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Figuring Out the Average Relative Intensity

Published: 2023-09-27
Figuring Out the Average Relative Intensity
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In my previous article, I alluded to the importance of the average relative intensity to keep track of the intensity of a training program.  Here, I’ll show how it’s calculated.  I’m doing the calculations for a single week, but in order to derive the most value, the ARI should be calculated for an entire macrocycle. 

I’m using a typical deload week for an intermediate training program during a preparation mesocycle.  While the volume (total number of repetitions) is low, the ARI is reasonable.  This ARI will strike a balance between strength development and speed training.  Both components should improve.




Preparation Cycle









If the number of repetitions at 60% for Monday is counted, the result of 9 is the figure that is represented in the table in the 60% row for Day 1.  The totals column represents the total repetitions in each intensity zone.  The Total*% column represents the product of multiplying the total reps times the percentage represented as an integer.  So 38 reps x 60 yields a product of 2280. 


The total number of repetitions in the 6 intensity zones is 246, and the total products of repetitions x relative intensities is 18460.

When 18460 is divided by 246, the average relative intensity is 75.04. 

If this calculation rises significantly, the number of repetitions at high intensities will improve strength, but the speed of the bar will probably diminish.  A lower ARI will lead to speed improvements but less strength development.  The job of both the coach and the athlete is to improve both qualities so that the results of the total will improve. 

Elite-level athletes have an ARI of approximately 77. 


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