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What is intensity?

101pro

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Well with the HIT vs Volume debate ongoing I was hoping someone would be able to define intensity for me.

The HIT desciples seem to define it as momentary muscular failure which depends upon the individuals pain tolerance and work ethic. This is hard to measure and makes the method very unscientific.

The volume camp defines it as a % of 1rm. This is definitely measureable, lending it to scientific analysis.

So what is intensity. How important is intensity.

For example if someone uses 75% of 1rm to failure (~12reps) the HIT would say this was a high intensity session. Go home and recover. The volume camp would disagree. But the volume camp will also argue that low intensity workouts stimulate growth better

I am asking because in order for training to be scientific it needs to be quantifiable. The definition of intensity seems to be at the center of the controversy.

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Mr_Magoo

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well i believe u struck the nail on the head when u said intensity isnt scientific by HIT standards bc of individual pain tolerance, work ethic and so on and i agree

but flip the side to volume where intensity is a percentage of one rep max,well whos to say my one rep max is easier or harder then urs because of my work ethic an pain tolerance?
 

Mr_Magoo

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so then the percentage of one rep max im working at may be different then urs and hence not so scientific
 

101pro

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Big H come on

I've felt the same way.

I even thought, in the hit perspective, that a poor work ethic=poor recovery. My failure (work capacity does not = yours)therefore HIT works. again it makes sense but is unscientific.

Personally I lifted WSB and gained 50lbs lbm and increased my squat from 300 to 700. this was in 1yr. WSB is a volume approach. Tell me it doesn't work.

Let's bring science into the discussion. We all can gain from this

101
 

ryan

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this is a great topic....soon as i saw it a grabd my exercise physiology...but there is NO actual definition intensity even though it is refered to time and time again...i dont think thats right :confused:




ryan
 

stevehnsn

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I don't think there's any true definition for intensity in our world. As stated above, one measure of intensity talks about lifting as heavy as possible (90-100% 1rm), while another measure of intensity refers to complete muscular failure. Both of these are valid definitions, but must be used in context to avoid confusion.

My personal definition of intensity involves the following:
1) Go to the gym with full concentration on the goals of that training session, mind devoid of distractions.
2) Complete my lifts as heavy as possible, while trying to achieve the required number of reps.
 

Crowler

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101pro said:
Well with the HIT vs Volume debate ongoing I was hoping someone would be able to define intensity for me.

The HIT desciples seem to define it as momentary muscular failure which depends upon the individuals pain tolerance and work ethic. This is hard to measure and makes the method very unscientific.

The volume camp defines it as a % of 1rm. This is definitely measureable, lending it to scientific analysis.
101
In your argument you say that it is hard to measure momentary muscular failute and makes the method very unscientific.

Then you say that % of 1rm is definitely measurerable lending to scientific analysis.

How is it in one case momentary muscular failure is hard to measure and it is not in the second case?
1rm inculdes many things including technique and skill. Just ask a power lifter who fails on a lift they have gotten before. Doesn't make sense but then they would be basing their volume work on the wrong 1rm.

I think both are good estimations not perfect but the about the best we have. Each is good for various reasons and each has their downfalls.

IMO it has been said a million times, if it works for you use it. If it doesn't don't.
 

Jimbo

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I gusss ill throw in my 0.02. I am no longer a BB but a powerlifter. Intesity for us is having the guts to keep breaking the pain barrier and using heavier and heavier weight. We dont care about the pump or 100% form. As long as the pounds are going up, we know we are doing everything right.
 

Mr_Magoo

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Re: Big H come on

u went from a 300 pound squat to a 700 pound one in a year?

101pro said:
I've felt the same way.

I even thought, in the hit perspective, that a poor work ethic=poor recovery. My failure (work capacity does not = yours)therefore HIT works. again it makes sense but is unscientific.

Personally I lifted WSB and gained 50lbs lbm and increased my squat from 300 to 700. this was in 1yr. WSB is a volume approach. Tell me it doesn't work.

Let's bring science into the discussion. We all can gain from this

101
 

homonunculus

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Definition

Exercise scientists define intensity as a some personage of a maximum power output, force production, speed of movement of other *quantifiable* measure of peak human performance (often a nearly instaneous maximum).

During aerobic exercise, intensity is often expressed as a percentage of the maximum oxygen uptake. During an isometric muscle endurance test where the subject is asked to maintain a certain force output (intensity) for as long as possible, the intensity is defined as the amount of force produced relative to the maximum under those testing conditions.

During resistance exercise, exercise scientists define intensity as a percentage of the 1 repetition maximum. When you do a set of 10 reps w/ 70% of a 1RM, the intensity, by this definition, remains the same during the entire set.

On the other hand, the effort level increases as greater motor output is required to compesate for fatigue. Exercise scientists use a rating of perceived exertion - a psychological measure - to quantify what Muscle and Fitness calls "intensity" - how hard the set was.

The question at hand is not what intensity is best, but what *stimulus* is best to grow muscle. Both high rep (low intensity) and low rep (high intensity) programs can be absolutely grueling. I'll leave the details of whatever contributes to our perception of effort (pain, amount of fatigue, heart rate, etc.) to the psychologists.

In my mind, both HIT-style approaches and "volume" approaches are both examples of high intensity exercise. As a mark of reference, someone cycling at a maximum sustainable effort for 30min is only producing with each pedal stroke forces that are about 30% of maximum. This might be considered high intensity *aerobic* exercise, but lifting 30 lb when you can lift 100lb would not be considered high intensity resistance exercise, even by volume proponents...

