Training IntensityScience and practice: Chapter 4
Why is training intensity important?• Without the regulation of training intensity, it isdifficult to create programs that will allow for asmooth increase in performance over anextended period of time.• Unfortunately many athletes train in theweightroom without paying much attention totheir training intensity and will not achieve thegains over time that they could if they used thecorrect training percentages/intensity.
Measuring training intensity• 1. Magnitude of the resistance expressed as apercentage of the best achievement (1RepMax)in a weightlifting movement. (%1RM)• 2. Number of repetitions (lifts) in a set that areperformed consecutively.
1 Rep MAX (1RM)• This stands for: the most that an athlete canlift in a given resistance trainingmovement, for example. If I can bench press200 pounds and I miss at 205, than 200 poundsis my 1RM. If I wanted to work at 70% of my1RM that would be 140 pounds.• 1RM can be broken down into competition maxand training max.
Competition and Training Max• If you are dealing with strength athletes who areever involved in weightlifting competitions,there will be a competition max (C1RM) and atraining max (T1RM)for each athlete.
Training Max• The maximal training weight is the maximalweight an athlete can lift without a significantamount of emotional stress (that of acompetition). Basically, how much you lift/fastyou can run/high you can jump in training.• Some experienced athletes/trainers will measureheart rate before lift attempts to determine if theathlete is going out of their „training zone‟ andover-exerting themselves for the given exercise.
Competition Max• The competition max (C-Max) represents themost that an athlete can lift under competitionstress. This will be around 12.5±2.5% forexperienced weightlifters. So basically, if I cansquat 500 lbs in the gym without getting myheart rate too high, I am going to be able tosquat around 560 pounds in an intensecompetition.
Competition Max• This is also true to a degree in other tests ofathletics, such as track and field events. Nobodysets the 100m or 10k world record in practice,they don‟t have the competition adrenaline tofacilitate it.• Also, C-Max efforts drain the CNS much morethan T-Max efforts. Experienced weightlifterswill be drained for a long period of time afterand intense competition, even though theyperformed only 6 lifts.
Take Home Knowledge• The more “psyched up” a lifter is whenperforming heavy resistance training, the greaterdrain that lift will have on their central nervoussystem, and recovery time will take longer.• It is a good practice to watch your psyche levelwhen training when you are considering yourother training sessions in that week (for manyprograms).
1RM Testing• When testing 1RM in the weightroom, a gooddeal of warmup sets should be undertakenbefore the max out attempts.• Example: Squat, est max: 300• 135x10, 185x6, 225x4, 250x2, 275x1, maxattempt (300), if make +15 pounds, if miss, -15pounds.
Two measures of training intensity• #1. % of 1RM (either T1RM or C1RM, usually C1RM)• #2. Another nice measure of intensity is in terms ofRepMax. For example, 5RM. An athletes 5RM isgoing to be the highest amount of weight they canlift 5 times. For example, if I put 200 pounds on thebar for power cleans from the hang position, and tryto lift it as many times as possible, and get 5 repsand miss the 6th, 200 pounds is my 5RM in thepower clean from the hang.
Testing RM• There really isn‟t much of a point in testing a5RM or 10RM, because it is too much of a hasslein finding the correct weight, and not getting tootired in the process.• You can, of course use charts to estimate your1RM, or 2,3,4,5RMs, but these are not alwayscompletely accurate.• The reason being is that some athletes may beable to lift submaximal loads better than others.
Assigning Training Intensity• You can assign a training intensity based on either%1RM or RM, but….to be accurate, you need to testthe 1RM on a somewhat regular basis (every fewmonths). Many coaches do not like to max out veryoften, because of the high stress levels involved,and/or chance of injury.• In many programs, the % or RM is assigned and theathlete will basically just make their best guesstowards what their weight should be. A lot ofathletes have PROBLEMS with this. Guys will gotoo heavy and girls will go too light.
