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  • Podcast vs templates

    Thanks for the recent programming podcasts. I've noticed that the strength templates seem to differ quite a bit from the discussion and there are some factors not discussed. I hope you don't mind me revealing a bit of info about the templates here. I'm going to use the developmental phase of the 12-week strength program as the example, although others like The Bridge are similar.

    The bulk of the volume is on the variations, which are very heavy, with multiple sets @ 9. On the lower-reps day, the first work set (4 reps) is ~81%, the 2nd is ~84%, then the third is ~86%. The fourth and fifth are then around ~83%. So both the absolute intensity is high (5 sets of 4 with an average intensity of 83%), and the RPE is high. On the deadlift, this represents about half of all volume in the week, whereas on the squat, this represents about 1/3 of volume. Also note that these aren't lightweight assistance exercises, but e.g. are just squats without a belt on. After putting myself through these 5 nasty sets last night, I'm wondering - would the program be significantly worse if these sets were e.g. up to @ 8 instead, or maybe with just one @ 9 set and the rest much lighter like the competition squat sets? I didn't hear from the podcasts any justification for having such a large amount of training (1/3 - 1/2 of weekly volume) at such a high load, OR for going to such a high RPE for so many consecutive sets.

    For squat, there's then a second day representing another 1/3 of the weekly load that also contains 2 sets @ 9, so on each exercise, about 1/3 of all volume is @ 9, and 1/2 - 1/3 of all volume averages over 80%.

    The final day is at the complete other end of the spectrum, with competition lift sets being done with several reps in the tank (70-74% for sets of 5 isn't even close to being on the RPE chart, which bottoms out at 77% @ 6.5). I'm sure you can start to approach RPE 8 by the final set, especially if you bust through them with short rest, but this is a dramatic difference from the extremely difficult high-intensity work on the other days. This is more in line with what was discussed in the podcast, although it's a minority of the weekly volume. A question I have on this - would e.g. 10 sets of 3 reps at 70% be productive volume? In other words, is the % of 1RM all that matters, or does it have to be at a 'productive' RPE as well?

    So to summarise:
    1) Why is 1/2 - 1/3 of all volume over 80% if 70% is just as good?
    2) Why is 1/3 of all volume @ 9? This whole idea of productive RPEs wasn't covered in the podcast.
    3) Are sets in the 'productive' intensity range always productive regardless of RPE, or is there also a 'productive' RPE range?

    (ignore if double post - it logged me out so not sure)

  • #2
    Hey Awk,

    Originally posted by Awk1993 View Post
    The bulk of the volume is on the variations, which are very heavy, with multiple sets @ 9.
    In the first week using the squat as an example, 20 reps fall in the 65-70% range, 45 reps come from ~72%, and 20 reps @ between 80 - 86%, so this is ~ 85 reps total with ~ 80% of total reps done below 80% of 1RM. Seems reasonable to me. Not sure if I agree with the rest of your analysis based on this.

    On the lower-reps day, the first work set (4 reps) is ~81%, the 2nd is ~84%, then the third is ~86%. The fourth and fifth are then around ~83%. So both the absolute intensity is high (5 sets of 4 with an average intensity of 83%), and the RPE is high.
    Right, this is about 20% of total weekly volume.

    On the deadlift, this represents about half of all volume in the week, whereas on the squat, this represents about 1/3 of volume.
    No it does not. It represents 1/5th of the weekly volume in the squat and deadlift both.

    Squat and deadlift:
    25 reps @ 70-72%
    20 reps @ 80-86%
    40 reps @ 65-72%

    Also note that these aren't lightweight assistance exercises, but e.g. are just squats without a belt on. After putting myself through these 5 nasty sets last night, I'm wondering - would the program be significantly worse if these sets were e.g. up to @ 8 instead, or maybe with just one @ 9 set and the rest much lighter like the competition squat sets? I didn't hear from the podcasts any justification for having such a large amount of training (1/3 - 1/2 of weekly volume) at such a high load, OR for going to such a high RPE for so many consecutive sets.
    Your calculations are wrong about the percentage of work being done at a relative intensity, but I would have no problems with them being done @8, but probably for more sets in some applications.

    For squat, there's then a second day representing another 1/3 of the weekly load that also contains 2 sets @ 9, so on each exercise, about 1/3 of all volume is @ 9, and 1/2 - 1/3 of all volume averages over 80%.
    No it does not.

    So to summarise:
    1) Why is 1/2 - 1/3 of all volume over 80% if 70% is just as good?
    2) Why is 1/3 of all volume @ 9? This whole idea of productive RPEs wasn't covered in the podcast.
    3) Are sets in the 'productive' intensity range always productive regardless of RPE, or is there also a 'productive' RPE range?
    1) It's not
    2) This doesn't matter, IMO
    3) Yes


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