Money and time is some of the finite resources in life. As our lives become busier with work, family, and life commitments our exercise time must become more effective and efficient. One of the biggest and most common mistakes individuals make in the gym is an ineffective cardiovascular or strength training intensity selection. Although any movement of large body parts will contribute to a caloric deficit, selection of a low intensity of exercise will prevent participants from developing cardiovascular or strength gains. Research shows both novice and experienced weight trainers choose inadequate weights for strength development.
Glass and colleagues found novice lifters selected weights between 42-57% of their 1 repetition maximum (J Strength Cond Res. 2004). A second study found similar mistakes in sedentary individuals who initiated a strength training program (Elsangedy et al. J Phys Ther Sci. 2016). These self selected weights were all found to below the 60% value shown to create muscle growth and strength gains among novice lifters. Surprisingly, the influence of a personal trainer does not ensure participant reach intensities recommended by the strength and conditioning research. Ratamess and colleagues randomized females with weight training experience to either a self selected or a weight intensity selected by a personal trainer (J Strength Cond Res. 2008). Although selected weight intensities were improved (51% vs. 42%) in the personal training group authors found both groups selected weights below recommended intensities.
In our previous blog we discussed the value of using repetition in reserve to determine an appropriate intensity during weight training. This method of selection reduces the human error associated with weight training ensuring selected weights are appropriate for strength gains.