The Benefits of More Resistance in Tier 2

Coaching, one of the most common questions I field has got to be a variety of the phase, “What weight should I use?” To narrow it down, these high intensity circuits are typically 15 minutes or less, with 3-4 movements (density circuits). Let’s set some more parameters for sake of this discussion. I am not talking about our benchmark workouts, I’m talking about our middle of the board conditioning circuits, and this is only after you have established a baseline in technique and movement. This will also vary by individual goals and need. If 1 is the easiest workout and 10 is the hardest ever, a good intensity in these would be a 7-8. Tired, but not flattened.

Okay, back to the subject. What are the benefits and how does it work? There are many rep ranges in which we can work for these, and if you are still starting out, going heavier like I will suggest is not for you. I like to go a bit more challenging when the barbell is included. I like work at 60%-70% of 1RM, so my intensity increases by creating more resistance. In these circuits, we get an opportunity to attack volume (reps) and move load with speed. Over time/reps, fatigue becomes a factor and our pure strength begins to break down. This is what we’re all working toward slowing down and for that to even take place, we need to increase load to force adaptation. Simplified, these circuits are an opportunity to build muscle, increase power and speed.

So, when we begin to lose pure strength, and we’re unable to ‘muscle it’ that learned technique, coached movement patterns must take over, but if the load you are using is too light, this will never take place. This controlled experiment (training) never happens because your body has no need to adapt and we are no better than when we started. Again, from a muscle, power and speed perspective. To tie in how this applies to us again. We are granted an opportunity to train our bodies to be more efficient and stronger during these circuits. We get more chances to further develop strength, aerobic capacity and improve our speed and power. We are building a better version of ourselves.

To recap, the benefits of slightly upping your percentage:

  • Muscle Adaptation
  • Power and Speed Development
  • Improve Movement Patterns
  • Aerobic Capacity

Resistance is the key to driving adaptation, once you can move correctly. I encourage using these types of circuits as another chance to drive adaptation, aka get better at your movement patterns by challenging with resistance. But keep in mind, if your form/positioning is breaking down, you need to reduce the load. This is not an invitation for absolutely everyone to add more weight.

So Bill, select a weight that will require you to maintain effort through the entire movement, not just the start of momentum. You will notice a difference.

Thanks for the opportunity to answer this with a little more substance behind it.

-Dusty Teves