Applied Science Part 4: The Actualized Load, a God’s Eye View of Training
Updated: Apr 21
The central theme of this series is that science aims to expand the realm of creative possibility for human beings by enframing Nature or at least a part, thus giving us a greater understanding of and control over the enframed phenomena.
When the technoscientific process crosses the barrier from the purely theoretical into the applied realm, a technological development-scientific research-technological development feedback loop establishes itself, and entirely new forms of creativity and achievement emerge.
The new and improved technologies and scientific procedures allow observation of previously unseen "entities" or values, or they even create them. When a new entity emerges, which is critical for a whole field of endeavor, a new area of science establishes itself.
At StratFit, our mission is to create an applied science for physical training. In part three, I defined the crucial new entity for the task as The Internal Training Load.
We looked at his development of the INOL (Intensity Number Of Lifts) score and how this was what we could more accurately call the "Abstract Internal Training Load" of a training unit (set, exercise, session, day, microcycle…).
I pointed out the only flaw within the INOL concept and provided the solution: The Prilepin Minuend.
By the end of the third installment, a fully comprehensive concept for the Abstract Internal Training Load was in place. In this part of the series, we will look at taking the Load from the purely abstract to the Actual plane. By the conclusion of this work, we will have a complete Actual Internal Training Load concept; past that point, it will be simply and accurately called The LOAD.
Stress-Time-Change, The Essence of Being "Actual"
In part 3, I detailed how creating a new system of science requires one to throw a grid over the particular phenomena of interest as the primordial titan Atlas did over our entire terrestrial plane. I accomplished this Atlantean procedure in the abstract by expanding on the work of Prilepin and Hristrov.
The elucidation of the Abstract Internal Training Load was undoubtedly a monumental step in our mission of creating an applied science of physical training. However, we are primarily interested in physical training. Physical reality is not abstract; it is actual and substantial. The essential purpose of training is to cause adaptation(s) to our organism's substance, with an eye to improved health and performance. Therefore our next step is to actualize the abstract internal training load. We must concretize the abstract idea to make the Loading concept a comprehensive scientific principle capable of fully enframing the vast complexity of the training process.
What is Affected is what is Substantial
The first step in actualizing an idea is defining what we precisely mean by actual. Concerning physical training, I propose the idea that for something to be actual, it must be capable of act-ion and must be capable of adaptation from the actions of other physical phenomena on it.
As far back as classical antiquity, Plato categorized our physical world as the "world of substances." Everywhere around us in our substantial world, we see that even the most seemingly eternal structures of Nature and artifice undergo some change if viewed through a large enough window of time.
Over a vast amount of time, rivers, oceans, mountain ranges, the Great Pyramids, and entire city structures are all affected by geological phenomena; they are substantial. Looking around us, we notice that everything we can discern with our five senses is subject to change on a greater or lesser time scale and according to a greater or lesser amount of applied stress.
In part three, I defined the two fundamental elements of stress: intensity and amount. The change something even as seemingly permanent as a mountain undergoes is determined by the intensity and amount of geological phenomena that "happen" to it. Even the entire Earth is subject to adaptation across eons of vast cosmological change. So, everything actual is affected by stress.
I already established that Load is simply a more training-specific term for "stress." So, to make the loading concept completely applicable to substantial things and actualize it, we must add more precision in calculating stress.
The Spatial-Form Stress Factor, Re-enter Kronos
As mentioned earlier, in defining the Load in the abstract, I channeled Atlas in throwing a grid over the training-induced stress in the abstract. The two factors of intensity and amount are sufficient for defining the Load in the abstract when not referring to any particular exercise. To increase precision, we will turn again to the forefather of Weightlifting and Powerlifting Kratos and his technological gift to humanity: the Olympic Barbell.
Prilepin's optimal number of reps for a set with 90% intensity for both the bench press and the Powerlifting Squat is two, which comes to an abstract internal load of 0.2. The abstract load value is sufficient for prescribing the variables of a single exercise, but when we look at an entire session, day, microcycle, and beyond, we must consider that the bench press and squat stresses are not equal. The force of the barbell and the total work done in each performance would differ significantly. The actual Load from the squat is much higher.
