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Strength Template without performing 1RM?

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  • Strength Template without performing 1RM?

    Hi BBM Team and fellow lifters,

    I have run a few BBM templates now and generally enjoyed them. I’m currently finishing up the PowerBuilding II template (4 days/wk) and eating more calories and carbs than ever before (3700 average but weighted more on heavy lifting days), sadly with moderate to poor results, but at least some measurable positive results. I see my local SS coach every few months or so to make sure my form is decent.

    Next I’m going to try to cut some body fat (calipers says I’m gradually up to 18%) likely on the same template again,
    but far fewer calories. And hopefully not lose my
    small recent gains.

    When I look back at the various templates I’ve done, it’s the Strength I (aka PowerLifting I) template where I saw the greatest strength gains (many months ago), particularly in the later half of the program where it starts peaking - shifting toward higher intensity and lower volume. However, after I performed my successful 1RM tests I experienced a substantial drop in my strength going into the next template, nearly undoing most of my recent gains. Perhaps fatigue due to the stress of 1RM tests, or perhaps a result of the low volume toward the end of that template.

    And so the question is: in 10 weeks from now once I’m done the PowerBuilding II template again on a cut, is it logical to run your PowerLifting/Strength template (say 4 days/wk) but simply skip the last week? Might that allow me to keep more of my gains, by foregoing the stress of 1RM performance?

    And if so, should I then move into a typical low stress Week 1 on my subsequent template?

    My goals are strength, longevity and healthy, and wanting something tangible to show for all my hard work and compliance.

    Thanks very much.

  • #2
    You cannot expect to maintain your 1RM strength in your subsequent training sessions after just recently testing your max.

    Low volume training weeks at the end of a strength template are meant to exclude previously accumulated fatigue from higher volume strength training, that is what you would call peaking. After peaking and testing your 1RM you would ideally start over from a low stress week and start once again accumulating stress over time.
    This video by Dr. Jordan illustrates the stress-recovery-adaptation idea quite well:

    You have not undone most of your recent gains by testing your 1RM. You can't "keep more of your (strength) gains" by skipping the 1RM test.
    Isn't the 1RM test exactly THE TEST for your gainz and something tangible to show for your hard work and compliance...

    If your goal is strength, then you should test your 1RM regularly, or at least submaximally, like @ 92% intensity or @ RPE 8.
    Last edited by JMF123; 03-11-2020, 10:35 AM.


    • #3
      By your description the program went exactly as it should. Your performance will be at it's highest right at the top end of your peak when you hit your 1rms, it's completely normal to have a reduction in (demonstrable) strength shortly after. It doesn't mean you lost all your hard work in a week, though I know it can feel like that sometimes.

      You of course don't have to do the 1rm tests if you don't care about them, but I promise you they're not stealing your gains.