Before we get into it there are a few concepts that need to be introduced:
- appropriate intensity
- progress tracking
- testing vs. building
exercises should be done at an intensity which is appropriate to its intended purpose. Building strength tends to work best at intensities of 75% and above (75% of the hypothetical maximum weight or difficulty). Muscle building works well in a wide variety of intensities but for efficient muscle building, intensity is typically set to around 60-75%. Speed work or skill work tends to be around 50-60%.
some days are good days and some days are simply bad days. Auto-regulation means having the flexibility to adjust work sets and reps according to performance on the day of the workout.
tracking progress is important in order to know how much strength has progressed over a certain amount of time. This numerical information is useful when it comes to adjusting workouts to ensure continued progress or to troubleshoot plateaus.
Testing vs. Building
building strength means doing the required amount of work at an appropriate intensity. Testing strength means doing an all out test of maximum reps or weight. Many people make the mistake of testing strength all the time instead of building it. This often leads to injury or burnouts and is generally unsustainable. However, for psychological reasons as well as for workout programming reasons, it can be a good idea to periodically test strength in a particular movement to ensure that things are going in the right direction.
The baseline assessment is there to set the appropriate intensity level for the workouts and to set up future sets and reps.
The plus sets allow athletes/the app to test strength and to track progress.
The open ended nature of the baseline and plus sets allow for auto-regulation for both that workout and future workouts.
You can read more about program structure here
BASELINE TESTING FOR STRENGTH & ENDURANCE
Testing strength requires heavy loads (or intensities or difficulties), done for a relatively short amount of time or for fewer repetitions so as to make it more of a pure strength test, challenging the muscular and nervous systems. On the other hand, testing endurance requires relatively light loads but held or done for a long time or for more repetitions, taxing muscular endurance, cardiovascular fitness and plain willpower.
Done this way, strength testing may have some to very little impact on a later endurance test. However, if we flip the order and do endurance first, it is very likely that the following strength test will be significantly affected.
Generally, a good order of training the various aspects of fitness (in order to maximise the effectiveness of each aspect and to reduce negatively impacting other aspects) is:
- anything skill or technique based or anything requiring explosive power
- strength work
- muscle work
It is in this same order that the workouts are organised and it is in this same order that the assessment is organised.