Relationship between %1RM and xRM• The relationship between %1RM and xRM is notthe same for everybody. For example, oneathlete may be able to lift 80% of their 1RM 15times. Another athlete might be able to only lift80% of their 1RM 8 times.• It has been suggested that athletes with a higherpercentage of fast twitch muscle fibers will beable to lift %s of their 1RM fewer times thantheir slower twitch counterparts.
A chart showing %1RM lifting ability ofa weightlifter and wrestler
So which is better?• There is no research that would support either side.It mostly just depends on what you think is easierfor your athletes to use if you are not planning onmaxing out all the time.• Generally speaking the relationship between 1RMand training percentages is as follows.• 70% of 1RM is going to be about 15RM for mostathletes.• 80% of 1RM is going to be about 10RM for mostathletes.• 90% of 1RM is going to be about 5RM for mostathletes
So what if I don’t mind maxing outevery now and then?• A simple way to make sure that athletes areperforming a program that will allow gains is tomax out after a introductory lifting period (forsafety reasons) and then use a template whichcan be used for the next couple months.• A few examples
Sets and Reps Load Rest Period Weekly EmphasisWeek 1 4x5 70% 3-4minutesIntroductoryWeek 2 5 x 5 80% 4-5minutesVolumeWeek 3 3x3 65% 3 minutes RestWeek 4 3x5 85% As needed IntensityWeek 5 4x5 75% 3-4minutesIntroductoryWeek 6 5 x 5 85% 4-5minutesVolumeWeek 7 3x3 70% 3 minutes RestWeek 8 3x5 90% As needed IntensityWeek 9 4x5 80% 3-4minutesIntroductoryWeek105 x 5 90% 4-5minutesVolumeWeek113x3 75% 3 minutesRestWeek123x5 95% As neededIntensityYou will notice by week 12, youare working 95% of your old 1rmfor 3x5 at 95%. If you look at the1RM chart in the previous slide,you will realize there is no waythat this is possible, but in theprogram, it is because by the timeweek 12 hits, your 1RM shouldhave gone up significantly fromweek 1!
“Plug in Programs”• These type of programs usually are created in excelwhere you will type in your 1 rep max and it willautomatically create a program for you over a giventime period.• Example “Hatch Squat 12 week program”• Many strength coaches who don‟t like making theirown programs will just use program templates thatsomeone else made and plug in 1RM values.Nothing wrong with this. Does not allow forindividualization however.
Metabolic Effects of Training %• Training with weights that are a heavier % of the1RM will cause a higher level of proteindegradation than lighter %s of the 1RM.• Although high %s have high proteindegradation, total reps will be lower whenworking high %s, so the total metabolic effect ofthe set will be somewhat low.• A balance needs to be struck between %s andreps when looking for metabolic changes inmuscle.
Protein Metabolism Chart in LiftingResistance(RM)Rate of proteindegradationMechanicalWorkTotalamount(# of reps)of degradedprotein1-5 High Small Small10 Average Average Large>25 Low Large Small
Resistance Training Intensity by Goal•Strength (Increasing Fmm)•Power (Increasing Fmax)•Hypertrophy (size)•Endurance
%’s for strength (supertraining)• Load % of 1RM: 80-100• Reps per set: 1-5• Sets per exercise: 4-7• Rest between sets: 2-6m• Duration (sec/set): 5-10• Speed per rep: 60-100%• Training sess/wk: 3-6
%s for power (supertraining)• Load % of 1RM: 70-100• Reps per set: 1-5• Sets per exercise: 3-5• Rest between sets: 2-6m• Duration (sec/set): 4-8• Speed per rep: 90-100%• Training sess/wk: 3-6
%s for hypertrophy (size)• Load % of 1RM: 60-80• Reps per set: 8-15• Sets per exercise: 4-8• Rest between sets: 2-5m• Duration (sec/set): 20-60• Speed per rep: 60-90%• Training sess/wk: 5-7
Training %s for endurance• Load % of 1RM: 40-60• Reps per set: 25-60 (*disputed)• Sets per exercise: 2-4• Rest between sets: 1-2m• Duration (sec/set): 80-150• Speed per rep: 6-80%• Training sess/wk: 8-14
Average Training Intensity of EliteAthletes• A lot of research has been done on the averagelifting intensity of elite olympic weightlifters.• It should be noted that generally speaking, youprobably don‟t want to train sport atheltes theexact same as olympic weightlifters, but, sinceolympic weightlifters are extremely strong andexplosive, it is helpful to take a look at theiraverage training intensities throughout a year.
