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  • RPE & Nuances

    Hi, BBM gang --

    First, thanks for the dedication and sharing of numerous educational resources and high quality training programs. I'm beginning the 3rd week of the Bridge 2.0 and I am looking for a little clarity around qualifying RPEs...

    My question is this: Where do we draw the line in rating RPE between hitting a set of 5 @ 8 where I could have gotten 2 more difficult reps and maintained decent form but 3 reps w/ decent form is out of the question; versus a heavier set of 5 @ 8 where every rep is an utter 3/4 second grinder?

    If I'm doing barbell rows, for instance, I'd set my RPE 8 set of 10 using 135lbs. The last 3 reps of that set of 10 are grinders, using a little body English to get the weight up, and taking a couple of short breaths between reps. At that weight, for me, using every ounce of my being, I'd only be able to get 2 more reps. Similarly, when I move up to my RPE 9 weight of 140 for 10, I literally would only be able to squeak out one more rep, with form deteriorating and body English increasing around rep 7.

    In the above example, am I "overshooting" my RPEs for that lift? If I were to use a weight where I'd rate an RPE 8 for a set of 10 where I don't need body English or short breaks between reps, I'd probably only use 120/125.

    Similarly, I recently did my back off squats of RPE 8 for 3 sets of 5 at 240lbs. In those sets, being already fatigued from a single @ 8, I probably could have gotten more than 5 reps, but those reps would have been ugly grinders. Should I have used a heavier weight to go into grinder-land for a more "true" RPE 8?


    Thanks!

  • #2
    RPE includes technique, which should ideally be maintained. As RPE's get higher and absolute intensity gets higher, form breakdown will be more significant, which is another reason we prefer to accumulate much of the training stress for post novice folks at an intensity where you can maintain really good technique.

    We don't like grindy reps for most of training
    Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
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    • #3
      Thank you Sir Ninja of Nuance. Looks like I've taken RPE weights too heavy in a couple cases.

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