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How much should e1rm increase from week to week?

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  • How much should e1rm increase from week to week?

    I'm currently in the process of writing my own program, because I ran The Bridge (went great), and then got a really disappointing powerlifting coach, despite all of his decorated lifters (I guess maaaany lifters leave him, due to his programming being absolute torture--as was the case for me too).

    I watched Ben Pollack's "How to Unf*ck Your Program" series, but there was a large question left unanswered.

    Say you are starting a program with linear periodization. So you start with more volume with lighter intensity, and slowly inverse those two variables as you go along with the program. How heavy the load will be is calculated based on your 1RM. So you'd start with sayyy 3x10 @60% of your 1rm for sayyy a 3x10, and by the end, you'd be 95% of your 1rm for sayyy a 2x2...

    ... So I'm confused, because if all the percentages are based off a calculation of your 1rm from the beginning, then you'd never exceed it to hit a PR because it will always be a percentage of that 1rm calculated in the beginning. So it's obvious your 1rm is expected to increase as the program moves on... So the question is: how much is your 1rm expected to increase from workout to workout? And how does one calculate that?

    Thanks. It's a tough concept to explain, but it's the only one getting in the way of me being able to write this stuff myself. I can't afford coaching, and am just trying to learn, so I can get some self-efficacy.

    Thank you.

  • #2
    Sorry to hear about the experience with your previous coach. That's rough, man.

    I think it might be useful to check out our material on programming, most notably our latest programming podcast, Episode #129- Progressive Loading, but also our previous podcasts on the topic, The Beginner Prescription, and How-To Exercise at Home to gain some insight into how we program. The Beginner Template's e-book also goes into this in some detail.

    In short, we wouldn't really program a linear periodization as described without performance-based load selection and with the rep/set progression don't really make sense for driving strength or hypertrophy improvements.

    There are no hard and fast rules for how much stronger people will get from session to session, as this depends on the individual, the program, and innumerable other factors. Some weeks, strength performance will go up markedly, other times it will be about the same, and other times still it will go down. You could try to add 1-5% to the bar each week as a default increase, but if your warm-up sets indicate that your performance isn't actually any higher, I'd probably just keep the weight the same.

    -Jordan
    Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
    ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post
      Sorry to hear about the experience with your previous coach. That's rough, man.

      I think it might be useful to check out our material on programming, most notably our latest programming podcast, Episode #129- Progressive Loading, but also our previous podcasts on the topic, The Beginner Prescription, and How-To Exercise at Home to gain some insight into how we program. The Beginner Template's e-book also goes into this in some detail.

      In short, we wouldn't really program a linear periodization as described without performance-based load selection and with the rep/set progression don't really make sense for driving strength or hypertrophy improvements.

      There are no hard and fast rules for how much stronger people will get from session to session, as this depends on the individual, the program, and innumerable other factors. Some weeks, strength performance will go up markedly, other times it will be about the same, and other times still it will go down. You could try to add 1-5% to the bar each week as a default increase, but if your warm-up sets indicate that your performance isn't actually any higher, I'd probably just keep the weight the same.

      -Jordan
      Thanks for responding Doctor.

      I started listening, but to be honest, kinda getting a paralysis by analysis situation, I think.

      I'm assuming you mean "performance-based load selection" to mean the use of (in the context of powerlifting) RPE, based on what I remember from the podcast.

      But I still have the same question. If you're programming a linear periodized, or even a block periodized program, and you start with sayyy RPE 6 for a 3x10 of some exercise, and then you end with a RPE 10 for your single. Unless your estimated 1rm goes up training session to training session, you'll just end up exactly where you started. To accomplish the increase in e1rm, the goal (not necessarily the expectation) is to add weight every time you come in at the same RPE (right? I think this is the case, because how else would it?).

      How is one to know how much it is supposed to go increase by? Would I just gauge how I'm feeling based on warm-ups and either match (if feeling like I can't go up) or increase (if feeling good), and do so by some arbitrary amount...? Say 5 or 10 lbs?