Hope this is what you are looking for.

-Randy

(BTW, the definition should be in any exercise phys. book, even the shitty ones.)
 

ryan

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great reply randy.......but there realy isnt a deff. in there... it talks about intencity in regards to VO2 max,lactate threshold,ect... but there is no real deff. again great reply





ryan
 

Jimbo

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Re: Big H come on

101pro said:
I've felt the same way.

I even thought, in the hit perspective, that a poor work ethic=poor recovery. My failure (work capacity does not = yours)therefore HIT works. again it makes sense but is unscientific.

Personally I lifted WSB and gained 50lbs lbm and increased my squat from 300 to 700. this was in 1yr. WSB is a volume approach. Tell me it doesn't work.

Let's bring science into the discussion. We all can gain from this

101


What is WSB?
 

bigheinz

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First, a definition is in order - what exactly is intensity? Intensity has been identified as the single most crucial factor to success in your training.

Intensity can be defined as the percent of your momentary ability to perform an exercise.

It has nothing to do with how much resistance you are using, nor what percent of your 1 repetition maximum is for a chosen exercise. It refers to the degree of difficulty that you experience during the exercise. The specific intensity required to produce optimal gains in strength is remains unknown. However, if you are a healthy person and perform an exercise to the point of momentary muscular failure (100% intensity), you can be assured that you have attained a level of intensity that will stimulate increases in muscular size and strength.

Train hard, brief and enfrequent and get the gains you will never imagine !!!!!!!
and remember......
........There is no space for the littles!!!!!!!
Bigheinz
 

xcelbeyond

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Re: Re: Big H come on

Jimbo said:
What is WSB?
West Side Barbell

xcel
 

drgoodbody

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IMHO....

intensity = puking from lactic acidosis during your workout.

Yum, Yum!

DrG
 

Jimbo

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Re: Re: Re: Big H come on

xcelbeyond said:

West Side Barbell

xcel

Could you give some info on it? Is it a club or a training style?
 

homonunculus

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Take 2

Knuttgen and Komi, in Strength and Power in Sport (1992), define intensity as the level of muscular activity that can be quantified in terms of power output.

In Essentials of Strength Training & Conditioning, Wathen says the "intensity of exercise is often synonymous with the training load (amount of weight per repetition). Scientists describe intensity as the power output of an exercise."

The quantification of intensity of exercise will differ during different activities (see prev. post). W/o an accelerometer, its pretty tough to guage power output (specifically velocity or speed) during resistance exercise, so load is commingly used, as Wathen says.

For a western scientist, the purpose of defining "intensity" would be to describe a quantifiable variable that can used in studies where statistical analysis is the guide for decision making. Intensity must be a variable, usually a continuous number, a rating, a binary value, etc.

A generic definition might be:

Intensity of resistance exercise is equivalent the load (kg) being lifted.

The above fits with the definition of absolute intensity, where the lifters capabilities are not taken into consideration.

Relative intensity, which is what most folks focus on when designing training programs (e.g., I can't really follow Ed Coan's squat training regime, but have to use weights appropriate to my ability), could be defined as:

Relative intensity of resistance exercise is the load (kg) being lifted, expressed relative to the maximum load that could be lifted (1RM).

BIG HEINZ, perhaps you can provide a reference for your definition?...

"A healthy person [performs] an exercise to the point of momentary muscular failure (100% intensity), you can be assured that you have attained a level of intensity that will stimulate increases in muscular size and strength." What if I do maximum rep sets with 20% of my 1RM, i.e., for several hours? Atha (circa 1980, published in Exercise Science and Sport Reviews) reviewed the literature even then and, using the commonly accepted scientific definition of "intensity," found that a load of at least 60%1RM is required for substantial strength gains in previously trained individuals.

It seems your definition (you refer to "degree of difficulty") refers to what you might call "psychological intensity," which is quantified in western science as a rating of perceived exertion (RPE). Unfortunately, you can do many different kinds of exercise that would have the same RPE rating, but required dramatically different physiological attributes. (E.g., riding a bike at max. velocity for 30 min might elicit an RPE of 10, the same as the RPE during the last rep of a 10 rep maximum set.

One might also expect maximum exercise intensity to increase as one becomes more trained. This would be reflected in the 1RM. On the other hand, RPE in the trained state will be less (compared to untrained) for any absolute load lifted (lifting 100lb is easier when you can lift 200lb compared to when you can only lift 150lb).

Some powerlifters never take sets to failure (at least not intentionally), thus they never reach a maximum RPE. However, they realize that they must increase they weight (load or intensity) they train with in order to have higher totals in competition.

I personally think that a definition of intensity should be one that defines a variable that can be manipulated to vary the training stimulus, as well as one which can be used to quantify strength, standardize muscular endurance tests, etc. Intensity as I have described it above does that. "Psychological Intensity" or an RPE seems a very poor way to ensure progressive overload. If you always train to maximum RPE, how could you know if you are increasing the training stimulus if you never know how much weight you are lifting?... RPE would never change - it would always be maximum. If your RPE when lifting 100lb goes from a 6 (0-10 scale) to a 4, does this mean you got 33% stronger?...

Hope this answers the questions better(?)... Probably stirs up some more, too...;)

-Randy
 

xcelbeyond

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