I have said it many times, Heavy is not how much is on the bar; Heavy is how much stress a muscle is under.
The former is an external cue that has no meaning in and of itself. The latter is an internal performance indicator that bears meaning short and long term. As experts and trainees we need to stop being so one dimensional in our thinking.
The second problem with this assumption is that somehow people then equate load with intensity. In other words, I get letters where people "assume" they're training hard because they're training with heavy loads.
Wrong! And there's also an expert bias that "strength training" is CNS training; hypertrophy training is myofibril training; and conditioning training is metabolic.
These are only categories of reference and they're not mutually exclusive. There exists this bias that high volume training is somehow lower intensity. This couldn't be further from the truth, just ask one of my clients.
Workload capacity can be improved to a point where tremendous volumes can be handled at high intensities. Once again, these need not be mutually exclusive, and thinking that way is to misrepresent research and decades of real life, in-the-trenches experience as well as scientific research.
Allen, in the strength training world and in most of the research related to strength training intensity IS a function of load. Intensity there being defined as the percentage of one's 1RM.
What you are discussing is intensity of effort. I would like to hear your definition of intensity as you are using it below?
I can see where this can be confusing. In the just the strength training world it is defined as Load and I am describing it as a training variable not just a principle. When I say its a problem when individuals think more weight equals more intensity, even in the strength world, a lot of the time they only focus is how much is on the bar. This almost always lead to poor technique, especially in beginners and intermediate lifters. They are so focused on just lifting more and more it takes away from proper progression so just telling them to lift based on a 1RM is faulty IMO. Because depending on their current workload capacity these numbers are very skewed and can lead to injury. This is why I have clients, even high end athletes, base it on effort and exertion of the movement. Listening to their body's bio-feedback is much more effective then just focusing on a number and it is much safer as well.
Originally Posted by chris mason
Most of the time when I am discussing things its almost always geared to muscular development. When I talk about intensity in that aspect I am referring to training out of ones comfort zone and applying true intensity while maintaining proper technique. One of the main goals of a bodybuilder or any athlete should be to increase oneís Training Efficiency Percentage (TEP), which is defined as the percentage of reps in a given set that forces an adaptive response, which is what we are always after during training. When this is increased the intensity of the set and reps increases as well as the stress on the targeted muscle, which will in turn causes more of an adaptive response. So you want to make sure you train intense on every rep of every set training the muscle and not your ego.
Overall intensity is the key to any workout. Iím not talking about an individualís percentage of their 1 rep max Iím talking about exertion levels. When an individual comes as close to their maximum workload capacity as possible they will have a much bigger payoff in the end.
Allen in a lot of your posts you mention not focusing on lifting a certain weight and that the muscle doesnt know how much weight its holding but instead just how much work it is being put under and this is ideal for growing in size, hypertrophy, and that strength will eventually come over time. (sorry if i put any words in your mouth I am just going off of memory) Anyways, Ive read similar things before from big seasoned guys like yourself and in my own experience even it proves very effective, but my question is this: Including yourself, Im willing to bet a lot of the big advocates for this lifted based around weight and strength and being a badass when they first took off into getting big (most likely teens or late teens). When i was a teenager I had the idea that if i could bench 300 then by then Id be huge looking, and thats all there was to it. Obviously I was wrong, but im hoping you get my point. Basically Im saying that without those years or maybe less of lifting ignorantly and weight-driven, would you have acquired the strength that has gotten you to where you are now? Like, if from the very beginning, as a scrawny blank slate if you had lifted solely for the feeling of the lift and the muscle and not the weight, would you have reached a 400 lb bench press? Doesnt having such a strong bench allow you to rep higher weight than if you just meandered around repping 200-225 forever like you most likely wouldve if you never aimed for strength like that? Im legitimately asking you this and not trying to contradict you. I am sure you know waaay more than me about this, its just a question that popped in my head recently. Maybe those early ignorant years of striving for those extra plates serve a purpose on someones path to get big.