Is Your Training Intense Enough?

Achieving the right intensity during a workout can be very difficult for people to judge when they are lifting, especially if they are newbies. In oder to maximise your workout we've provide some information on the subject.

The old method of acquiring your 1 rep max can be awkward, spotters are needed, you run the risk of injury or sacrificing technique for the ego. If you're not accustomed to lifting big how do you know what you're capable of? It can take years to get the feel of it.

Well there is another way of deciding what's the right weight for you. It's called Repetitions in Reserve (RIR) It represents the number of repetitions below failure your working to.




Max effort (zero reps in reserve)


No RIR but go slightly heavier


1 rep in reserve


1-2 reps in reserve


2 reps in reserve


2-3 reps in reserve


3 reps in reserve

The above chart comes in useful when working out what intensity you should be at for each set. As failure should only be reserved for either the last set or every so often in a programme 10 would be your max effort, anything under a 7 can be treated as your warm up set. This chart should help with your goal for the session if its strength, then 8 and above should be used. If you were to work more volume then 7 and above is the minimum.

As your programme continues each week you should move through this chart with each lift hitting near maximal (9.5) before moving onto the next weight and beginning at the lower end of the chart and repeating the same process. Remember pick a goal rep range (strength 5 or less, muscle growth 6-12, volume/metabolic 15-20) choose a weight with the correct RIR and away you go.

Hopefully using this chart should help you lift what feels right, and get those working sets done more accurately giving you the best chance of muscle growth, strength gains and fat loss.

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