Calculating the Intensity of your Strength Sessions

INOL = Intensity X Number of Lifts

Reps / (100 – Intensity)

Intensity = Weight lifted as a percentage of your one rep max i.e. 75%

This is a simple formula that allows us to measure intensity across sets of different rep ranges.

It’s key to understand that the body is not just a machine that we can type the right numbers into and achieve optimal results… You will have good and bad days for different reasons.

However, if we can quantify our training and analyse it over time (months), we can really start to paint a picture as to how we can design the most effective programme. It’s never going to be perfect on every day of the week, there is no such thing as “the one programme to rule them all” … But we can aspire to it!


Back Squat – 1RM = 140kg

5×5 @80% = 25 reps of 112kg

25 / (100 – 80) = 1.25 (INOL)

Optimal INOL values per exercise for a single workout:

<0.4 = Too easy

<0.6 – 1.0 = Optimal range for most athletes

1.0 – 2.0 = Tough workout

>2.0 = Very tough, could lead to overtraining if performed regularly

We can use this basic formula alongside dynamic assessments of how you feel day to day and week to week to help design a programme that allows for progression, without leaving you burnt out… What INOL works for you!

It’s not perfect… But it’s a tool we can use… As a Strength & Conditioning coach, you want a big tool box.

By |2019-02-06T14:49:47+00:00July 26th, 2017|Categories: Articles|Comments Off on Calculating the Intensity of your Strength Sessions
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