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.
All information presented on this site is meant for general purposes. It is not meant to replace health and medical advice from healthcare professionals.