A note on training intensity and timing• Although as a strength training community, wehave developed good methods for strengthdevelopment, we do not know precisely what theBEST methods are.• The human body and its training responses areextremely complex, and it is almost impossibleto know exactly what a certain athlete needs as agiven point in time, but you can get close.
A chart of average trainingintensity/Olympic weightlifters
Avg. Training Intensity for eliteathletes.• Notice that the largest percentage of lifts was inthe 70-80% 1RM range. The average weight in aset lifted by superior athletes is equal to 75% oftheir C1RM. This would probably be around80% of their T1RM, which is a variable mostcoaches would be more familiar with.
Exercise type and set/rep selection• The number of repetitions that is used per setvaries by exercise.• For actual olympic weightlifters, the majority ofsets in the clean and jerk and snatch are 1 to 3repetitions.• In auxilliary strength exercises, where the motorcoordination only partially resembles thecoordination in the snatch and C&J such as thefront squat, the average number of reps is 3 to 6.
Exercise rep selection (OWL)• As the exercise moves farther away from themotor pattern of the primary movement (in thiscase snatch/c&j) the higher the reps that can beused. So in the case on a glute ham raise, whichresembles the olympic lifts even less than asquat, the average reps is typically around 5 to 7reps per set.
Differences in training OlympicWeightlifters and average athletes.• For the most part, the reps are typically a littlehigher, unless with advanced athletes.• Aside from this, it depends on the sport and theneeds of the athlete.▫ Strength▫ Size (Relative vs Absolute strength)▫ Endurance▫ Speed
Optimal Training Intensity• Beginners: 60% of 1RM 3 days a week with 4sets per muscle group.• Advanced athletes: 80% of 1RM seems to be thebest balance between max strength and speed,i.e. power. Of course not ALL sets are done withthis weight, but the majority find themselves inthe 75-85% range.
Strength Training Methods▫ Ways that deal with maximal tension/recruitment• Max Effort Method (ME)• Repeated Effort Method (RE)• Dynamic Effort Method (DE)▫ also• Submaximal Effort Method (not maximal,probably the most common in averageweightlifting programs)
Maximal Effort Method• ME method is basically lifting a maximal load. Thisis usually 1-3RM, sometimes 5-6RM. Powerliftersand olympic lifters will usually go closer to 1RMthan team sport athletes.• This method will bring forth the greatest strengthincrements. It will activate the maximal number ofmotor units.• When training muscles rather than movementsbecomes the primary part of the drill, the reps willgo up. For example, GHR will be higher reps thancleans.
Maximal Effort Drawbacks• High risk of injury▫ Learn proper technique first• Smaller number of reps produce lesshypertrophy• This method will burn out a lot of athletes fairlyquickly. This will especially happen if loadsabout T1RM are used, or when the athletesbecome very psyched up in the weight room topush max weight.
Burnout in ME method• The CNS stress of full body movements will begreater than those of smaller movements.• For example, doing ME method in clean and jerkwill take a larger toll on the CNS than doing MEmethod with the bench press. This is becausemore muscle groups are activated for clean andjerk, and also there is a large amount of balanceand coordination that must be present.