      Hope this makes sense. Thanks.



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      • #4
        Originally posted by Cani687 View Post

        I started listening, but to be honest, kinda getting a paralysis by analysis situation, I think.
        Hmm, I find that a better understanding of the topic makes decisions somewhat easier where they matter. Hopefully you can make it through this material

        Originally posted by Cani687 View Post
        I'm assuming you mean "performance-based load selection" to mean the use of (in the context of powerlifting) RPE, based on what I remember from the podcast.
        RPE, RIR, bar velocity, etc. would all work.

        Originally posted by Cani687 View Post

        But I still have the same question. If you're programming a linear periodized, or even a block periodized program, and you start with sayyy RPE 6 for a 3x10 of some exercise, and then you end with a RPE 10 for your single.
        Again, I would never program this and linear or block periodization doesn't necessarily mean using this scheme.


        Originally posted by Cani687 View Post
        Unless your estimated 1rm goes up training session to training session, you'll just end up exactly where you started. To accomplish the increase in e1rm, the goal (not necessarily the expectation) is to add weight every time you come in at the same RPE (right? I think this is the case, because how else would it?).
        You're right that if you don't get stronger, you won't get stronger....sure. We'd like people to add weight, reps, etc. depending on goals and context, when they're able to without an increase in exertion.

        Originally posted by Cani687 View Post
        How is one to know how much it is supposed to go increase by?
        To reiterate the previous post:

        There are no hard and fast rules for how much stronger people will get from session to session, as this depends on the individual, the program, and innumerable other factors. Some weeks, strength performance will go up markedly, other times it will be about the same, and other times still it will go down. You could try to add 1-5% to the bar each week as a default increase, but if your warm-up sets indicate that your performance isn't actually any higher, I'd probably just keep the weight the same.

        -Jordan
        Last edited by Jordan Feigenbaum; 06-10-2021, 04:32 AM. Reason: added quote [
        Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
        ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post

          Hmm, I find that a better understanding of the topic makes decisions somewhat easier where they matter. Hopefully you can make it through this material


          RPE, RIR, bar velocity, etc. would all work.


          Again, I would never program this and linear or block periodization doesn't necessarily mean using this scheme.

          You're right that if you don't get stronger, you won't get stronger....sure. We'd like people to add weight, reps, etc. depending on goals and context, when they're able to without an increase in exertion.
          Originally posted by Cani687 View Post
          How is one to know how much it is supposed to go increase by?/quote]

          To reiterate the previous post:

          There are no hard and fast rules for how much stronger people will get from session to session, as this depends on the individual, the program, and innumerable other factors. Some weeks, strength performance will go up markedly, other times it will be about the same, and other times still it will go down. You could try to add 1-5% to the bar each week as a default increase, but if your warm-up sets indicate that your performance isn't actually any higher, I'd probably just keep the weight the same.

          -Jordan
          Thanks doctor. I think I actually am understanding better. I also talked with a fellow gym-goer who's VERY strong, and, surprise, surprise, he loves y'all's stuff.

          Between your last comment about no "hard and fast rules," and based on my conversations with him, I think I have a better understanding of how to approach this. Tell me if I'm wrong:

          I can aim for a certain percentage, and if things get easier, I can ramp up my 1rm, which would in turn ramp up all my percentages. BUT percentages would be rough guidelines, which could vary drastically on how I'm feeling based on warm-ups and taking into account factors like stress outside the gym, etc. I can use RPE to help gauge these variables. And I don't have to just progress by increasing load. As you said, I could focus on increasing velocity at the same weight, etc.

          And also keeping in mind, even in my scenario, if I can do 100% of my 1rm, but for multiple sets, then I guess even if my beginning 1RM never ramped up, I'd still have a higher 1RM (seeing as 1RMs are weights you can do ONE time).

          As for program structure, the gentleman I talked to reflected the same idea, that you don't need to have such a linear periodized methodology. It can be multiple different kinds going on at once. Conjugate, block, add waves, etc.

