Effective strength training is based on the optimal interaction of different stress normatives. These are the load used, the number of repetitions per set, the pause times between sets and the total number of repetitions. The aim is always to create a suitable level of stress for the desired training goal. Especially in playing sports, external conditions, such as weekly games and other training units, are also involved.
Load and stress
Up to now there has been deliberate reference to stress and not to load. The load is an external quantity to which an athlete reacts with a stress. The same load can mean a different stress on different days. If, for example, an athlete lifts 160 kg at a daily maximum of 180 kg, this corresponds to a percentage load of around 88%. If he lifts the same load on another day at a daily maximum of only 165 kg, this corresponds to around 97%. The load was identical here, but the stress was quite different. It should be noted that the daily maximum can fluctuate by up to ± 18 % in the period of one month.
In conventional strength training, the load is given as a percentage. This corresponds to load control. On the other hand, there is the autoregulatory approach. Here the load is adapted to the daily readiness. An effective and reliable way to do this is velocity based training. The quasi-linear relationship between velocity and load can be used to create a velocity profile of an athlete in a particular exercise. With future submaximal repetitions over 50 %, the current daily maximum can be determined very accurately. The optimal training load for this day can be derived from a percentage of the daily maximum. The actual load used by an athlete thus depends on the daily readiness.
Number of repetitions
How many repetitions should be performed per set? This raises the question of how fatiguing the training should be. This results in how long the regeneration time of the athlete will be. The more fatigue an athlete experiences in a set, the longer it will take him to recover. This is true for both the set pause and recovery after training. The most accessible way to describe this is through Repetitions in Reserve (RIR). RIR describes how many repetitions an athlete could have performed in a set after finishing the set. This value can be subjectively or objectively measured using the velocity based training approach.
Total number of repetitions
Now that we know which load should be used and how many repetitions should be performed per set, we have to determine the total number of repetitions. This in turn depends on the training goal and the desired regeneration time. At this point, the athlete or coach is asked to determine this. If I have only two training sessions per week and few other training sessions, the total number of repetitions can be higher than in a tight training routine.
Vmaxpro’s coaching supports all necessary measurements, calculations and decisions completely automatically. First, however, a velocity profile must be created for an athlete in each exercise. From the second training on, the coaching is ready. The quality of the coaching continues to depend on the quality of the profile. Vmaxpro continuously adjusts the profile in the background with each training session. In this way, the best results are always achieved. How exactly the profile is determined and adapted over time is described in a separate article. It is important that every repetition with Vmaxpro is performed with maximal intention. This is sometimes not possible with low loads. In this case, the daily readiness may be underestimated with low loads. Coaching can be deactivated at any time by tapping the AI button.
Definition of goals
When you add an exercise to a workout, the last step is to define a workout goal. There are essentially only three settings to make. First define the training goal. There are four strength traits to choose from. This selection already determines a rough percentage range of the load that will be used. For hypertrophy this is between 70 and 85 % of the 1RM.
In the second step, the load will be further reduced. By selecting a moderate training load, the target load in the lower range is determined. In the example of hypertrophy, this is 70 – 77.5 %, or in other words 73.75 % ± 3.75 %. This sufficiently defines the percentage load. The remaining margin is to be chosen subjectively by the athlete or coach. A more detailed description is not very effective, negligible for the training stimulus and in many cases not achievable due to limited load increments.
In the third step the tolerable fatigue is chosen. In this case, “moderate” means around 4 RIR, with „exhausting” corresponding to 0 RIR. This selection influences the number of repetitions. Specifically the number of repetitions per set as well as the total number of repetitions.
Extended goal definition
As a Vmaxpro Trainer or Team user, advanced settings are available here as an alternative. These can be activated via the toggle switch. If the advanced settings are selected, the previous selections have no effect. Only the strength trait is used for the configuration. The target range of the velocity can be entered directly. This will be transferred into the corresponding loads in later coaching in case of an existing velocity profile. The repetitions per set are limited by the velocity drop and the absolute minimum velocity (MVT). However, the fatigue-related drop in velocity correlates with the RIR and cannot be defined in general terms in absolute values, since this differs from exercise to exercise and athlete to athlete. The same applies to the absolute minimal velocity. The total number of repetitions defines the number of repetitions in the target area.
In Vmaxpro coaching two tasks are solved separately. Already at the beginning of the training a first load is predefined. This corresponds to about 50% – 60% of the current daily maximum. At this point, the athlete should already be well warmed up and, if necessary, have performed a few repetitions of the current exercise. Each future repetition should be performed with maximum intention and proper technique. As long as the load is outside the target range, the repetitions are suggested at 2-5 for warm-up. It is always advisable to do 1-2 warm-up sets with Vmaxpro in order to be able to determine the daily readiness before the work sets.
After each set the load is increased if necessary. The increase takes place in percentual decreasing steps. Initially larger steps are to be expected than in later training with increasing loads.
As soon as the target range is reached, the number of repetitions is adjusted. The maximal possible number of repetitions is initially determined from the percentage load in relation to the daily readiness and the stored profile. This is reduced depending on the level of fatigue selected. If 10 repetitions are possible, these are reduced to 8 repetitions with selected moderate permissible fatigue. The range is then specified with 6-8 repetitions. The number of repetitions is always adjusted to the current fatigue with additional sets. If the total number of repetitions is reached, no more repetitions are prescribed and the training is completed.