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  • RPE Cues list (Work in Progress)

    A disclaimer: I'm planning to run "The Bridge" after my current programming runs out, but have yet to do RPE based programming. I do have a tendency to gather reference material in various corners of the internet though, and I thought I'd do that for RPE Cues, in preparation for my using the system. The base for this will be pulled from The Bridge 1.0's graphic which is actually straight from RTS, and then I'll try to populate each value with certain cues I've come across that may help refine the user's ability to identify a particular set's RPE.


    RPE10: "Maximal effort"

    RPE9.5: "Maybe 1 more in the tank"

    RPE9: "Definitely 1 more in the tank"
    1. For a true RPE9 "the next set is likely going to have a reduced load if it’s also going to be a RPE 9 because if the load was kept constant, it’s likely the next set would be a 9.5 or 10"1
    2. ~5% more weight than RPE8 warm up weight at same reps 2 faq#4
    3. Bar speed noticeably slower on last rep, but shouldn't slow to near stop.

    RPE8.5: "Maybe 2 more in the tank"

    RPE8:"Definitely 2 more in the tank"
    1. At RPE8, you should generally be able to do sets across without RPE increasing (corollary of RPE9 cue 1).
    2. ~5% more weight than RPE7 warm up weight at same reps 2 faq#4
    3. Bar speed may be slower on last rep depending on individual.

    RPE7.5:"Maybe 3 more in the tank"

    RPE7:"Fairly quick like an easy opener" no reduction in bar speed.

    RPE6.5:"Borderline warm-up weight"

    RPE6:"Fairly easy like a warm-up weight"

    RPE5.5:"Too easy to count as a true work set"



    1General Strength Training Template for the Intermediate/Advanced
    2The Bridge 1.0

    Cues I remember seeing, but don't remember the source on, the exact words, and (maybe) the relevant RPE:

    "or a near miss" for RPE10. I thought the GSTT linked above said that somewhere, but can't find it now.
    At certain RPE and lower, additional force (pushing harder) results in faster bar speed. (pretty sure this one is on the RTS website somewhere)
    At this low of an RPE, you can "make the plates rattle" (probably same source as above)
    If it felt like an X+1, but reviewing the tape, the bar speed didn't slow down for the last rep, it's actually an X. (I don't remember the RPE value)


    Input is very welcome, especially if it cites BBM or RTS.
    Last edited by Serack; 02-13-2018, 02:04 PM.

  • #2
    I personally find bar speed to be a decent indicator of RPE. I always film my sets so I can review immediately after performing it. Sometimes, for squats and deadlifts especially, I think the set is unbelievably difficult, but upon video review the bar speed doesn't slow down at all, so I know it was only RPE <8

    Jordan has stated that novices starting the SSLP should find a weight were the bar speed visibly slows down but they still execute perfect form. This is around RPE 8.


    General guidelines I use:

    RPE <= 7 no reduction in bar speed

    RPE 8 has visible reduction in bar speed but perfect technique

    RPE 9 has much more pronounced reduction in bar speed, bar speed at risk of coming to a stop but doesn't

    RPE 10 bar speed may come very close to stopping or stop altogether, significant reduction in speed

    Comment


    • #3
      Here's my take on something that's been bothering me regarding a big RPE inconsistency:

      It's worth bearing in mind that if you use the 5% figure to move up from RPE 7 to 8 to 9, you're using significantly lower @ 7 and @ 8 sets than you would if you used the %s in the table. In other words, I'd either pick the table or I'd pick the 5% rule and stick with it because they're completely different.

      To give an example, if you have a 180kg 1RM squat and you're doing sets of 5 @ 7, 5 @ 8, and 5 @ 9, then from the table that would be at 79%, 81%, and 84%, so 142kg, 146kg, and 151kg. But the jumps are way bigger with the 5% rule. If you do 142kg @ 7, then add 5% expecting an RPE @ 8, you'll do 149kg. Then you'll add 5% again expecting RPE 9, but it will be 156kg, which you will fail because it's higher than your 5RM, miles away from the @ 9 set you were expecting.

