To finish the year we are going to bring in some block periodisation which was popularised/invented by one of if not the greatest minds in strength and conditioning Dr. Mike Stone. The concept of relative intensity you could call a precursor to the autoregulation framework and RPE’s popularised by Mike stone in the strength and conditioning community during the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Absolute vs Relative intensity
When we measure the intensity of exercise it is normally against an absolute standard that is then scaled based off the person’s ability. For conditioning we use a maximum heart rate (fastest a person’s heart can beat), in speed training we use their maximum velocity (fastest a person can run a distance or their top speed) in lifting we use the amount of weight being lifted.
These absolute intensities aren’t very useful when trying to plan or deliver a training plan to an individual. If we use speed as an example as it’s not what we are used to seeing in every day lifting language so it allows us to think about it without the baggage of our own bias and experience.
3×100 meters @ 10 m/s (10 second 100 meter efforts)
Now let’s say your 100 meter PB is 12.5 seconds this is an impossible fear your own maximal 100% effort would be well off the pace. So to make this session make sense we need to make reference to the effort involved in the session.
The information we can give you
- Session Volume (number of efforts)
- Effort volume (distance or duration of effort)
- Order of effort (wherein the session it should come)
- Intensity or type of effort (how hard you should go)
If we take into consideration your actual ability we can give you the following session
3×100 meters @ 90% pace (aim for 13.5 second 100 meter efforts)
We give you a an indication of how the effort should be (% of max) and we also give you a peg based on your own ability how fast those efforts should be (13.5 seconds).
This is giving your some more information that is relative to your own ability (Relative intensity). RPEs (rate of perceived effort) do pretty much the same information but with a different time frame.
It could be argued that only % based programs where I only give you a load x reps x sets are an absolute intensity. Today I want you to lift this weight this many times regardless of how you feel. What relative intensity does is gives us some language to try and frame how hard you should be training.
|Absolute intensity (% of max effort)
|Light to Moderate
This allows us to use language that is intuitive for people to understand when I say to you today is a Very heavy session or this week is a very heavy week you understand intuitively that this week we are going to push to the maximum you have to give me in each set of each session. If you have reps in the tank I wank more weight or more reps. If I say this session is a light session you know it is more of a recovery-based workout and may not provide any stimulus to recover from or any stress but it will help you to recover and move. I can focus on other outcomes such as skill learning or bar speed.
Using Relative Intensity In the block
|Volume (sets x reps)
|Volume load (Intensity x Volume)
|85-90% of best
|3 x 10
|90-95% of best
|3 x 10
|95-100%+ of best
|3 x 10
|80% of best
|3 x 10
During the final 3 blocks of this program, we are going to be using this framework to put together 12 weeks of training. The first 4 weeks of which will be designed to increase your lifting specific fitness and hypertrophy so we can help you to be able to push yourself harder and to adapt harder to the training that is yet to come (phase potentiation).
We are going to be using a 3 up 1 down schedule for the block for the first 8 weeks of the training we will change this for the final block and we will explain the rationale for it in the 12th block.
The first block we will be undertaking is going to be a volume-based block where we will be focusing on metabolic (fitness/energy systems) and mechanical (muscle size, connective tissue strength, and preparedness). This will allow us to be better prepared for the training to come later in the training block which will mean we should be able to achieve greater results.
Block 10 the training block
We will be following the same schedule as the table above where we will be keeping the volume the same while increasing the intensity for the first 3 weeks. Each of these weeks will be presenting and overload which will induce fatigue and adaptation, we will be doing this for 3 weeks and then in week 4 we will be dropping the intensity and not the volume this should mean our training is under our level of preparedness which means it should represent a chance for you to recover. Commonly known as a unload, deload or “pivot”.
The Micro cycle
- Monday (day 1) – Lower Body (Squat Focus)
- Tuesday (day 2) – Upper Body (Bench focus)
- Wednesday (day 3) – Rest
- Thursday (day 4) – Lower Body (Deadlift Focus)
- Friday (day 5) – Upperbody (Assistance Focus)
- Saturday (day 6) – Rest
- Sunday (day 7) – Rest
Exercise selection and mesocycle (block goal)
Since the goal of the program is to prepare you for the following 2 cycles (8 weeks of training) we are going to use exercises that encourage greater total movement/range of motion but using a similar movement pattern.
We will also be using a simple upper/lower split since the training is going to be pretty fatiguing and high volume per session training split we are going to make sure you get enough recovery over the next 4 weeks of the block.