Training intensity refers to how much weight is lifted in comparison to a one-repetition maximum (1RM), with the heaviest weight lifted being considered to have the highest intensity level. It follows that the heavier the weight used, the less reps that can be performed.
In an effort to keep their workouts simple, many personal trainers and strength coaches design workouts that use the same training intensity protocols for the upper body as they do for the lower body. However, strength training research from Australia and Brazil has shown that the upper body responds better when exposed to a greater variety of training intensities. In other words, it would be like the upper body is smarter than the lower body, and wants to “learn faster”. Probably has to do with lower number of muscle fibers per motor unit as seen in the upper body, and/or the fact that we use it more for coordinative tasks than the lower body.
Let’s say you want to perform both the squat and the bench press in a workout cycle. You will obtain better results by injecting more variety during the cycle, in terms of repetitions performed, for the bench press than for the squat.
Copyright ©2011 Charles Poliquin