Intensity - definitions

Intensity seems to be defined and measured in different ways by different programs/coaches. I think this causes difficulty in assessing and comparing programs.

I think it could be useful to briefly discuss multiple definitions, measurement and use of intensity, with reference to programs.

Zatsiorsky (S&P 1995) , recognises two definitions, maximum training force and maximum competition force: ‘The heaviest weight an athlete can lift without substantial emotional stress’, and ‘the athletic performance during a competition respectively’.

I can’t remember whether he also considers a daily maximum training force as well, which some programs use.

So here we have 3 definitions and these are each used within different training programs. I think it’s important to realise the different uses in comparing training programs, within sports and across sports. I use max. training force without emotional stress myself, and don’t use daily maxes.

Any thoughts?

Rock N Roll (S&P 2004) , recognises two definitions,

Chris Beniot - Supersets everything in training, 6-8 Multi-Joint Exercises per set, No recovery. Trains very hard. Real hardcore.

Can’t look past Lance Armstrong, a true pain junkie. Mentally, quite possibly the toughest on the planet.

In my mind, One must only delineate between intensity of training and training intesity.

Zatsiorsky’s maximum maximorum of force and maximum force and so on are (in my opinion) referring to intensity of training. Whereas, in it’s simplest terms, training intensity (with respect to strength training) refers to load.


I realise the difference and always use maximums for guidance or a limit, as on the day weights can change (almost only ever to lower weight), as required.

I believe this is how they are widely used, which programs do not measure intensity and only - go by feel each day?