"Ask the Coach" is the column in which Wolfgang Unsöld answers your questions. The book of the same name is available right here on Amazon.
Question: Hello, I'm currently reading the book "The perfect knee bend" from your publisher. On page 91, the gray box talks about relative force. I can't do anything with this term and the search on Google only gives me Rea-K-tivkraft to choose from. Is it a misprint? Thanks for the help, regards, Thomas U.
WU: There is relative force. The relative strength defines the maximum strength in relation to the body weight. It is therefore a measure of how efficiently the athlete can convert his body weight into strength development. For example, from a relative strength perspective, a 75kg man with a 100kg max squat is stronger than a 95kg man with a 110kg max squat. The second has the greatest maximum strength because he can squat 110kg and is 10kg more than the first. However, the former is stronger in relation to body weight, since 100 kg is 1.33 times its body weight. While the second 110kg corresponds to only 1.15 times the body weight.
Relative strength is particularly important in sports with weight classes such as martial arts and weightlifting, as well as in sports with longer periods of stress. A cyclist on a mountain has to pedal maximum watts in relation to his body weight in order to be as fast as possible.
The cyclist Marco Pantani, for example, set the record in Alp d'Huez on the most famous mountain stage of the Tour de France, in 37:35 minutes an average output of 403 watts at a body weight of 56 kg plus bike and clothing. A man weighing 120 kg would have to pedal at the same time as Marco Pantini, due to his higher body weight, with an average power of approx. 1000 watts, which is an unprecedented power. So Marco Pantini's relative strength is crucial for his success on the mountain.
A good comparison from weightlifting is Olympic champion Matthias Steiner, who in 2008 at his Olympic victory in Beijing moved 258kg with a body weight of 150kg in the clean and clean and jerk. In comparison, 3-time Olympic champion Naim Suleymanoglu posted a clean & clean and clean performance of 190kg in the 60kg weight class at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Matthias Steiner therefore has a greater maximum strength. However, from a relative strength perspective, Naim Suleymanoglu is many times stronger as he lifted 3.1 times his bodyweight overhead while Matthias Steiner lifted only 1.7 times his bodyweight.
On the other hand , if you compare Naim Suleymanoglu with an ant, which can lift up to fifty times its body weight, you can see that the ant has a much greater relative force.
Good luck with increasing relative strength!
Image: Cyclists and bobsledders require a high level of relative strength. The height is adapted to your sport.