The Importance of Intensity
Intensity has a specific definition when it comes to programming – how much weight as a percent of your 1 rep max are you using? For example, 70% for 5×5 on squats.
That isn’t the intensity I want to talk about today, however. Today, we’re talking about getting shit done.
The same training session on paper can play out very differently based on the intensity you bring to it – do you take long breaks, to feel more rested? Do you chat with your training partners too much? Are you focused on the session and what it is trying to achieve?
Log Press 6×3 / Deadlift 4×6 / Overhead Press 4×10 / Walking Lunge 4×16 / Hack Squat 4×20 / Lying Leg Curl 4×15
The above training session can take 2.5 hours, or 60 minutes. The difference is in how you approach it, with what intensity (both programmed and ‘other’). Neither method is right or wrong – there is a time and a place for being well rested, and taking your time. But there is also a place for getting after it and not sandbagging. A much bigger place than many people realise, in my opinion.
I neglected this kind of intensity for far too long in my own training. Lifting heavy stuff is fun, everyone loves feeling strong. But if that’s all you do you will hit roadblocks sooner than you think, and being stuck in a training plateau is never a great feeling.
Supersets and giant sets are best suited to work capacity / hypertrophy phases of training, sometimes sneaking in to the beginning of a strength phase. These are periods of time where you should be working at 80% or less of your 1RM, for the most part, allowing you the freedom to decrease rest times and still get through the work without compromising on the technical side.
These phases are important for building the base that will carry you through to new PRs in the strength and peaking cycles, as well as giving your body and joints a rest from the constant stress of heavy loads.
So there you have it. Eat your vegetables, train with intensity, and get after it.
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