When designing a training programme, intensity is a key factor to the success of the programme. Therefore, it is crucial to adjust the intensity accordingly to your training needs. Training intensity interacts closely with the volume and frequency. Generally, the higher the intensity, the lower the volume and frequency. This logic applies to both anaerobic and aerobic endurance training.
In anaerobic training (i.e. resistance training), intensity is commonly measured by the training load. The higher the load, the higher the intensity. There are 2 methods to measure intensity or load.
1-repetition maximum (1 RM) method - the largest amount of weight that can be lifted for only 1 repetition.
Repetition maximum (RM) method - the greatest amount of weight that can be lifted for a specific number of repetitions.
In both methods, the assumptions are that proper technique is used through the lift and the lifter provided a maximal effort. For example, if the lifter can perform more than 10 repetitions with proper form but instead choose to stop at 10 repetitions, then it is not the lifter's true 10RM. Or the lifter could lift more than 60 kg for 10 repetitions but choose to lift only 60 kg; then again it is not the true 10RM.
Lifting 100% of 1 RM would mean that the lifter is performing at 100% of his/her intensity, meaning the lifter would reach temporary muscular fatigue/failure after performing only 1 repetition. By adjusting the repetitions performed, the lifter is able to adjust the intensity accordingly. The closer the load is to 1 RM, the repetitions would become lesser and vice-versa.
There are several guidelines and methods on the correlation between intensity and repetitions, testing and estimating the 1 RM. It can be found on various resources such as online site of ExRx.net and "Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning".
Website of ExRx - Exercise Prescription. Retrieved from http://exrx.net/Testing.html
Baechle TR, Earle RW, Wathen D (2008). Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, 3rd edition: pg 392-405.
Circuits are an excellent method to improve your fitness and burn fats. I use a type of circuit which I called Mini-circuit on myself and clients. Instead of having multiple stations, you concentrate on performing 2 exercises in a sequence as fast as possible. I feel that it allows you to have better focus and effort rather than performing multiple exercises. Since there are only 2 exercises, you can try more challenging exercises.
Sample of a mini-circuit
Exercise A - Upper body exercise x number of reps
Exercise B - Lower body exercise x number of reps
For more info on how to utilize it accordingly, please check out my 3 training concepts in an earlier post.
Types of grips
2. Chin-up – chin over the bar
3. Chest-up – chest touches the bar
4. Muscle-up – upper body over the bar. It is recommended to use a false grip in order for you to go into a dip position before pushing yourself up
For a start, you should start from type 1 first beforeadvancing to type 2, depending on your proficiency level. However, if you wantto perform a muscle-up, you have to be able to do the first 3 typescomfortably. A general guideline is that if you can perform 10 repscomfortable, it is time for you to advance to a more challenging exercise.
For more advanced warriors, you could perform a few or alltypes to challenge yourself and for variety sake.
Principles of conditioning
‘High performance sports conditioning” by Bill Foran (2001) discusses about the 7 principles of conditioning. It may be of relevant interest to athletes, coaches, trainers, physical educators and fitness enthusiasts. It gives us a simple and comprehensive explanation on each principle and how to apply it practically.
I have summarized the 7 principles as close as possible to the actual intention of the author and also add in some of my own views. Please read the book for further explanations.
1. Body reaction to stress
a) Reaction to acute bout of exercise (acute stress)
- e.g. , running for the bus, random running
- Takes place anytime, regardless of level of fitness
b) Reaction to particular bout of exercise repeatedly with regular frequency on different days (chronic stress)
- e.g. regular running
- considered to be training as it is done purposefully
- A desirable training effect takes place which leads to new fitness level
2. Predictable rate of improvement
- Exercise at a higher level of stress leads to higher level of fitness
- Rate of reaching this new level is not linear
- Diminishing returns set in until the new level is reached
- Further training at this new level of stress will not lead to further improvement in fitness level
- To further improve the fitness level, continue to increase level of stress (intensity, frequency, volume, recovery etc.)
3. Limits to improvement
- Individuals has different limits to how much improvement and level of performance he/she can achieve
- May not improve given a certain time frame (current season)
- However, he/she may improve only in the next season
4. Diminishing returns
- At a certain point of point, as stress of training increases, benefits of training become lesser. The greater the rate of stress, the lesser the rate of benefits
- If increasing training stress does not lead to better performance or even lead to worse performance, athletes should re-evaluate and may need to back off from training for the time being
5. Accelerating setbacks
- Relatively minimal training stress is associated with few problems (such as injuries or overtraining)
- But at some point of increased stress, even a small amount of additional stress leads to greater chance of problems occurring
6. Specificity of training
- Part of body that is stressed is the part that stands to benefit from that stress
- Training specifically towards your goals without sacrificing your functional fitness
7. Ease of maintenance
- States that once an individual achieves a certain level of fitness, the degree of stress necessary to maintain it is not as great as was necessary to reach that level in the first place
+ Due to elevated level of confidence
+ Due to physiological adaptations
- Athlete can then emphasize more on other possible weaker aspects of his/her fitness without losing that level of fitness i.e. using lesser stress level
- For e.g., if the athlete is competent in performing 20 pull-ups, he can use lesser amount of training to maintain this quantity. He could then spend more time and effort on improving his push-ups
Bill Foran (2001). High Performance Sports Conditioning. Chpt 10.Pg 199-203. Human Kinetics.
According to an Australian study, while performing bench press with chains, speed (power) of reps increased by 10%. The mechanism involved is known as “Post-activation potentiation”. The nervous system gets “charged” to contract the muscle with greater power and strength before the actual rep.
How it works: During the lowering of the bar, the bar is lighter as majority of chains rest on the floor. Since nervous system is expecting the full weight that it experienced at the top, your muscles contract with more power and strength. This results in driving the bar up faster.
Application: Use strength bands instead of chains as it is not easy to find heavy chains. It can be used for exercises such as squats and presses.
Joe Weider’s Flex, April 2011, pg 88
All information presented on this site is meant for general purposes. It is not meant to replace health and medical advice from healthcare professionals.