The Secret of Constant Progression: Part 2

I trust you have all read yesterdays post.

If you haven’t please do so, it will make this one much easier to understand.

It’s time to move on to the subject of Intensity and how tweaking it can have a profound effect on your results.

When I hear people often speak of intensity they refer to how hard they are pushing and how little rest they have, in other words how ‘intense’ their session is. However the true meaning intensity* is not simply just getting hot, sweaty and out of breath, no no no, it is actually the total % amount of your 1RM you have on the bar.

*Intensity is measured as a % of your maximum. This is a transferable principle. For example, Cardio Vascular training you would monitor the heart rate level in such an instance – an athletes MHR (Max Heart Rate) could be 200 – athlete trains at 160 BMP (Beat Per Minute) – this is 80% of MHR.

After all, how can you measure an incase in intensity session to session without knowing this?

Just going on how tired you feel is not a good indicator and it’s likely to see you injured.

Lets just clarify;

Intensity in weightlifting is the % amount of your 1RM you have on the bar.

Adjusting the intensity of your workouts is a great way to help induce progressive overload, all it requires is a nice simple liner periodisation program (Just like we did with the Volume example.), in doing so you will be able to increase the intensity of your workout week to week and incur more overload – Lifting more weight each session.

Here is a follow on from my example yesterday:

Current Squat 1RM = 143kg = 100% 1RM

Week 1 – 5×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×5 = 2500kg (Total Weight Volume) @ 70% of 1RM

*You’re working at an intensity of 70%. Lets see how we can keep the sets/reps (volume) the same at 25reps, but increase the intensity to improve the progressive overload stimulation.

Week 2 – 5×5 @ 107kg – 5×107 = 535 – 535×5 = 2675kg (Total Weight Volume) 25reps @ 75% intensity

As you will be able to see by looking at this example, the progressive overload is higher in the second week, but not by much.

Week 3 – 5×5 @ 114kg – 5×114 = 570 – 570×5 = 2850kg (Total Weight Volume) 25reps @ 80% intensity

*Week 4 Deload to 5×5 @ 60% – 5×85 = 430 – 430×5 = 2150kg (Total Weight Volume) 25 reps a reduction of 20% intensity – This allows your body to back off form he volume but maintain its neuromuscular connections and familiarity with the weight.

If we add the total amount of weight lifted together from changing the Volume & the total amount lifted from changing the Intensity we can see how much of a difference there is.

Tweaking Volume = 14,500kg lifted over 4 weeks (Including Deload)

Tweaking Intensity = 10,175kg lifted over 4 weeks (Including Deload)

That’s a difference of 4325kg between the two. Surely this means all you need to do is just cycle the volume and happy days right?

Not really.

Cycling the volume only, will get you so far because of the sheer amount of reps you will have to amass, in the end it will be too much to handle. But what about linking the two?

What is this madness of which I speak I hear you ask…

You could use the template from yesterday to set up your sets/reps and follow that for once cycle, then once it’s complete instead of start at 100kg (70%), start at 107kg (75%) and follow the same procedure. Remember you can also change the reps too, in the yesterdays post I only changed the total sets, so if you keep the sets the same but change the reps along with the intensity and you will see a complete difference in total load lifted:

Week 1 – 5×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×5 = 2500kg (Total Weight Volume) @ 70% of 1RM

Week 2 – 5×8 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×8 = 4000kg (Total Weight Volume) @ 70% of 1RM

^^ Total Load look familiar?

Use this advice to structure your workouts and you will have increased your overall load and further continued your progressive overload, this will lead to new strength & size gains.

*PROVIDED YOU EAT ENOUGH! Seriously, you need to be in an anabolic state to build muscle, that means being in a caloric surplus.

Now armed with these two crucial pieces of knowledge you should be set to take over the gym and become a colossus. But wait… I told you there were 3 elements you can change… Tomorrow we cover the forgotten aspect of adaptation;

Density.

Enjoy
Ross

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