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11/27/2012 6:26:57 PM -
Intensity and Experts?

Intensity & Experts

There are many things that drive me nuts and these diminish with each passing year but there are still a couple that I just can't let go of. One of these in the use of the word "Intensity" in the programing - or should I say improper use.

Last week I sent out another tweet as part of my how do your know your Internet Guru is FOS series. This time the question asked to define intensity as it relates to programing. Little did I know there was an article just posted titled Ask the Experts: What is Intensity?. This was tweeted to me the following day and the title interested me enough to read the article. I was also curious how may of the experts would know the real definition as it relates to training.

Well out of 11 experts one got it right. Perhaps 1.5 because there was one other person who kinda got it but not really.

BTW - intensity is defined as degree of effort when compared to maximum capacity. This is a math equation. I'm sure you have all heard and read Louie Simmons say training is mathematics, bio-mechanics and physics. Well this is part of the basic mathematics of strength and conditioning programing. This is also a "basic" concept of training that should be as well known as a set, rep, and exercise.

This isn't my definition or sometime I just came up with. This is how the term has been used for DECADES.

Yes I do understand that bodybuilders define this as intensity of effort but they are still wrong but I let them slide because most of them have never studied the programing of strength, sport and conditioning.

The key point here to note is it is physically impossible to train at high volumes with high intensity. This physically CAN'T be done. To say so only demonstrates a complete lack of knowledge in the programing process. You simply can't do 90% of your one rep max (high intensity) for 5 sets of 20 (high volume). If you can then the intensity really wasn't 90%.

I for one what to help teach others to become the next generations of experts and to do so we need to give the the right tools and educate them to become the best they can be. I do not agree with creating sheep who will just follow what you tell them to do.

For us all to get better we need to create students of this craft so they will become the next generations of experts and innovators to help take strength and sports training to the next level. This isn't going to happen when they are not even being thought the basic terms correctly. is in the strength education business and happens to sell products (this allows us to provide the educational content for free). It has become very apparent we need to do a much better job in the educational side because there is more BS today than any time in the history of sport and training. It is also clear to us that we need to take a few steps back and begin working on more articles that cover the absolute basis of training because if the experts are misinformed we can only imagine how bad it is when you get to the beginners and intermediate levels of strength training and education.

Because this falls in line with this topic I will rehash how I determine who I will listen to when it comes to training advice. I look for these things.

1. Who did they learn from - Where did they go to school, what did they study, what have they read, who were their mentors, who did they intern with, what is their base of education?

2. Who did they train with and/or under - Who was their coach, who were their training partners, what teams were they apart of?

3. What have they done - what are their lifts, what have they competed in, at what level did they compete at? Do they have in the trenches and under the bar experience, have t hey faced or over come adversity in the gym or did it all come easy, are they even in shape and do they train?

4. Who have they trained and made better than themselves? Who have they coached, what clients have they really worked with, are their testimonials real people or buddies doing them a favor, have they ever really trained a client? When people say they have trained thousands of people do you have any idea how many years it would take for this to really happen? If it really is thousands than there is a very high attrition rate --- why?

Keep in mind that every coach and every trainer is not created equal and just because they may be lacking in some of these sectors doesn't mean they totally suck. I know some that just excel at one of these sectors and can offer great advice that can help you go along way. The reason for the questions is to help you get past all the bullshit and see the coach/trainer for what they really are and not who they pretend to be.

Dave Tate

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