What is Training Intensity?

In relation to strength training, intensity refers to the percentage of 1RM. In generic fitness gyms and workouts, intensity is usually thought of as how intense the workout felt. The latter is perceived effort and varies from person to person. How a beginner perceives the intensity of a workout might not be the same as a seasoned athlete will perceive it.

When you’re training toward goals like strength, hypertrophy, power, or cardio you will need to know your 1RM so that you can train with the right weights. If you don’t know your 1RM, you can calculate it online here.


Intensity (% RM) 40% and 60% 1RM.


Maximal Strength Intensity (% RM) <80% 1RM.

Explosive Strength Intensity (% RM) 60-70% 1RM.

Strength-Hypertrophy Intensity (% RM) 70-80% 1RM.


Intensity (% RM) 75-85% 1RM.

Intensity (% RM) 80 – 90% for single effort.


Intensity (% RM) 70 – 85% 1RM.

In High-Intensity Interval Training the term intensity does refer to the perceived effort, and the idea is to design a workout/interval that requires a lot of effort and raises the heart rate to a certain level.

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