Training ultimate strength   without   injury  a difficult challenge. When searching for ways   is  to   obtain maximum myoelectric activity from the back extensor muscles, we discovered that  isometric back extensor exercises  do   not   recruit the full  pool   of   motor   units. With some  extensor motion, many more   motor   units fire.  For example, maximal effort deadlifts only  appear   to   activate  a  very  limited  number   of   the   motor   units  possible   with   isometric  contraction. There appears   to   be   a "fusebox" in the system that, if overcome, could enhance  performance.  But the fusebox performs a safety function and subduing this inhibition   is   at  the peril   of   the athlete. Many superior athletes such   as   Bill Kazmaier, the "World's Strongest  Man"   for several  years,  have  trained   to   activate  the  maximum  number   of   motor   units.  Kazmaier,   for   example,  used  mental imagery together   with   clever exercise  technique   to  accomplish this.   He   trained   his   ability to image the entire muscle and   motor   unit pool and  potentiate the muscles.   He   worked to perceive optimal recruitment and complete contraction.  With   his   mind controlling the preparation, goosebumps developed on   his   skin   as   he   rallied  the ability and determination to accomplish the task. A portion of   his   resistance training   was  directed towards enhancing the ability to activate every available motor unit.   These   techniques  are   described below.   Other   athletes who need supreme speed-strength developed regimens  that incorporate elements   to   train slow strength, fast strength, concentric strength, eccentric  strength,  multi-articular complex  strength,  reciprocal  inhibition  strength,  and  "playing  position" strength. The   motor   units recruited   are   very different within a muscle for   each   of  these   tasks.   Machines, no matter   how   well designed or promoted,   can   never provide the rich  environment   to   create   the   training challenges  needed.   Even   athletes   who   perform slow- strength activities make substantial gains in strength   with   speed-strength training. Most   NFL  linemen will tell you that  you   if   are   squatting slowly then you have too heavy a load.   Vasily  Alexiev,  the great   Russian   super heavyweight,  limited the lifting of competitive loads  in  practice.   Rather,  he   practiced lifts at great speed  and   with   impeccable form. Ultimately,   all  athletes training for optimal strength will have   to   speed-strength train.

 

Sources

Some of this content was based off of work by Zach Cooper, CSCS, a strength coach who works with professional athletes.