Repeated Effort Method• Repeated effort (RE) is when a nonmaximal loadis lifted to failure. In the final few repetitions,the muscles are developing the maximal forcepossible in a fatigued state.• This type of work is going to be more effective increating muscle hypertrophy.• It is a common belief that going to failure in REis better for hypertrophy than not going tofailure in RE.
So which is better for athletes?• A similar analogy can be brought up with thetraining of an 800 meter runner in track andfield….should the 800 meter runner rundistances longer or shorter than 800 meters fortheir training? The answer is both.• This is the same for training athletes with MEand RE, both types of strength should beworked…although in my opinion, the ME workshould be kept around 5RM.
Dynamic Effort Method• Lifting or throwing a non-maximal load with thehighest attainable speed possible.• Used to increase the rate of force development.• Not really used to increase maximal strength(Fmm) but more to improve the rate of forcedevelopment in motor units already activated.• I would argue that with lighter weights this istrue, but when using heavier weights (80%1RM)and moving as fast as possible, such as 8x3 alaWaterbury, some Fmm strength will be gained.
A quick summary of the 3 methodsMethod Immediate PurposeMaximal Efforts Improve neuromuscular coordinationMU recruitmentRate CodingMU synchronizationCoordination PatternRepeated Efforts Muscle hypertrophy (size)Dynamic EffortsIncrease the RFD of already recruitedunits
Putting it all together• Let‟s look at 3 different strength trainingprograms• Joe DeFranco style training (football)• Westside Barbell style training (powerlifting)• My strength training program (track and fieldjumpers)
DeFranco ME days work-up sets• 95 X 5135 X 5185 X 3225 X 3275 X 3295 X 3315 X 3• (if 315x3 is the 3RM)
ME Upper Day• MONDAY – Max-Effort Upper Body• Max-Effort Exercise – work up to a max set of 3-5 reps in one of the followingexercises:• Thick bar or regular barbell bench press• Barbell floor press• Rack lockouts / Suspended chain lockouts• Incline barbell bench press (regular grip or close grip)• Supplemental Exercise – perform 2 sets of max reps in one of the followingexercises. (Choose a weight you can perform for 15-20 reps on the 1st set. Usethe same weight for both sets and rest 3-4 minutes between sets).• Flat DB bench press (palms in or out)• Incline DB bench press (palms in or out)• DB floor press (palms in)• Barbell push-ups (wearing weighted vest)• Blast strap push-ups (wearing weighted vest)
Lower DE day• TUESDAY – Dynamic-Effort Lower Body• Jump training – choose one of the followingexercises and perform 5-8 sets of 1-3 jumps:• Box jumps• Vertical jumps• Broad jumps• Hurdle hops (jump over hurdle and land on ground)• Box squat into box jump• Depth jumps (onto box)• Weighted Reactive box jumps
Upper RE day• THURSDAY – Repetition Upper Body• Repetition Exercise – choose one of thefollowing exercises and perform 3 sets of max repsOR 4 sets of 12-15 reps:• Flat DB bench press (palms in or out)• Incline DB bench press (palms in or out)• DB bench press on Swiss ball (palms in or out)• DB floor press (palms in)• Push-up variations• Chin-up variations• Barbell bench press (55-60% of 1RM)
ME LOWER DAY• FRIDAY – Max-Effort Lower Body• MAX-EFFORT LIFT – work up to a max set of 3-5reps in one of the following exercises:• Box squats (regular bar, safety squat bar, cambered bar,buffalo bar)• Free squats (regular bar, safety squat bar, cambered bar,buffalo bar)• Straight bar deadlifts (traditional style, sumo style)• Trap Bar deadlifts• Rack pulls (partial deadlifts)• Tire flip – (remember, your max-effort lifts don‟tnecessarily have to be limited to just barbell exercises!)
