European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 112, Issue 12, pp 4183–4185 | Cite as

Attempting to better define “intensity” for muscular performance: is it all wasted effort?

  • J. FisherEmail author
  • D. Smith
Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

We read with interest the recent publication “Muscle activations under varying lifting speeds and intensities during bench press” (Sakamoto and Sinclair 2012). In the title and throughout this paper, the term intensity is used. We suggest that this usage is inaccurate, both here and more widely, with reference to the percentage of one repetition maximum (%1RM), e.g. the higher the %1RM, the higher the intensity (Sakamoto and Sinclair 2012). However, %1RM is simply a reference to load. Authors have attempted to justify this use (e.g. Fry 2004; Willardson and Burkett 2008) by pointing out that intensity is a common term for %1RM. A major problem with this argument is the inability of this term to accommodate effort, load, repetitions, inter-individual genetic influences such as muscle fiber type and repetition duration. This letter intends to address these issues and more accurately define potentially confusing terminology.


Within the area of cardiovascular or aerobic...


Muscle Fiber Type Bench Press Motor Unit Recruitment Term Intensity Relative Load 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Conflict of interest

The authors are not aware of any conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health, Exercise and Sport ScienceSouthampton Solent UniversitySouthamptonUK
  2. 2.Manchester Metropolitan UniversityCreweUK

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