Looking to push it further this month? TPW Writer and Personal Trainer Ian Graham (@theabscoach) explains the importance of the P.R.I.C.E principles during a training session.

Let’s leave exercise selection, programme design, and sets and reps aside for a moment. Such elements are of course very important, but if you don’t apply the below 5 ingredients into each training session, you’ll find your progress stalling.

stands for Posture/Positioning. Here I’m talking about your overall set up, positioning and postural integrity as you go through each rep on any given set and exercise. Postural integrity is key here. I see so many people set up really well for a lift, and then when they go to start or initiate the lift/exercise everything crumbles.  Remember that breathing and creating tension is vital on all lifts, especially the big compound lifts.

Technique (form) can break down for several reasons; some of those reasons are 1. Load, 2. Speed, 3. Fatigue, 4. Lack of concentration or focus.

R stands for Rest Intervals. Rest intervals need to be monitored (timed) in order to assure you are sufficiently recovered before the commencement of the next set, or to ensure the desired training effect is achieved by adhering to strict or shortened rest intervals.

The theme or purpose of the individual training session will dictate the duration of your rest intervals. As a basic or general guideline, you’ll need longer rest intervals if performing more strength or power based training, and less rest of shorter rest intervals if performing pump work/pump circuits, or conditioning work.

I stands for Intent and Intensity. What’s the intent or objective of that days training session (workout)? Does the construction of the session plan, and the rest intervals, align with the intent of the session?

Training intensity is also of extreme importance, but don’t confuse training intensity with how taxing or fatiguing the overall training session is.

Remember… even a low intensity training session can be taxing or fatiguing based upon the manipulation of various training components, such as the number of reps/sets, exercises used, exercise order, rest intervals, set structure (tri-sets, giant sets), etc.

Performing drop sets (load decreasing) or high repetition sets using lighter loads doesn’t increase training intensity. These are valid training methods/strategies to use, but understand their function and role in your programme.

C stands for Concentration. This is arguably the area in which most people mess up on. They lack focus and or are easily distracted by what’s going on around them.  You need to be focused on the task at hand. Focused on each rep of each set, and not just for one exercise, but for all exercises of every session you perform.

E stands for Effort. You need to put forth the appropriate level of effort. Laziness won’t cut it. You will get more out of your training the more appropriate the effort you put in is. Just keep in mind that the effort has to be appropriate and relative to you. Don’t let your ego take over when it comes to effort and training intensity.

Note: Two guys or girls doing the same session, and using the same loads are utilizing the same intensity (load dependent), but if one is substantially stronger than the other, the relative effort will vary greatly between the two.

Therefore one guy or girl shall need to put forth more effort in order to overcome/move those loads. This will make their overall workload (training session) more taxing… assuming that both have similar strength to strength endurance capabilities.

Here’s an example for you… believe it or not my speed to speed endurance capabilities are just as good as 100m/200m world record holder Usain Bolt’s. My basic speed is just extremely poor in comparison.

Bolts personal best times are 9.58 seconds and 19.19 seconds. My personal bests (very average) are 11.35 seconds and 22.80 seconds.

Divide 19.19 by 9.58 and you get 2.0031

Divide 22.80 by 11.35 and you get 2.0088

Almost identical numbers… which means my speed endurance relative to my speed capabilities are just as good as Bolts… i.e. if I had his raw speed capabilities, I could develop similar speed endurance capabilities.

Now if Bolt and I were to do a training session together, and let’s say that training session was 10x100m @ 13.00 second pace, with a walk back recovery… we would both be covering the 100m in the same time, utilizing the same intensity so to speak, but I would find that session much more taxing/fatiguing than Bolt would because of his superior speed capabilities. Bolt would find that session effortless, while I would have to put forth more effort to work at the same intensity as him.

Effort is relative, intensity is not. If you wanted us to both work within the same effort range, I would need to perform those 100m runs almost 2.5 seconds slower per rep (15.50 seconds versus 13.00 seconds).

Written by Ian Graham, Certified Personal Trainer (@theabscoach).

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