Using percentages to determine load or training intensity

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This is a brief look at using percentages to determine load or training intensity since I am very surprised that lot of coaches don’t have a good grasp of this topic as it is one of the fundamental skills of any trainer or coach.


Like any method, there are pluses and minuses for using this method and here are some reasons why using percentage of maximum is good:

  • it is well researched
  • thousands of champion athletes train this way
  • it’s an opportunity to have very precise loading
  • controls the athlete
  • can easily apply to multiple individuals of different abilities
  • easy to make long term plans and/or reuse templates with precision


Watch full video:


When planing program, have in mind few weaknesses of using percents:

  • abilities on a given day can vary
  • abilities between individual can vary
  • beginners improve quickly
  • can be time consuming if you plan without using programs like Mogy
  • not as accurate for complex lifts


There are many of charts about approximate rep abilities at given percentage of load intensity, and here is one of my examples:

  • 75% = 10 Reps
  • 80% = 8 Reps
  • 85% = 5 reps
  • 90% = 3 Reps
  • 95% = 1-2 Reps

Just keep in mind that there is variation between individuals.


Your responsibility as a trainer or coach is to be responsible and knowledgeable enough to know how to adjust percentages to keep them realistic as you go through the workout. Often you don’t want an athlete to put maximum effort in every single set, sometimes athlete has a very good day and sometimes he has a bad one. If making long term plans or next part of program based on those numbers you are going to run on some problems.


When making long term plan, adapting is one of the most important things. If you have a program that is made mostly of percentages and everything is predicted it is very tempting to just tell the athlete to be a machine and get through it, but that does not always work. Good coach knows that when things are getting of tracks it’s time to reset.


Next time I will show you how I use Mogy to use percentages in creating short and long term programs.