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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Does the total weight lifted equal intensity?


There is a type of weight training that gauges the intensity by the total amount of weight lifted in a given time. So if you are training for 45 minutes and lifted a total of 1200 pounds and the next workout lifted a total of 1500 pounds, the analysis would be that the second session was more intense than the first. 

But is this the correct method to judge the intensity of a workout?


Many times you will read that to increase the intensity of a workout you need to add weight. This is only partially true as the intensity of an exercise is increased by training harder not necessarily heavier. In fact, many times training can be made more intense by training with lighter weight! 


The way to do this is to use a HIT technique called drop sets. With drop sets an initial set is done to failure. Enough weight is stripped off the barbell or reduced on a selectorized machine to allow an additional set to be done to failure. 


This is continued until a total of 6-8 mini-sets are completed. This constitutes one total set. As all mini-sets are done to failure the intensity is high. To increase it further, add forced reps at the end of some mini-sets. 


A sample workout for biceps is:


  • cable curls-1 total set of 1 mini-set of 8 reps,2nd mini-set of 8 reps, 3rd mini-set of 8 reps, 4th mini-set of 6 reps, 5th mini-set of 6 reps, 6th mini-set of 10 reps
  • concentration curls-1 total set of 1 mini-set of 8 reps,2nd mini-set of 8 reps, 3rd mini-set of 8 reps, 4th mini-set of 6 reps, 5th mini-set of 6 reps, 6th mini-set of 10 reps
As mentioned, reduce the weight quickly between mini-sets to allow completion of the desired reps. Don't rest at all between mini-sets, pausing long enough to change the weight only. 

So you see, intensity can be increased by decreasing the weight used during an exercise.


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