          Is all of the above the right sort of mentality to have for more advanced trainees? Sort of this more mailable look at resistance training?
          Last edited by Jordan Feigenbaum; 06-09-2021, 04:18 PM. Reason: cleaning up formatting

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Cani687 View Post

            Thanks doctor. I think I actually am understanding better. I also talked with a fellow gym-goer who's VERY strong, and, surprise, surprise, he loves y'all's stuff.

            Between your last comment about no "hard and fast rules," and based on my conversations with him, I think I have a better understanding of how to approach this. Tell me if I'm wrong:

            I can aim for a certain percentage, and if things get easier, I can ramp up my 1rm, which would in turn ramp up all my percentages. BUT percentages would be rough guidelines, which could vary drastically on how I'm feeling based on warm-ups and taking into account factors like stress outside the gym, etc. I can use RPE to help gauge these variables. And I don't have to just progress by increasing load. As you said, I could focus on increasing velocity at the same weight, etc.
            This is the purpose of RPE, yes.

            Originally posted by Cani687 View Post
            And also keeping in mind, even in my scenario, if I can do 100% of my 1rm, but for multiple sets, then I guess even if my beginning 1RM never ramped up, I'd still have a higher 1RM (seeing as 1RMs are weights you can do ONE time).
            I don't necessarily agree with this. You might be able to bench 100kg x 1 x 2 sets, but not bench 101 (unlikely, but possible). In that case, your 1RM is 100 even though you did it twice.

            Originally posted by Cani687 View Post
            As for program structure, the gentleman I talked to reflected the same idea, that you don't need to have such a linear periodized methodology. It can be multiple different kinds going on at once. Conjugate, block, add waves, etc.
            Hmmm, while he's right that there are many different ways to program, I have reservations about saying "program it any way you want to" and/or use multiple approaches simultaneously. Linear periodization can also work, but it doesn't have to mean start at 3 x 10 sets and end up at 1x1.

            I think that you'd be best served by following some sort of template and/or getting some coaching. I know you mentioned increasing self-efficacy in the beginning, but leveraging resources you have at your disposal IS self-efficacy, vs not having a clear direction forward.
            Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
            ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post
              Hmmm, while he's right that there are many different ways to program, I have reservations about saying "program it any way you want to" and/or use multiple approaches simultaneously. Linear periodization can also work, but it doesn't have to mean start at 3 x 10 sets and end up at 1x1.
              Well, that was just an example. It could be a 5x6 leading up to a 2x2, or any variation of the same idea. And yeah, I have reservations of that terminology as well. It's not so much programming any way you want, so much as (I'd think) starting with something, run it from week to week, gauge your fatigue and make any necessary changes. Then run in for a considerable amount of time to see how you respond, and if something isn't working out (desired adaptations aren't being made), then changing one variable at a time (so you know what changes you've made are eliciting the changes). Could be swapping a new variation, increasing frequency, etc. That's the right idea, isn't it? At least from the experience I've had with coaches (not mine lol, my girlfriend has a coach too, and y'all actually know her! It's Kelsie though I can't recall her last name right now) that's what it seems like.

              Originally posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post
              I think that you'd be best served by following some sort of template and/or getting some coaching. I know you mentioned increasing self-efficacy in the beginning, but leveraging resources you have at your disposal IS self-efficacy, vs not having a clear direction forward.
              I think that'd be the wise thing. I've made sooo many mistakes along the way to get where I am, on my university's powerlifting team... However, I think the thing I care about, more than anything else is self-efficacy, and while leveraging resources is a form of it, I feel like I'm already trying to, with all of the information I'm learning from all the great people I listen to. Even if I have to make mistakes along the way, I think I'd rather do it this way, because I'm not gonna have someone with me at all times, forever. Plus, it'd be sooo expensive. Templates are an option, but I want something that can be individualized to me, and so I can find out how this stuff works too.