Westside Barbell Setup• Sunday – Dynamic Effort Bench• Monday – Max Effort Squat/DL• Wednesday – Max Effort Bench Press• Friday – Dynamic Squat/DL• 4 days are also repetitive effort training• Note (this is a template for POWERLIFTERS,not so much athletes)
Westside DE Bench• Dynamic bench press – 8 sets of 3 repetitions;all sets done are done with 55% of raw 1RM. Restperiods are approximately 60 seconds, but havenever really seen the purpose of this, personally.• The whole goal of speed day is to move the barquickly on the concentric. If you need to take anextra minute to accomplish the goal of the day,then by all means, do so.
Westside ME Bench Press• Max effort bench press – this includes a variety ofexercises, but the most common are the floor press,2 board press, 3 board press, incline press and closegrip bench press.• On max effort bench press day, you pick one of theseexercises and work to a 1RM. Most will switch to adifferent exercise every 1-2 weeks and simply try tobreak their record.• On this day, based on your 1RM for THAT day, youwill try to do 3 lifts at or above 90%. You can take asmuch rest as you want, but I would probably sayaround 3-5 minutes between your heaviest sets.
Westside DE Squat• Dynamic Squat – All sets done on a parallel box. Athree week wave is used using the following sets andreps.Week 1 – 10x2 @ 50%Week 2 – 10x2 @ 55%Week 3 – 10x2 @ 60%Upon completion of the 3rd week, you simply startthe wave over again. All %s are based on your bestsquat. This is not conditioning, this is speed work.Save your conditioning for another time.
Westside ME Lower Body• Max Effort Squat and Deadlift – Similar to the max effort benchpress, one exercise is used per week and worked up to a 1RM.Because most people have eliminated good mornings as a max effortexercise, I will choose the following for your exercises. I understandthat many do not have these bars that I list, but this is the list,nonetheless:Safety squat bar squatCambered bar squatManta Ray squat(All squats are done on a low (1-2" below parallel), parallel or high(1-2" above parallel) box. As you can tell, there is a great manyvariations with these three exercises.Rack deadlifts (or pin pulls)Deadlifts while standing on elevated platformReverse band deadlifts
A sample program of mine• Monday: RE Lower Body (submax)• Tuesday: DE Lower Body (maximal plyometrics)• Thursday: RE Lower Body (submax)• Friday: DE Lower Body (maximal plyometrics)• Other elements: 2 long sprint days, someacceleration work on the DE days, 2 generalstrength/fitness workouts per week.
Sample Strength for Jumpers: RE DAY• Monday, RE lifting Day▫ Olympic Lift: 6x3 with up to 80%1RM▫ Lower Body Main Lift: 4x5 with up to 80%1RM▫ Accessory Lift: 3x6 with up to 80% 1RM▫ Calf Raises: 3x10▫ Skipping/Jumping drills for cooldown
Sample Strength for Jumpers: DE DAY• Tuesday: Lower DE• Some sprint acceleration work: 100m total• 3-4 Max jumps off 1 leg• Bounding: 250 meters of various types• Hurdle Hops: 5 sets of 4 hurdles
Sample Strength for Jumpers: RE DAY2• Thursday, RE Lower▫ Olympic Lift 6x3 with no more than 80%1RM▫ Lower Body Main Lift: 4x5 with up to 80%1RM▫ Accessory Lift: 3x6 with up to 80% 1RM▫ Calf Raises: 3x10▫ Skipping/Jumping drills for cooldown▫ On this day, the main difference from Monday is thatall the exercises are different except calf raises
Sample Strength for Jumpers: DE DAY2• Tuesday: Lower DE• Some sprint acceleration work: 100m total• 3-4 Max jumps off 2 legs• 3 step jumps over high hurdles• 100m bounding• Hurdle Hops: 3 sets of 4 hurdles• Single leg Hurdle Hops: 3 sets of 4 hurdles
Final Notes• These templates do not even come close toshowing what all is out there. It is veryimportant to understand the reasons behind thetemplates, which can help you decide which onesmight be good for the athletes that you coach.