      I think the way to reconcile this is that when Jordan, Austin, and co talk about RPE @ 7 and RPE @ 8, especially for volume work, they're talking about something that's lower than the values in the table, and therefore actually more reps in the tank than the definition says. While warming up, they would have reached '@ 7' at ~137kg (76% - 4 in the tank), added 5% to get '@ 8' at 144kg (80% - 2-3 in the tank), then added 5% to get '@ 9' at 151kg as before.

      I'm assuming @ 9 is fairly consistent between people. I think they've then just got used to what '5% lower than @ 9' feels like and called it @ 8, and got used to what '5% lower than @ 8' feels like and called it @ 7. Not saying there's anything wrong with that, just that if you load up the @ 7 weight from the table and try to add 5% each time, you're going to get a nasty shock.

      Comment


      • bigbaltic
        bigbaltic commented
        Editing a comment
        That table you're referring to is all hand wavy and estimate anyway, and I think that things are much closer when you get lower reps/closer to max.

    • #4
      Yeah, according to the table going up an RPE is either 2% or 3% depending what it is. Another possible explanation for the 5% rule could be that they just keep warming up with the full amount of reps of their working sets without resting until they hit @7 so the @7 will be lower than if they had rested first.

      I don't like this method for me because it heavily relies on my conditioning (I would hit an @7 at a significantly lower percentage of my 1RM than they would) I like to be precise and overthink things so I would go in with an @9 target weight in mind then calculate my @8 and @7 based on that. Then I would warm up, rest a few minutes then make my @7 "attempt" and adjust my next weights if I'm not on target.

      Comment


      • #5
        Originally posted by llaffin View Post
        I personally find bar speed to be a decent indicator of RPE. I always film my sets so I can review immediately after performing it. Sometimes, for squats and deadlifts especially, I think the set is unbelievably difficult, but upon video review the bar speed doesn't slow down at all, so I know it was only RPE <8

        Jordan has stated that novices starting the SSLP should find a weight were the bar speed visibly slows down but they still execute perfect form. This is around RPE 8.


        General guidelines I use:

        RPE <= 7 no reduction in bar speed

        RPE 8 has visible reduction in bar speed but perfect technique

        RPE 9 has much more pronounced reduction in bar speed, bar speed at risk of coming to a stop but doesn't

        RPE 10 bar speed may come very close to stopping or stop altogether, significant reduction in speed
        How experienced are you at RPE?

        @Awk1993 and @neandrewthal, Thanks for the input! I thought I had seen reasoning along these lines in the past, and maybe even got there on my own on my first read through of The Bridge, but I couldn't remember why the 5% was suspect. All this input is why I'm publically listing this stuff. I'll be editing the OP soon to reflect some of this.

        Comment


        • #6
          I wish they would make things more clear on what their expectations are for rpe. For example, here is my 2nd set from week 5 of squat 295x4@8 :

          https://youtu.be/N3Gl95q7Wrw

          that last rep can be so many things. If you just look at the bar speed and use one of the posters advice, this rep would be like a 9.5 since the bar almost stopped at one point. But from my perspective, it was a hard rep, but I could do 2 more. That second one would have been a fight. So maybe this ended up being a 8.5 if you look at the "how many more can you do" perspective.

          So which one is it?

          Comment


          • #7
            Originally posted by timelinex View Post
            I wish they would make things more clear on what their expectations are for rpe. For example, here is my 2nd set from week 5 of squat 295x4@8 :

            https://youtu.be/N3Gl95q7Wrw

            that last rep can be so many things. If you just look at the bar speed and use one of the posters advice, this rep would be like a 9.5 since the bar almost stopped at one point. But from my perspective, it was a hard rep, but I could do 2 more. That second one would have been a fight. So maybe this ended up being a 8.5 if you look at the "how many more can you do" perspective.