To determine the difference in loading between exercises, I propose the Spatial Form Stress Factor concept. The fundamental variable that distinguishes different exercises is their various "spatial forms": how the movement looks in space. A spatial form has certain ranges of motion that the various joints of the body articulate through (dynamic exercise) in relation to gravity or particular position(s) the body moves to and from (dynamic) or holds (static exercise), and particular placement of the external apparatus (Barbell, Dumbbells, Kettlebells, etc.) on the body (in the hands, on the back of the shoulders, front of the shoulders, etc.) "Spatial Form" is a more precise term for an "exercise" for our purpose.
The barbell is the most efficient tool for loading the human biomechanical system with force. Calculation of barbell exercise metrics is more precise than other implements, and maintenance in world record keeping is more rigorous. For these reasons, I used the competitive spatial forms of Weightlifting and Powerlifting as the foundations for developing the Spatial Form Stress Factor Concept.
Super-Heavyweight Class: The Sons of Kratos
Lasha Talakhadze, the Super-Heavyweight world record holder in the Snatch and Clean & Jerk
The major competitive spatial forms of competitive lifting are:
The Clean & Jerk
The Clean & Press (Historical, eliminated from international competition in 1972)
The Powerlifting Squat
The Bench Press
The Strict Curl
For decades, extensive international records have been kept for all weight classes for these events. To increase the scope of our concept, I also included the Bent Over Row in the white paper. The BOR is a fundamental mass-building tool for Bodybuilders, and Weightlifters, Powerlifters, and Strongman competitors use it extensively as an assistance move.
These lifts became the events of competitive Weightlifting and Powerlifting for a fundamental reason. They are the most fully spectral manifestation of Kratos in our "substantial/actual" realm in terms of athletic performance. The movements of competitive Weightlifting represent Maximum human physiological power, and the movements of Powerlifting represent maximum human physiological force.
To compare the stress of these exercises 1-to-1, we have to find performances of them that are equivalent in terms of the level of performance. For this purpose, I looked to the most direct descendants of Kratos, the world record holders for each lift (raw) in the superheavyweight class. The SHW world record for each lift is the heaviest weight ever lifted by a human being for each spatial form in recorded history. These performances represent the pinnacle of human strength and can all be considered equivalent in terms of performance level. These records represent the personal record "PR" of the whole of historical humanity, a global-level manifestation of Kratos in action. The progression of world records in the super heavyweight class represents the tip of our evolutionary spear as technoscientific species in terms of pure strength and power.
The Deadlift (Conventional or Sumo) is the movement in which a human being produces the maximum force they are capable of. Benedikt Magnússon's 460 KG Deadlift is the maximum force a member has of our species has ever produced (raw, no straps). Magnusson is the most physiologically forceful human being who has ever walked our terrestrial plane.
Lasha Talakhadze's 267 KG Clean & Jerk World Record is the heaviest weight any human being has ever lifted from the floor and fixed overhead. Talakhadze's 225 KG Snatch is the heaviest weight any member of our species has ever raised from the floor and fixed overhead in one movement. His Power Snatch in training (records of the power version aren't kept) is the most power a human being has ever produced. He is the most physiologically powerful human being who has ever lived.
Julius Maddox's 355 Kg Bench Press is the most force ever produced by a human being's upper body alone.
Eight-time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman's Bent Over Row 225 KG 8 rep maximum (which I estimated a theoretical 285 KG 1RM from) is an example of the pinnacle of human high-intensity muscular endurance.
All of the major lifts show us something important about how we manifest force and power as human beings.
Understanding how these foundational movements relate to each other and to Prilepin's chart at the very pinnacle of human strength is very elucidative for how force and power affect us all regardless of our own particular performance levels.
The Spatial Form Stress Factor
When looking at the foundational lifts, I determined that three physical quantities primarily determine the stress of each and hence, all physical movements.
The Total Work done in the "rep."
The product of the Total Force and the time the lifter supported it during the rep, which I labeled "Time Under Tension" for simplicity.
The maximum Power produced in the rep
I determined these quantities for the superheavyweight world record for all the above events. I included the concentric and eccentric phases and any bodyweight the lifter had to overcome in addition to the barbell. The full details of this process are in the white paper.
By summing these quantities, we get a comprehensive stress-related value that considers the most stressful quantity for each lift (i.e., Work for Powerlifting Squat, TUT for Strict Curl, Watts for Snatch…). The value reflects the relativity between the lifts concerning the actual internal Load imposed on the human neurological-biological system.
