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Training by the numbers

Percentage based training is a popular method used by strength and conditioning coaches to plan and prescribe training loads for athletes. It involves using a percentage of an athlete's one-repetition maximum (1RM) to determine the weight that should be lifted during each set of a particular exercise. The goal of percentage based training is to progressively overload the athlete's muscles, leading to strength gains over time.


Some of the lifts commonly associated with percentage based training include the squat, bench press, deadlift, and overhead press. These are compound lifts that involve multiple muscle groups and are often used in powerlifting competitions.



To determine the desired outcomes from proper set up of training needs, coaches and athletes need to set clear goals and objectives. For example, if the athlete's goal is to increase their 1RM in the squat, the coach would design a program with the appropriate sets, reps, and percentages to achieve that goal.


When designing a percentage based training program, coaches will often use a periodized approach, dividing the program into different phases with different goals. For example, during the off-season, the focus may be on building muscle mass and increasing strength, while during the in-season, the focus may shift towards maintaining strength while also improving sport-specific skills and endurance.


Peaking for a competition involves tapering the athlete's training load in the weeks leading up to the competition to allow for maximal performance on competition day. This may involve reducing the volume of training while maintaining intensity, or reducing both volume and intensity.


To determine when to increase or decrease percentages in a percentage based training program, coaches will often use a combination of objective and subjective measures. Objective measures may include assessing the athlete's progress through regular strength testing, while subjective measures may include feedback from the athlete on their perceived level of fatigue and readiness for increased loads.


Research has shown that percentage based training can be an effective method for increasing strength and muscle mass. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that percentage based training led to greater improvements in strength compared to a non-periodized program (Hartmann et al., 2009).


Although research has shown that percentage based training can be an effective method for increasing strength and muscle mass, proper set up of training needs requires clear goals and objectives, a periodized approach, and a combination of objective and subjective measures to determine when to increase or decrease percentages.


Know your why and see results multiply.


Yours in strength,


Coach Ry


References:

  • Hartmann, H., Wirth, K., Klusemann, M., & Dalic, J. (2009). Influence of squatting depth on jumping performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 23(1), 243-247.

  • Helms, E. R., Fitschen, P. J., Aragon, A. A., Cronin, J., & Schoenfeld, B. J. (2018). Recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: resistance and cardiovascular training. Journal of Sports Medicine, 48(4), 1-27.

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