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Prilepin's Chart, INOL and Training Loading: A Perfected System



A Man performing clean & jerk.

Organizing weight training effectively around the principle of progressive overload is critical for optimizing performance and minimizing injury risks. The StratFit system builds on foundational principles established by Alexander Sergeyevitch Prilepin and further refined by Hristo Hristov, offering a precise approach to weight training Load management.


Prilepin’s Chart and Hristov’s Intensity Number of Lifts (INOL) score are central to this system, providing athletes and coaches with the tools necessary to balance training intensity and volume for maximum benefit.


A unique, rigorously logical system for calculating training Loading is the foundation of our revolutionary training organization and implementation software, StratFit Digital. This article defines the first layer of that system.


Prilepin’s Chart: A Foundation for Weight Training


The foundational intellectual tool for organizing weight training is Prilepin’s Chart.


Alexander Sergeyevitch Prilepin, a Russian coach and scientist, optimized the long-term training of elite weightlifters in the former USSR from 1975 to 1985.


To create his chart, Prilepin analyzed decades of training logs and competition results of highly qualified European weightlifters.


He compared training intensities and volumes with competition outcomes, building a chart that defined the minimal, optimal, and maximal reps for a single set and entire workouts for various exercises (e.g., Snatch, Clean, Olympic Squat). The table is below.


Intensity

Reps Per Set

Optimal Total Reps

Range of Reps

55% - 65%

3 to 6

24

18 to 30

70% - 80%

3 to 6

18

12 to 24

80% - 90%

2 to 4

15

10 to 20

90%

1 to 2

7

4 to 10


The chart aimed to ensure each session promoted adaptation while allowing for consistent daily training. Initially designed for weightlifting, Prilepin’s chart was soon adopted by powerlifters and athletes using barbell programs for strength, power, and muscle mass.


As discussed in a previous article, the intensity and amount of training are the key Loading variables. Prilepin’s chart significantly advanced the prescription and regulation of training Loads.


INOL: A Singular Value for Weightlifting Organization


The next step in applying Prilepin’s chart was synthesizing intensity and rep values into a singular metric.


Hristo Hristov developed the Intensity Number of Lifts (INOL) score to use Prilepin’s principles with greater precision.


Hristov noted that Prilepin’s upper limit number of lifts (NOL,“Range of Total Reps” in the table), and corresponding intensity often summed to around 100, especially at higher intensities. 


Intensity

Number Of Lifts

Intensity + NOL

60

30

90

70

24

94

80

20

100

90

10

100

 *Prilepin Number of Lifts Score (right-hand column)


This observation led to the INOL equation:


INOL= Reps / (100 - Intensity)


Intensity is based on a tested or estimated 1 rep maximum (1RM) strength level for a specific exercise. Let's look at 10 reps at 70% of 1RM:


Step 1

100 - 70(%) = 30


Step 2

10 / 30 = 0.33


The INOL value for this exercise is .28


Now the same process with 6 reps at 80% of 1RM:

Step 1

100 – 80(%) = 20


Step 2

6 / 20 = 0.3


The INOL value for this exercise is 0.3


Finally, 3 reps at 90% of 1RM:

Step 1

100 – 90(%) = 10


Step 2

3 / 10 = 0.3


100 – 90% = 10 3 / 10 = 0.3 INOL


The INOL value for this exercise is also 0.3 


Guidelines for INOL Values


Below are some guidelines for single workout and weekly total INOL values based on Hristov's recommendations:


Daily Single Exercise INOL Guidelines:

INOL Score

Routine Guidelines

< 0.4

Very easy, too few reps or sets, not stimulating

0.4 - 1.0

Optimal if you are not trying to accumulate fatigue

1.0 - 2.0

Tough but good for overall loading phases

> 2

Pretty brutal, very limited use

Weekly Single Exercise INOL Guidelines:

INOL Score

Weekly Guidelines for an Exercise or Muscle Group

< 2

Easy, good after hard weeks or competition

2.0 - 3.0

Difficult but good for overall training phases

3.0 - 4.0

Very hard, lots of fatigue, good for shock cycles

> 4

Only for the very advanced


Taking INOL a Step Further


Using the INOL, it is possible to determine Prilepin's optimal number of total reps for a whole exercise and in individual sets in a single workout with any given intensity. Applying the INOL score equation to Prilepin's table, we find that an INOL score of 0.8 is optimal for a whole exercise, and 0.2 is optimal for a single set. The results are in the third table below.


Prilepin did not prescribe more than six reps per set for any intensity due to the highly technical nature of competitive weightlifting lifts. I will expand the reps per set here to make it more relevant for powerlifting, bodybuilding, and CrossFit.



Prilepin's Chart, INOL and Training Loading- Increased Precision


There is only one problem with the INOL score equation. The maximum Intensity + the number of lifts (NOL) for intensities below 80% is not exactly 100. In the table below, we see that the intensity + Prilepin’s upper NOLs for 70% is 94, and for 55% it is 85. The INOL score equation will return increasingly approximate loads as the intensity decreases. For this reason, the minuend (the number another number is subtracted from) in the denominator (the number another number is divided by) of the INOL equation must increase as intensity decreases.


