When exercise is prescribed, if it is for either performance or health purposes, its given with different repetitions and details structures about how to do that task or exercise. The importance of resistance training is fundamental and the information is crucial to actually reach the exercise goals and most importantly its benefits. Here are 4 things you have to know to attain your goals when exercising.

1. Intensity matters

Physical exercise is a task or an activity deliberately planned, structured and repetitive that seeks to improve or maintain an adaptation contributing to enhance performance or health.
Physical exercise provides the building block for the fitness spectrum and Strength & Conditioning profile, which are ultimately applied to performance and functional capacity in a variety of scenarios as prevention, health and athletics.
However in order to fulfill physical exercise goals certain conditions prevail. Exercise is completely dependant to each individual condition, functional capacity, physiological response and tolerance to exercise. Therefore EXERCISE WILL ALWAYS BE INTENSITY DEPENDANT. Less intensity might no trigger what is mean to, leading the work toward another end meanwhile too much can lead the work toward another end, increase stress and injury risk.

Exercise intensity will condition the dynamic response of biological function and therefore the adaptations targeted. It is important to note that intensity in biological structures and systems does not respond to linear pathways. Intensity does apply to all fitness spectrum pillars ( Balance, Strength, Metabolism, Endurance and Recovery) as the exercise prescribed within every each one of them targets physiological and biological functions.

2. Reps vs RM

As seen, repetition is an inherent and fundamental factor in the exercise or training prescription.
Reps are reps. Its a quantitative repetition detail of the exercise or training prescription. On the other hand, RM or Maximal Repetitions stands for quantitative and qualitative repetitions providing the information of a detailed intensity framework adding or adapting the resistance to complete the number or reps targeted. This exercise or training prescription details prevail intensity thresholds, which is the most individual important marker to target the exercise outcome. RM aims to prevail the intensity as the final end whereas the means can be variable to maintain the final goal.

Reps are reps, but the demand needed to achieve whatever is set will be be different. Lets explain with an example, your physiological response will not be the same if you do 3x10reps of Air Squats Vs. 3x10RM Front squat. Mechanically the exercises are the same. the demand and stress are completely different as the workload to provide the muscle contraction needed to complete 3x10RM Front Squad is increased.

Does this mean that reps in scopes of the Balance, Strength, Metabolism, Endurance and Recovery are useless? ABSOLUTELY NO. But you should be aware of what intensity, whatever exercise it is you do, represent for you.

3. Timing

Timing is another qualitative feature that modulates exercise intensity and therefore the final demand.
Timing adds up information of how to do what you have to do. Timing in resistance training can involve  information about how long you do each exercise and/or how each rep will be timed during the execution of  each phase of movement. Its not the same doing 3x30sec, 3x30sec t414s than 3x10RM t414s Front Squats. For example, t414 will be an example of slow rep execution.

4. Rest

Rest is another qualitative feature that can modulate exercise intensity increasing or reducing the span of an in-set and in-session exercise bout demand. This feature is important to help to line up targeted goals having large impact on rest.

About the author:
Albert Piñol – MSc in Physical Activity and Sports Science, MSc in Exercise Physiology, MAT Certified, DHE Snowboard Coach, DE Mountain Guide and Mountain Bike Coach. Specialized in exercise physiology, hypoxia, neuromuscular system and motor skill development. IG: @albert_pinol