mean by these certain portions of a lift are things like the bottom position, mid-range and lockout. Different positions of different lifts put more tension on your muscles and make the lift more difficult in certain areas, thus requiring more effort to push through these points. To put things into perspective, a strength curve means how much strength is needed to put into a lift at a given point during the range of motion.

Let’s put this example into context. During a squat, the most difficult position would be coming out of the hole. This is because of the high tension being placed on the muscles and joints in this position, thus having a high demand from these muscles and joints to contribute. In addition to this, your moment arms are also greatest in this position, thus putting you in a mechanically disadvantageous position to move the weight.

Strength Curves Related to Our Training:

Now that we understand what strength curves are, we need to asses how they relate to our training, and how we can use them to our benefit! One major benefit of strength curves is they allow us to figure out the most difficult position in a lift, relative to us, and work on it.

Let’s explain this in detail. It is common for people to have a sticking point at the mid-range of a bench press because this is when our elbows have the least leverage and support. With this in mind, we can work on reps within this range of the lift, and since we know that our triceps are elbow extensors, we can develop our triceps strength to work on this portion of the lift as well!

The other cool aspect of strength curves is looking at them and our own personal circumstances to determine the most effective ways for us to lift. For example, one may say that the moment arm in a wide grip bench press is much longer, however, if someone has super strong shoulders and adequate mobility, it may be the best setup for them in the bench press!

Using Strength Curves in Your Training:

Now that we understand what a strength curve is and how they relate to our training, it is time to see how we can alter and use them to our benefit within our training. The easiest and best way to do this would be through using accommodating resistance. This is the use of bands and or chains.

As you progress through the concentric of a lift, the bands will stretch more, or more chains will be lifted, thus adding more weight to the bar. This means during a lift such as the bench press, when the lift is the easiest, you have more resistance placed at this point than you do at the more difficult positions. This helps to even out the strength curve so you can become more efficient throughout the lift.

Another way we can look at and use strength curves to our benefit would be through assessing and modifying our training based on them. If you look at your muscle and joint positioning, as well as leverages during a lift, this can help you to determine what variables of a lift will be best for you to focus on. Whether this is in things like your setup/form, or muscle groups to develop.

Do these benefits of strength curves help highlight areas in your training to work on?

Wrapping Up:

This was a little more complex of an article today, however, it is a concept that is relative to every lifter who is serious about increasing their strength, therefore, it is an extremely important topic to discuss.

With this new knowledge of yours, consider looking at your own training to see if there are areas that you can work to optimize. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article and as always, if you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to leave them below and I will be sure to reply!


Until Next Time,

Kohl Johnson

Please refer to my liability disclaimer to ensure you know who is responsible for use of this information after reading.

Support is much appreciated if you benefited from this:

Kohl Johnson

I am a 16-year-old fitness fanatic! I have learned nothing but quality training and nutrition information from the utmost well-respected individuals in the field. Now, my only focus is to share this knowledge with you for your benefit, in the most honest way possible. We are all in this together! LET'S GO!

4 Responses

  1. Dear Kohl,

    Thanks a lot for the post and I enjoyed it. I must admit I found your post highly uplifting & educational.

    I used to do weight lifting a few years before and I stopped it because I thought when we cross 35+ years, weight lifting is not good for health. In one of your previous posts when I asked about it, you provided clarity on it. So I started following my weight lifting again.

    To be honest, after reading your post, I realized without proper knowledge I used to do weight lifting lol. Information you shared on using accommodating resistance is an eye-opener for me.

    I can tell you I have taken some great insights from this post and I am going to share it with my friends in the GYM.

    • Hi Paul, I am so glad I was able to help you with your training! It is always great when I am able to provide benefit to people through my information! Take care!

  2. I suppose strength curves can be applied to other sports other than lifting weights? It is a great way to break up exercise that involves resistance and identify those areas that necessitate muscle build up to improve. Sprinting (particularly the start), shot put, javelin even football could make use of the identification of strength curves. Great concept and I enjoyed reading about it.

    • Hi Peter, this certainly is a valid perspective! I would say they become less important as the movements are not consistent like weight training. However, they could still be beneficial to think about in relation to sports training. I am very glad you enjoyed the article!

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