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The Longer I Do This the Harder It Gets?

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  • The Longer I Do This the Harder It Gets?

    I know I've asked a similar question to this before, but I'm having more trouble with it now than previously. So every time I've ever heard a video of someone talking about rpe, even in Alan's video itself, they ALWAYS say a jump in 1 rpe is about 5%. I've always calculated my training that way and it seems to work well for me. HOWEVER, the RPE CHART itself actually uses 3% jumps between rpe, which is why we see a lot of comments and questions and confusion about how people don't think the numbers based off the chart are right due to the fact they've been told the 5% rule is a decent way to go. I, myself, have usually gone this way too, and it made it easy for me with a little estimate system I had which I felt coincided decently with the 5% rule and using jumps in weight to go up 1 rpe (5-10lb jumps in the 100's, 10-15lb jumps in the 200's, 15-20lb jumps in the 300's, 20-25lb jumps in the 400's and so on). Now I feel like I'm wrong...

    This 3% vs 5% thing may seem like a small difference, but I find it isn't, especially as the weights get heavier. For the first time now, my programming is calling for a single @8, and then to do working sets based off that single. This is forcing me to use the chart for everything and I'm finding it is not linking up with my previous rpe ratings on things. For example: I'm supposed to work up to a single at 8 on the deadlift and I plan for 470. If that feels like an 8, then that puts my e1rm at 511. I have to now do [email protected] [email protected] and [email protected] so I then multiply 511 by the percentages shown on the rpe chart. This gets me roughly [email protected] [email protected] and [email protected] Those jumps seem WAY to close together in the 400's to be 1rpe away from each other. It's like 12-13lbs. I feel like I can definitely get [email protected], but I don't know if I could do the other sets and if so it would make me feel like my e1rm dropped as a result. Now if I were to just do the 5% way, I would only use the chart to get the [email protected] Then multiply 430 by .05 and get roughly 20lbs, which I'd then subtract. So I'd end up with around [email protected] [email protected] and [email protected] This seems more in line with what I'd feel as one rpe' difference too.

    But, because the chart seems official and because I'm a crazy person lol, I can't help but feel that if I'm not going off the chart I'm somehow not doing the program right because I'm not getting the actual intended training stress. For example 390 would actually be like an rpe 6 on the chart based on those numbers not a 7. I guess what I'm asking is, for doing [email protected] then working sets, do EACH of those working sets have to spot out the same e1rm to make sure you're getting the proper training stress?
    Last edited by Art Vandelay; 11-10-2018, 01:23 AM.

  • #2
    The chart is not official. It's a chart made by RTS and Mike Tuchscherer. It is just a guideline. RPE cannot be strictly translated into %e1rm, or else we would just use % and not RPE You're [email protected] will most accurately predict your e1rm, don't worry if your back off sets don't have the same e1rm. Again, since the chart is just a guideline, your [email protected] and [email protected] will often yield different e1rms.

    What programming are you doing? Usually a [email protected] single is followed by a % drop off (ie. -20%) so you don't really have to go back and figure out a [email protected]


    • #3
      I do the same as you, where I'll figure out where I need to be for a set at 8 or 9, then take off 5% for the lower sets. I feel like the higher the RPE the easier it is to be accurate so that's why I like to do it "backwards".

      The chart is not gospel. I've even seen where Tuscherer wrote out how to fill out the chart percentages for yourself, because it's not the same for everyone. (I'd link it but I'm on mobile, and I didn't find it as useful as what I was already doing).

      I agree that it would be nice if the chart was more in line with the 5% rule, but it is what it is. Remember, the weight and rpe do not have to be exact to provide the correct stress. As long as you're improving I wouldn't worry about it at all.


    • #4
      Originally posted by llaffin View Post
      What programming are you doing? Usually a [email protected] single is followed by a % drop off (ie. -20%) so you don't really have to go back and figure out a [email protected]
      Neither bridge template is prescribed that way for the singles, it's typically a single @8 followed by sets @8, no back off percentage.


      • #5
        Bridge 2.0 does, with guideline percentages.


        • #6
          I only have experience with 3 of the BBM programs, so my experience is a bit limited. That said, it seems like this should only be an issue towards the beginning of any program. The first time the prescription is [email protected] followed by [email protected], then yeah, you're gonna have to get it figured out.

          But following sessions within the program will be roughly similar. So all I do is base it all on the preceding workout. If my [email protected] is 10# higher than last time, I assume my [email protected] will also be 10# higher than last time. Similar if it's lower.

          I would agree with others that the 5% is absolutely not universal. My bench and dl are both around 10% jumps per @. Mike T absolutely recommended setting up your own charts, even to the point of separate charts per movement, using your own history to calculate percentages.

          One other thing. The common perspective is that 70-80% of e1rm is the sweet spot for most of your work. So 3% vs 5% is, in the end, majoring in the minors.

          As a fellow overthinker, trust me, i get it. So if you want to make it "official", then go through your training log and fill out customized charts.

          Or just roll with the standard ones, and treat it as good practice at being more pareto...good enough is good enough, you know?


          • #7
            I personally find for me in planning my workouts out in advance, and in auto-regulating up, 3% works better. In auto-regulating down 5% works better. I believe this is because of accumulated fatigue. In going up a smaller amount I'm accounting for fatigue, and in going down a larger amount I'm also accounting for fatigue. Though these things are not set in stone. Find what works for you. If you're finding that the RPE chart is more accurate, than use the RPE chart. You're not missing out on anything by using RPE the way it was intended. 5% is NOT a hard rule. It's just a quick and dirty estimation they give out because most people can do math with 5% on the fly easier than they can do 3%. That really is the root of the 5% rule, just a quick and dirty subjective estimation. There is no scientific backing to it. Carry on with what works. Weight on the bar doesn't matter, training your sets at the intended RPE is what matters. Focus on the RPE, not on the load on the bar. Whatever gets you to the desired RPE is the correct way.
            Last edited by PWard; 11-10-2018, 07:30 PM.