Here is where we perfected this system at StratFit.


I noticed that the most precisely correlating values in Prilepin’s table are the high-end NOLs for a given range and the low-end intensity for that range. By determining the percentage 100 is over these high-end NOLs+low-end Intensities, we determine the percentage the minuend should be increased in the INOL equation for these intensities.


We then increase Hristov’s static Minuend (100) by the appropriate percentage to return the most accurate value. The accurate minuends to to reflect Prilpin's logic are in the table below.



High End NOL for Range

I + NOL

% 100 over I + NOL

Accurate Minuend

90

10

100

0%

100

70

24

94

6.38%

106.38

55

30

85

17.65%

117.65


This precise minuend for every intensity should be known as the Prilepin Minuend. At StratFIt we use a special equation to return the correct minuend for every intensity.


The addition of the Prilepin Minuend to the INOL equation transforms the value into a precise abstract internal load value. We can now calculate the load of training sets, activities, sessions, days, microcycles, mesocycles, periods, and even training years. Completely accurate optimal abstract internal loads and the corresponding reps and sets for the same intensities as displayed in the table below.


We should still use Prilepin’s prescriptions for the number of reps per set for weightlifting exercises (snatch, clean, jerk, and their variations), but this updated total number of reps is a more precise quantity according to the underlying principles of his table. For powerlifting and bodybuilding training and hypertrophy exercises for weightlifting (squats, presses, rows), the reps per set in the table above are accurate.

 

We can round the number of sets for convenience, but it is best to do the prescribed number of sets with the optimal reps per set, then do one set with fewer reps to complete the total optimal number. For instance, an optimal whole Squat exercise with 60% intensity would look like this: 


Intensity: 60

Total Reps: 43

Optimal Reps Per set: 11

Sets: 3.9

Set 1: 11 Reps

Set 2: 11 Reps

Set 3: 11 Reps

Set 4: 10 Reps


A comparison between the original optimal reps and sets from the INOL score concept and the updated abstract internal loading concept is in the table below. Experienced lifters (weightlifters, powerlifters, bodybuilders, CrossFitters) and coaches will testify that the updated idea has the most utility for optimizing training loads.


Intensity

Optimal Total INOL Score

Optimal Total Reps

Updated Total Reps

Optimal Set INOL Score

Original Reps Per Set

Updated Reps Per Set

Original Sets

Updated Sets

60

0.8

32

43

0.2

8

11

4

3.9

65

0.8

28

36

0.2

7

9

4

4

70

0.8

24

30

0.2

6

7

4

4.3

75

0.8

20

24

0.2

5

6

4

4

80

0.8

16

18

0.2

4

5

4

3.6

85

0.8

12

13

0.2

3

3

4

4.3

90

0.8

8

8

0.2

2

2

4

4

95

0.8

4

4

0.2

1

1

4

4



Using Prilipen’s Logic for Whole Workouts and Training Weeks


Coaches normally use the Prilepin’s Table and the INOL to govern each exercise in a day and week separately.


However, we can easily use Histerov’s recommendations and the INOL results corresponding to Prilepin’s Minimal, Optimal, and Maximal total reps / number of lifts (NOL) to determine corresponding values for the workout and day level, including different exercises.  The following table contains the values.


Grade

Day

Day

Week

Week

Single Exercise

Single Exercise

All Training

Single Exercise

All Training

Maximal

2

6

4

18

Submaximal

1.6

4.8

3.2

14.4

Supraoptimal

1.2

3.6

2.4

10.8

Optimal

0.8

2.4

1.6

7.2

Suboptimal

0.6

1.8

1.2

5.4

Supraminimal

0.4

1.2

0.8

3.6

Minimal

0.2

0.6

0.4

1.8


I expanded Histerov’s Logic for Abstract Loads/INOLs at the single exercise level to include a complete Minimal-Optimal-Maximal scheme since this was the lexicon of Prilepin.  Notice the single exercise values align with Histerov’s logic above.  If we multiply each Single Exercise (Day) value by three we get a logical value for a whole day of training with various exercises.  It is common for Powerlifters to perform the three competitive lifts (Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift) in every session so that is the logic behind the multiplication.


I used the same x3  logic for the day to week level.  These values will empower coaches and athletes to more precisely control loading for training activities, days, and weeks.


In the next article, I will show how we can use this system and actual Work performed in a rep, set, day and week to determine an Actual Training Load value we can use for precise long -term training programming. In another article I will show how we integrate cardio and other forms of training into the complete StratFit schema.


Conclusion


The StratFit system, rooted in the groundbreaking work of Alexander Prilepin and Hristo Hristov, provides a complete framework for managing weight training loads. By integrating Prilepin’s Chart and the INOL score, athletes and coaches can fine-tune training regimens to optimize performance and minimize injury risks. 


The introduction of the Prilepin Minuend further refines this approach, allowing for precise adjustments based on intensity levels. Prilepin's Chart, INOL and Training Loading: A Perfected System- this comprehensive system not only honors the legacy of its creators but also offers a practical, science-based method for advancing athletic training in weightlifting, powerlifting, bodybuilding, and beyond.



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