Balancing Intensity and Volume: A Safe Approach to Body Training

Gorgeous late spring view from the Lakes Park running, walking & biking trail - June 2024. Photo Courtesy of Charly Caldwell II.

It is in everyone’s best interests to prevent injuries.

The more we can stay injury free, the greater our opportunity for consistent, uninterrupted training and consistency breeds better results.

Injuries are impossible to predict. It’s also impossible to know when an injury has been prevented (after all, it never happened).

There are many things we can do, however, to significantly reduce our injury risk.

One of the most effective, and arguably simplest, things we can do is to monitor our training volumes and intensities.

There has been a clear trend in recent years towards higher intensities of class-based exercise for everyday exercisers, and that’s not a bad thing.

When people train on their own, research shows they usually select exercise intensities that are too low to elicit the training response they want.

With fitness professionals pushing them safely to train harder, their exercise outcomes can be improved.

There are, however, two exceptions to the ‘harder is better’ approach that we need to understand.

First, we get different training adaptations from different intensities.

We need to select the right intensity to get the job done.

Second, we need to choose the right volume.

As a rule, higher intensity means shorter, less frequent sessions.

High volumes of hard training increase our injury risk, while short, easy sessions mean we don’t elicit the same training effect.

A lot of the research into training load has taken place in the arena of professional sport.

For the past 2 years, researchers have been tracking the training loads of soccer players from the Premier League in England. They have tracked the training loads for every player, for every session, for the entire season.

What they found was consistent with the research that has been reported for the last 10 years or so from the field of professional sport.

Players who trained less, got hurt more. If we don’t train enough, we aren’t fit or strong enough to handle the rigors of our chosen sport, activity, or hard session, and we risk injury.

The same holds true for us.

However, if we train too much, we risk getting injured too.

We might not even make it to the game, or the fun run, or whatever event we are training for, because we get hurt along the way.

There is, however, a middle ground. By tracking our individual training weeks and training loads, we can use this information to build weekly loads over time, so we can tolerate more and be safer.

How do we build training load?

Slowly and steadily.

When you haven’t trained for a while, the highest risk is early in your training routine.

I even see trainers make this mistake in their own training. Always aim for slower, steady increases, rather than a big jump.

Angie Ferguson is an exercise physiologist and Tony Robbins Results Coach from Fort Myers. She also is a Corrective Biomechanics Specialist, USA Triathlon Advanced Level 2 coach, USA Cycling coach, has a Specialty in Sports Nutrition certification, and a PhD in results!

Contact her, or find out more about her monthly online program, at:!



50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.