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Torque is a force applied at right angles, moving through some distance over a lever arm.
torque = Fd
So to have the maximum torque you want the lever arm (the distance about which you are rotating) to be as long as possible, and at the same time to apply the maximum possible force. Generally, if course, the opposite is true. A long lever arm is used so a smaller amount of force is required to generate the desired torque.
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