The next step was to relate this value to Prilepin's chart and our Abstract Internal Training Load concept. Since Prilepin's chart came from an extensive study of elite-level Weightlifting (the sport which consists of the competitive lifts of the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk), I took the average of the physics quantity sums of the Snatch and the Clean to be a Stress Factor equivalent to 1. I then divided the quantity sums of the other foundational spatial forms by this Snatch-Clean value to return a quotient that is the Stress Factor of each. The results are in the following table.
*Records as of 2018, some have been broken since
I formulated the Stress Factor concept in 2018, so the super heavyweight world records in the white paper were current for that moment in time. Some of the records have been broken since, but that doesn't fundamentally change anything. I envision our StratFit Digital system becoming an Artificial Intelligence within our servers that updates the Spatial Form Stress Factors at the exact moments when records are broken in the SHW class. In this way, our system of science will evolve organically as our species evolves on Earth (and beyond?). Our technoscientific supersystem will be a living intelligence.
The Load is Actualized
To actualize the Load of a training or competitive action (a particular spatial form performed with a certain intensity and certain amount of reps), we multiply the Abstract Internal Load by the Spatial Form Stress Factor to arrive at the Actual Internal Training Load; or simply, The LOAD.
With this calculation protocol, it is now possible to determine the Load of training and competition units that coaches, trainers, and lifters from Weightlifting, Powerlifting, Bodybuilding, and Strongman have performed for decades. For example, let's look at the Load of the Snatch in competition. The platform attempt intensities are 94%, 97%, and 99% (considered 100% in our system), with the third attempt being the lifter's new 1RM. This is a typical intensity sequence for competitive attempts in both Weightlifting and Powerlifting meets. I designed the warmup for the example based on the first competitive attempt (94%). The warmup is a standard format for Weightlifting. After calculating the Abstract Load for all the warmup sets and the competitive attempts, I multiplied the total Abstract Load (1.97) for the activity by the Snatch Spatial Form Stress Factor (0.96). I arrived at the Actual Load for the Snatch activity in competition: 1.89. The results are in the following table.
I went through the same process for all the competitive activities of Weightlifting and Powerlifting and for whole meets, including the historical Weightlifting meet (pre-1972), which included the Clean & Press in addition to the modern format of the Snatch and Clean & Jerk, and including a whole Powerlifting meet including the Strict Curl (Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift, Strict Curl). The results are in the table below.
When experienced coaches and athletes contemplate these competitive activities, or whole meets, training sets of particular spatial form with a certain intensity and number of reps, or full workouts with specific parameters, they already have very integrated qualitative conceptualizations that come to mind based on their own previous performances of them and intuitive knowledge that that has been based down through the decades in the field. With the Load idea, they will now have precise numerical values they can mentally attach to these conceptualizations. For training, we have reached the whole purpose of science as Heidegger defined it; we have fully enframed the phenomena of the cyclic training-competition process and given coaches and athletes a clearer filter to view it through. The StratFit Actual Load equation system is the Atlantean gridwork thrown over the entire phenomenal world of physical performance.
The revolutionary enframed-filtered view allows for the first time a god's eye topographical view of the stress of a training-competition program across any amount of time. A coach can now organize training stress from the highest possible conceptual vantage point, organizing the ebbs and flows of loading across long-term training cycles according to an exact competitive calendar. Strength & Conditioning coaches can now take over the position of Zeus atop Mt. Olympus like the in the first image of this article, looking down on the whole terrestrial plane, represented by the athlete's career.
Of course, developing specific physiological qualities at certain times will require the coach to zero in on each session's particular spatial forms and intensities. Still, the concept changes the fundamental design orientation of a coach/trainer to an athlete/client's training program or even their whole career. Rather than starting from the bottom up and building performance peaks across time according to exact date-sensitive goals, the coach can now start from the top and design a loading topology that ensures performance peaks at every critical moment. Rather than starting at the foot of Mt. Olympus and grasping for holds, the coach can start from the top and reverse engineer from the peak back down to where the athlete currently is. After designing the high-level loading topography of the program/career, the designer will dive into the details, placing specific spatial forms and intensities in the right places, which will debit out of the already determined loads. Once the training process starts, the coach and athlete can now climb to the top with a detailed map of the terrain.
The Load is the new fundamental "entity"/value upon which we will build the new StratFit system of applied science. The Load is THE value required for most other subsequent training variable calculations. The Load value allows for the first time the numerical determination and application of many deep training concepts that have remained trapped in the merely theoretical realm. A new fully applied science is emerging; stay tuned; it only gets more interesting from here.