Resistance Training & Program Design part 5

Posted by on Mar 7, 2013 in Program Design, Review Topics | 2 comments

(see Step4)

Step 5: Training Load and Repetitions

Load is the weight  used during the exercise, and is the most important aspect of a resistance training program.

Work is a load moved over a distance, or the product of a force over a distance.  In the sport of olympic weightlifting, work is typically defined as the weight x (# of reps).

So let’s say an athlete warms up, and then squats his 1RM of 400 lbs.  How is this different than him squatting 300lbs for 5 reps?  The following terms attempt to allow for this distinction to be made.

Load-volume – This is basically work, with the distance component removed.  For example work might be (100kg * 2 meters * 15 reps), load volume is simply 100kg * 15 reps.

Repetition volume – A summation of all the reps completed.

So if you keep track of these statistics, you could quickly glean an idea of how intense a workout was.  How many reps were performed, roughly how much weight, etc.  How do you find the average weight moved?  Simply divide the load-volume by the repetition volume.

For example, an athlete completes the following:
Back Squat – 50×5, 75×5, 100×3, 100×3, 100×3, 100×3, 100×3
load-volume = 250 + 375 + 300 + 300 + 300 + 300 + 300 = 2125
rep-volume = 5 + 5 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 = 25

Average load lifted = load-volume / rep-volume = 2125 / 25 = 85

Estimating 1RM
Instead of testing a 1RM, you can estimate it by referring to a table.  A table is included in the NSCA book, or alternatively you can generate your own by entering in values here:

1RM Calculator


  1. This is so terrific. I just stumbled on to this as I was looking to increase my chances of passing my CSCS next week! Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Julie! Best of luck on the CSCS, let me know how it goes for you and email me if you have any concepts you have questions about and we can put it up on the blog.


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