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The Pillars of Training: Part 1

Updated: Mar 31, 2022

Training = Efficiency + Intensity + Progression + Longevity + Goal

Generally, we can define efficiency as:

“a good use of time and energy in a way that does not waste any”

Efficient training allows for a better extraction of the benefits of training. Simply put, more bang for your buck.

So, how can we make training more efficient? Well, let’s consider the factors that influence this:

Intent and execution

How can intent contribute to efficiency? Via adaptation.

“Adaptation is the process of the body getting accustomed to an exercise or a training programme.”

More intent i.e. having a reason as to why you’re doing what you’re doing (choice of exercise amongst other things), allows for adaptation. Providing sufficient stimulus and achieving adaptation is ultimately the goal of training, but we’ll expand on this later in this series.

How can execution contribute to efficiency? Simple. Performing an exercise with proper movement allows for the individual to extract more out of that exercise.

Now that’s training efficiency covered, let’s look at the next pillar of training.

Intensity can be defined as,

“The level of effort a person exerts during exercise relative to his or her maximum effort.”

And the two variables that influence intensity:

Load and effort

Load is simply the amount of weight being lifted.

Load is expressed as a percentage of your one-rep max. Generally, the greater the load, the greater the intensity.

Effort can be best explained via two different measures: Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) and Reps in Reserve (RIR).

RPE is a method of self-regulating training intensity. The ratings go from 1 to 10 with 1 being absolutely no effort and 10 being the maximum.

It takes time for an individual to understand how to implement RPE but this can be a great way of monitoring intensity.

RIR is similar to RPE – just the other way around. RIR can be viewed as simpler to implement. It is an expression of how many reps you felt you had left. RPE also accounts for the speed of the reps in some cases.


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