Apply The Right Training Stimulus
Updated: Aug 1, 2019
I always talk about the importance of nutrition when it comes to changing our body composition, which is crucial, no doubt, but training food will ONLY support effective Training.
To provide the right training stimulus we need to set a workout goal. Our session will be different if we want to work on our strength than if we want to increase our cardiovascular conditions.
How To Measure Training Intensity
Heart Rate Monitor:
HRM is a great way to measure your intensity level. It’s widely used in professional sports, because of its unique ability to show the individual’s exertion.
We can say the fitter we are the lower our resting heart rate (RHR) is. It’s common for endurance athletes to walk around with 30-40bpm (beats per minute) RHR.
Once we know our RHR, we have to test our Maximum Heart Rate (MRH). This will show how fast our heart beats to provide oxygen in high-intensity training situation.
Let’s say that you perform your MAXIMUM effort, so you physically couldn’t do better, and the monitor shows 180bpm, that means your MHR is 180. From here we can work out your training zones.
Red Zone is the most intense, ergo you will find this the most fatiguing. An example for this is a 100 Meter sprint.
We don’t always have access to HRM, in this case, a very simple way to measure training intensity is the Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE).
Just imagine a scale from 1 to 10 where 1 is no exertion and 10 is your maximum effort. You can apply these numbers to the Training Zones by matching them to colours.
When you are working with weights you can train 3 different attributes. Strength, Hypertrophy, and Endurance. The heavy weights (means weight what limits you to do 1-5 repetitions) will make you stronger, the moderate weights (6-12 reps) will build more muscle, and light weights (12 reps and above) will work on muscle endurance.
In this case, you just have to find a weight what will keep you in the required repetition range. The heavier the weight is the more intensity you can expect, unless you are going to muscle failure, what you shouldn’t if you’re a beginner, but this is for another article.
Also worth mentioning that heavier sets require longer breaks.
There are some cases where you don’t want to worry about intensity levels, like technique, speed, and skill work, however, it is still important to train these qualities.
To be an all-around athlete you should train all components of fitness starting from speed and power to strength and endurance.
Programming all this together is hard tho. Here is a system to help you out:
Assuming that you can work out 5-6 days a week you should train:
Speed and Power:
At least once a week, this can include sprints, box jumps, Olympic weightlifting and medicine ball throws.
Don’t use heavier weights than 20-30% of your 1 Repetition Maximum. The key here is quality and velocity. Once you starting to slow down, stop and move on. Take long breaks if you have to, 2-3 minutes, and keep the reps low, 2-3 maximum for 2-3 sets.
2-3 times a week, focus on the “Big Lifts” like deadlift, squat, bench press, shoulder press, pull-ups. Take as much break as necessary to lift the same weight for the same repetitions. This can be 2-5 minutes. 1-5 Reps for 3-5 sets.
The best way to build muscle… well, to break down muscle first, and to do that you need to keep the muscle under tension as long as you can. Usually 45 seconds will do the job and assuming you do 12 repetitions with a 2 seconds lowering phase and a 2 second lifting phase it will add up to 48 seconds. Of course there are other techniques to do apply this, drop-sets, supersets etc.
Train full body 3 times a week or upper-lower 4 times a week.
2 times a week, go for a 30 minute run, play basketball or, swim in the sea. Keep your heart-rate in the 100-140 range. You shouldn’t feel exhausted after this activity.
If you only can train 2-3 times a week you can mix this workouts into a hybrid training session like this:
Start with Box Jumps, this is the Power Phase
Use Pull-ups to increase you Upper-Body Strength
Do Rowing exercises with lighter weights to build muscle
And finish with a Functional Ab circuit, using medicine balls.