Intensity-Effort Table for Strength Training
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Intensity-Effort Table for Strength Training

Continuing on my rant on three parameters of intensity in strength training I decided to update my Percent-Repetition Chart from August, 2012 that seems to be quite popular (I have seen it in couple of blogs and some recent books – I don’t mind – au contraire – I feel pride).

I have modified and updated this table over the last year mainly using ideas and work of others like Dan Baker, Michael Tuchscherer, Joe Kenn and Donnell Boucher.

It features Intensity zones (% of 1RM) and Effort zones (proximity to failure; see Intensiveness). Effort zones could be based on Tuchscherer’s RPE levels, but for this table I have chosen Dan Baker effort zones (which he presented in is Wave-cycle approach to In-season training at this year’s NSCA conference).

The table is read starting with Intensity level and then you choose Effort level. This way you get amount of reps that should be done in a given set.

Training cycles can progress in couple of ways and one can use this table in most of them (at least for compound movements, not for Olympic lifts and power/ballistic movements).

Just for the sake of example I will present couple of different progression schemes over a cycle. Some of the variations can be called intensification, accumulation, “effortification” (my word  ), depending on what are you progressing and what are you trying to keep same. All of these represent Level Three – Programming in Tool of Three Levels™ approach.

Increasing intensity and effort over cycles, while keeping the same reps and volumes (written in brackets)

Week 1: 80% x 3 reps x 6 sets (18) [HE]
Week 2: 82.5% x 3 reps x 6 sets (18) [HE]
Week 3: 85% x 3 reps x 6 sets (18) [NME]
Week 4: 87.5% x 3 reps x 6 sets (18) [NME]

 
Increasing number of reps and effort over cycles, while keeping the same intensity

Week 1: 80% x 3 reps x 6 sets (18) [HE]
Week 2: 80% x 4 reps x 6 sets (24) [HE]
Week 3: 80% x 5 reps x 6 sets (30) [NME]
Week 4: 80% x 6 reps x 6 sets (36) [NME]

 
Increasing the volume (number of sets) while keeping everything else the same

Week 1: 80% x 3 reps x 4 sets (12) [HE]
Week 2: 80% x 3 reps x 5 sets (15) [HE]
Week 3: 80% x 3 reps x 6 sets (18) [HE]
Week 4: 80% x 3 reps x 7 sets (21) [HE]

 
Increasing the intensity while keeping effort the same by decreasing number of reps. Keeping the volume pretty same

Week 1: 75% x 5 reps x 5 sets (25) [HE]
Week 2: 80% x 3 reps x 7 sets (21) [HE]
Week 3: 85% x 2 reps x 9 sets (18) [HE]
Week 4: 90% x 1 reps x 12 sets (12) [HE]

 
One could probably come up with dozen versions utilizing different combos, rep and set schemes, etc.

The point of this table is using it to understand certain progressions in certain programs, to allow us easier progression and to see how much we are pushing it in certain cycles. Use Prilepin table as a guideline for volume, but keep in mind that this table is used in Olympic lifting, so it could be a bit ramped up with general strength goals and it could be ramped up a lot with hypertrophy goals.

If you are interested in velocity-based approach modification of this table please refer HERE.

pic1
Intensity-Effort Table with rep ranges

 

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Intensity-Effort Table with exact number of reps for easier reading

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I am a physical preparation coach from Belgrade, Serbia, grow up in Pula, Croatia (which I consider my home town). I was involved in physical preparation of professional, amateur and recreational athletes of various ages in sports such as basketball, soccer, volleyball, martial arts and tennis. Read More »
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