              All that being said though, at some point, I do want to be coached by y'all. Barbell Medicine is by far my favorite resource, and so it would be an honor to see how y'all do it, as well as just to support y'all more. I'm taking time to also listen to the podcast you recommended, and am taking actual notes as references for my programming. I'm about a quarter through, and am very intrigued so far.

              Originally posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post
              I don't necessarily agree with this. You might be able to bench 100kg x 1 x 2 sets, but not bench 101 (unlikely, but possible). In that case, your 1RM is 100 even though you did it twice.
              Oof great to know, glad I dodged that bullet.

              As always, I appreciate the help.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Cani687 View Post

                Well, that was just an example. It could be a 5x6 leading up to a 2x2, or any variation of the same idea. And yeah, I have reservations of that terminology as well. It's not so much programming any way you want, so much as (I'd think) starting with something, run it from week to week, gauge your fatigue and make any necessary changes. Then run in for a considerable amount of time to see how you respond, and if something isn't working out (desired adaptations aren't being made), then changing one variable at a time (so you know what changes you've made are eliciting the changes). Could be swapping a new variation, increasing frequency, etc. That's the right idea, isn't it? At least from the experience I've had with coaches (not mine lol, my girlfriend has a coach too, and y'all actually know her! It's Kelsie though I can't recall her last name right now) that's what it seems like.
                In addition to all of this, also accounting for the balance of adaptations vs internal load, not pushing when the relative effort increases (as this only makes it harder, not more effective), having learned this from the podcast. All of this... is it all relatively sufficient for a healthy start?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Cani687 View Post

                  Well, that was just an example. It could be a 5x6 leading up to a 2x2, or any variation of the same idea. And yeah, I have reservations of that terminology as well. It's not so much programming any way you want, so much as (I'd think) starting with something, run it from week to week, gauge your fatigue and make any necessary changes. Then run in for a considerable amount of time to see how you respond, and if something isn't working out (desired adaptations aren't being made), then changing one variable at a time (so you know what changes you've made are eliciting the changes). Could be swapping a new variation, increasing frequency, etc. That's the right idea, isn't it? At least from the experience I've had with coaches (not mine lol, my girlfriend has a coach too, and y'all actually know her! It's Kelsie though I can't recall her last name right now) that's what it seems like.
                  Eh, I don't think you can "know" that changing a single variable at a time is working and we don't really subscribe to that idea. That said, yes, adjusting the program based on outcomes, preferences, etc. would be the idea.


                  Originally posted by Cani687 View Post
                  I think that'd be the wise thing. I've made sooo many mistakes along the way to get where I am, on my university's powerlifting team... However, I think the thing I care about, more than anything else is self-efficacy, and while leveraging resources is a form of it, I feel like I'm already trying to, with all of the information I'm learning from all the great people I listen to. Even if I have to make mistakes along the way, I think I'd rather do it this way, because I'm not gonna have someone with me at all times, forever. Plus, it'd be sooo expensive. Templates are an option, but I want something that can be individualized to me, and so I can find out how this stuff works too.
                  I think that at some level, the time and resources invested in trying to do it yourself are outweighed by the benefits of having someone else do it for you. If you're not going to coach people professionally, is it really worth the effort of learning the craft as well as a professional. When we try to increase folk's self-efficacy, we want to offer them tools, resources, and skills needed for them to believe they can engage in the behavior change to improve their health, quality of life, etc. Providing some knowledge can be useful to counter harmful narratives or try to steer people in the right direction. Thankfully, it's not really necessary to turn everyone into a subject matter expert just so they can engage in the desired behavior, as this isn't really feasible.
                  Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
                  ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Cani687 View Post

                    In addition to all of this, also accounting for the balance of adaptations vs internal load, not pushing when the relative effort increases (as this only makes it harder, not more effective), having learned this from the podcast. All of this... is it all relatively sufficient for a healthy start?
                    Pretty much any sort of training that meets the current guidelines are sufficient for health. While I can't teach you how-to program via a forum post, we have many resources (free) available that provide lots of insight into how we program and why. To the extent that this may help you program for yourself, that's where I would start.
                    Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
                    ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

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