Are you training hard enough?


Are you training hard enough?

It is one thing to go to the gym and it is another thing to push yourself in the gym. Anecdotally from what I have seen in the gym, most individuals do not push themselves hard enough or are trying too hard. How to you make sure you are training hard enough?

This is determined by the type of exercise you are performing (Aerobic vs Anaerobic training). Aerobic training intensity is based off the percentage of your maximum heart rate. To bring changes to your body you must be training between 55% to 90% of your maximal heart rate. If you have just started, however, rather keep your heart rate to about 55% to 65% of your maximum. You will receive benefits from training at less than 55% of your maximum, however, these benefits will be more health marker and not fitness marker related.

For anaerobic training (Weightlifting), intensity is calculated using your 1 rep max (RM) (the heaviest weight you can do for one repetition). For new lifters, training with weights at 60% of your 1RM has been scientifically shown to be most effective. For novice lifters, 80% of your 1RM should be used and 85% for elite individuals. (Refer to this article for Reps and sets).


Other training intensities can be used such as sets of 12 or 15 repetitions. These are only slightly beneficial for strength but great at increasing endurance in the muscle. Make sure this is your ACTUAL 12 to 15 rep max (i.e., you cannot perform another rep with good form after the 12 to 15 reps. I have seen many individuals finish a set where they are training with a weight that is too light and could have achieved more than 12 to 15 reps). Besides training with a sufficiently heavy weight to provide a stimulus, ensure it is almost impossible for you to achieve another repetition with good form when you are performing a set (some would advise stopping 1 repetition short of failure). Low reps (1 to 6 RM) are best for improving strength. A combination of low and high reps should be ultimately used in your training program also.

Therefore, to ensure you are training with enough intensity when running, use the percentage of your maximal heart rate and when anaerobically training use a percentage of your 1RM.


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