During a previous post we talking about the different Zones of Intensity.  That story, however, is incomplete with out looking at volume.  In that article I wrote:

"...there is a partial overlap of intermuscular coordination and intramuscular coordination at the 70% - 79% range.  This is the range we call the Power Training Zone.  Here is where we are able to gain the benefits of both types of muscle coordination, and is where we can perform the most explosively with partial gains in both."

You can read about intermuscular coordination, intramuscular coordination, and all the other training outcomes we want here.

That is all good and fine, but the number of reps/sets we do in that 'Power Training Zone' will drastically impact the training benefit.  For example, we do 10 reps at 75% we are NOT training explosiveness.  The fatigue build up during the set will compromise any ability to perform the repetitions explosively and, will most likely, lead to intermuscular coordination problems.

How Much and For How Long? 

Depending on the intensity and depending on the volume we will get different training outcomes that will either help or hurt us in our sport.  Below is four broad headlines for desired training benefits:  Endurance, Hypertrophy, Power, and Strength.  They are broad brushes based on the relationship between volume and intensity.  Under each heading is the primary intensity zone, the volume (sets x reps), and the training response. 


  • INTENSITY:  < 50%
  • VOLUME (SETS X REPS): 1-3 X 20-100
    • Improved Aerobic Capacity
    • Some Hypertrophy of Type I Fibers (Slow Twitch)
    • Small Improvement of Lactate Threshold
    • Strengthening of Ligaments/Tendons
    • Decline of Intramuscular Coordination


  • INTENSITY:  60% - 75%
  • VOLUME (SETS X REPS): 4-6 X 6-12
    • Hypertrophy of Type I and Type II Muscle Fibers
    • Lactate Threshold Improvement
    • Some Absolute Strength Gains
    • Moderate Intermuscular Coordination


  • INTENSITY:  65% - 80%
  • VOLUME (SETS X REPS): 8-12 X 2-3
    • High Intermuscular Coordination
    • Some Intramuscular Coordination
    • Some Improvement in Anaerobic Conditioning
    • Some Absolute Strength Gains.


  • INTENSITY:  80% - 90%
  • VOLUME (SETS X REPS): 3-6 X 3-5
    • Some hypertrophy of Type II Fibers
    • Increased absolute strength primarily thru intramuscular coordination.
    • Some anaerobic conditioning benefits

Next week we will be looking at 'the other training variables' that are very important, but are often overshadowed by intensity and volume in the barbell sports.  Stay tuned!

Kurt Roderick, CSCS, USAW-ASPC L2, CF-L3, AOLC