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  • jfsully
    replied
    Austin... thanks for the long and thoughtful reply. It's really helpful to have the basics re-stated, as it is easy (at least for me) to overcomplicate and outthink myself when trying to learn something. And yes, the bottom line is that the weights are moving up gradually and I am completing most of my planned sets, so all is good.

    When there is a paucity of data, it is easy to over-interpret even small outliers. If I had years of training experience and data, I am sure I'd be much more comfortable with fluctuations and not worry that I am getting off track immediately. And if I am 99% of the way there, that is way more than I am in most aspects of my life, so this is good.

    See you in Boston... whenever!

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  • Kratos
    replied
    Since I'm new to RPE this post was helpful and relevant. Especially the part..."With that said, there is nothing magic about hitting the same weight @8 across versus adjusting it slightly if you have observed this pattern -- say, pulling back 2-4% for a subsequent set so you can hit all the reps without ending up in a death-grind at the end."

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  • Austin Baraki
    replied
    Hey there -- sorry this one slipped through the cracks.

    I have been using the beginner program and the RPE est calculator to plan workouts, and it feels like I'm turning it into a percentage-based template a little bit. I do give myself permission to lower the weights if it feels way too hard, without feeling bad, and also to add a few pounds if I can, without getting too excited. This is the exception though.
    This is perfectly OK.

    What I have found is that the 2nd or 3rd set @8 becomes @9, and on occasion I fail the last rep of the last set. This means there were no reps in the tank, of course, but I felt there were on the previous set. I don't want to extend my rest periods too long, but maybe I should do that to get the full set. Or maybe I was wrong about the @8 on the first work set?
    We wouldn't just keep extending rest periods longer and longer so you can hit an arbitrary weight, but this could be due to a variety of factors. And just because it was @8 on the first set doesn't guarantee it's going to stay there for subsequent sets. When the effort levels ramp up quickly, this is may be due to a lower work capacity (which improves inter-set recovery ability) that would improve with continued training and perhaps some conditioning work as well.

    With that said, there is nothing magic about hitting the same weight @8 across versus adjusting it slightly if you have observed this pattern -- say, pulling back 2-4% for a subsequent set so you can hit all the reps without ending up in a death-grind at the end. With deliberate practice (i.e. paying attention to how things are feeling, how quickly they're moving, even recording your sets on video and comparing them visually immediately afterwards versus how you felt/perceived), the skill of using RPE/RIR will improve with time.

    Assuming you don't place excessive importance on absolute performance during your training session today, but rather on the process of training to realize improvements over time, the absolute weight on the bar for any one set does not carry the enormous amount of significance it has been given by others -- it does not make you a better person to complete a death-grind set @ RPE 11, nor does it make you a bad person to pull back the weight a bit for a given set / session if your performance is down for that day. Much more important is developing sustainable training habits and buying into the process over time -- these skills pay off with particular importance in the face of setbacks or injuries, which is where we see the absolute-number crowd do poorly relative to those who embrace the process. And for those who train for general health versus absolute rep-max performance, the absolute weight on the bar for any one session becomes even less important, compared to getting an appropriate dose of stimulus consistently over time.

    I'm sure I'm overcomplicating this. And the bottom line is I am completing 99% of my sets and the weights are going up. Maybe I shouldn't worry at all? Mostly I'm trying to work on technique and body awareness that I think I will need to decide when to start phase 2 (currently on P1 week 7).
    If you're completing 99% of your sets and the weights are going up, it sounds like you're 99% of the way there. A missed set here or there isn't the end of the world, particularly in beginner land when you're still developing these skills.

    thanks for your help with this, and for the great resources. Really hoping to see you guys in Boston! I'll bring PPE for you if needed.
    Unfortunately things aren't looking good on that front, but we hope to meet you at some point as well!

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  • jfsully
    started a topic adjusting to RPE

    adjusting to RPE

    I think I just need a bit of reassurance/guidance as I acclimate to using RPE. My basic issue is that perhaps as someone who has come to lifting late life (49yo, lifting 2 years), everything tends to "feel heavy" even when I know its entirely doable.

    I have been using the beginner program and the RPE est calculator to plan workouts, and it feels like I'm turning it into a percentage-based template a little bit. I do give myself permission to lower the weights if it feels way too hard, without feeling bad, and also to add a few pounds if I can, without getting too excited. This is the exception though.

    What I have found is that the 2nd or 3rd set @8 becomes @9, and on occasion I fail the last rep of the last set. This means there were no reps in the tank, of course, but I felt there were on the previous set. I don't want to extend my rest periods too long, but maybe I should do that to get the full set. Or maybe I was wrong about the @8 on the first work set?

    Another thing I find is that the first work set @6 often feels harder than the subsequent @7 set. I attribute this to a warmup effect, perhaps some better fiber recruitment, and also mentally having crossed a barrier. Or does this mean I should go lower for the @6? Maybe this is adding fatigue that I pay for when my @8 turns into @9 or @10 on the last work set.

    I'm sure I'm overcomplicating this. And the bottom line is I am completing 99% of my sets and the weights are going up. Maybe I shouldn't worry at all? Mostly I'm trying to work on technique and body awareness that I think I will need to decide when to start phase 2 (currently on P1 week 7).

    thanks for your help with this, and for the great resources. Really hoping to see you guys in Boston! I'll bring PPE for you if needed.

    jfsully
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