A personal trainer sent me an email a few months ago asking for clarification on accumulation and intensification, and how they relate to general physical preparation and specific physical preparation. For those without a significant strength training background, these are terms used within periodization of training. Periodization in personal training is the pre-planning model used to turn clients’ goals into a workable plan.
Accumulation and Intensification are relative terms that describe alternate, inversely correlated goals in personal training – volume and intensity. As a general rule, when one personal training component increases, the other must decrease. This particular concept may be applied by itself to create a simplistic periodization system, or serve as part of a more advanced model of periodization.
Whatever the system of exercise used, periods of higher volume alternated with periods of greater intensity work is valuable, because it ensures that the central nervous system does not become stale from performing the same intensity effort all of the time. When correctly applied, the accumulation / intensification system prevents overtraining of the individual strength qualities, as greater volumes give way to lower intensities, and vice versa.
The average number of repetitions that you perform per set, or your relative intensity, is the first loading parameter that your body adapts to. Without a change in strength training stimulus, staleness is the inevitable result.
Page 2 lays the foundation for understanding the difference between general and specific preparation.
Page 1 of 3