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Training Definitions

The following is a list of common terms found in most strength building programs, along with definitions:

  • Intensity – Intensity is often viewed in the context of “high intensity training.” For strength training intensity mean the percentage of your one rep max (1RM) that you are working with for a given exercise.

  • Volume – Volume can constitute the number of sets per workout, the number of reps for a specific exercise at a given weight, or the total reps multiplied by the weight used.

  • Periodization – Periodization involves the cycling of intensity and/or training volume through specific cycles to allow for improved recovery and continual gains.

  • Overtraining – Overtraining can involve taxing a muscle, the central nervous system or joints and ligaments beyond their ability to effectively recover.

  • Deload – A planned period of rest or lighter training to allow the symptoms of fatigue or overtraining to rescind while maintaining your current strength levels.

  • Max Effort (ME) – Max effort refers to heavy (intense) training days in which a trainee works up to a 5, 3 or one rep max for a specific movement. ME days can be considered maximal load training days.

  • Dynamic Effort (DE) – Dynamic effort training days place the focus on speed work, or performing an exercise with an approximate 50-60% of 1RM for fast/powerful repetitions. Dynamic effort sets are often 1-3 reps for your big lifts. DE days can be considered maximal speed training days.

  • Repeitition Effort (RE) – Repetition effort training days focus on the use of higher rep sets, generally in the 6 to 12 rep range. Each set is push near, or to failure. RE days can be considered maximal force training days.

  • Assistance/Accessory Exercises – The function of assistance exercises is to target weaknesses and build up/strengthen key muscle groups so that the body as a unit is as strong as possible.


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