            So which one is it?
            Bar speed is a very individual thing, depending on how adept you are at grinding out reps. Some seem to be doing fine and just get stuck at the bottom. Some can grind an extremely slow rep and still do more. If you really could have done 2 more after that then that speed is YOUR @8.

            Comment


            • #8
              Originally posted by timelinex View Post
              I wish they would make things more clear on what their expectations are for rpe. For example, here is my 2nd set from week 5 of squat 295x4@8 :

              https://youtu.be/N3Gl95q7Wrw

              that last rep can be so many things. If you just look at the bar speed and use one of the posters advice, this rep would be like a 9.5 since the bar almost stopped at one point. But from my perspective, it was a hard rep, but I could do 2 more. That second one would have been a fight. So maybe this ended up being a 8.5 if you look at the "how many more can you do" perspective.

              So which one is it?
              If you're confident you can do 2, or maybe 2 more, the RPE is 8 to 8.5, regardless of bar speed. What bar speed relates to what RPE is individual, you'll have to learn your own, but bar speed is well correlated with RPE. Jordan states so in his most recent Q&A here: https://youtu.be/0hnGTUhf6H8?t=23m55s

              Of course, you don't have to use bar speed at all, it's just a strategy that can work for some.

              Comment


              • #9
                So do you guys use numbers to distinguish between, "holy crap that last rep took everything I had" and "I'm confident another rep would staple me to the floor, but that last one didn't leave me feeling like a wet noodle either." or are both a 10?

                Comment


                • #10
                  Originally posted by Serack View Post
                  So do you guys use numbers to distinguish between, "holy crap that last rep took everything I had" and "I'm confident another rep would staple me to the floor, but that last one didn't leave me feeling like a wet noodle either." or are both a 10?
                  You could record the second one as @9.75 if you want, but it wont really affect much about your training whether you call it that or @10. Izzy talks about it here:

                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h15KlFDYJ5Q&t=2s

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    So I'm on my 3rd week of the Bridge finally (log linked below), and I've finally got some limited experience that I've applied this topic towards.

                    I updated OP to include some of the excellent comments on bar speed. I've seen Jordan comment to individuals doing non RPE based work, that working sets that "grind" out the last reps may be detrimental to fatigue management for an intermediate, which I interpreted as being influenced by his RPE perspective, and that 10's and some 9's in certain contexts are not productive in the long haul, which contributes to my perspective on the bar speed discussion.

                    Of course, using bar speed gets complicated when doing tempo work.

                    Log:
                    Dr. Bridgelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the RPE

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Originally posted by timelinex View Post
                      I wish they would make things more clear on what their expectations are for rpe. For example, here is my 2nd set from week 5 of squat 295x4@8 :

                      https://youtu.be/N3Gl95q7Wrw

                      that last rep can be so many things. If you just look at the bar speed and use one of the posters advice, this rep would be like a 9.5 since the bar almost stopped at one point. But from my perspective, it was a hard rep, but I could do 2 more. That second one would have been a fight. So maybe this ended up being a 8.5 if you look at the "how many more can you do" perspective.

                      So which one is it?
                      It's however many more YOU think YOU could have done. People lift at different speeds, so I think comparing bar speeds across lifters is a waste of time.

                      Check Mike T discussing this here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvRx2YZTcbQ

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Originally posted by Awk1993 View Post
                        Here's my take on something that's been bothering me regarding a big RPE inconsistency:

                        It's worth bearing in mind that if you use the 5% figure to move up from RPE 7 to 8 to 9, you're using significantly lower @ 7 and @ 8 sets than you would if you used the %s in the table. In other words, I'd either pick the table or I'd pick the 5% rule and stick with it because they're completely different.

                        To give an example, if you have a 180kg 1RM squat and you're doing sets of 5 @ 7, 5 @ 8, and 5 @ 9, then from the table that would be at 79%, 81%, and 84%, so 142kg, 146kg, and 151kg. But the jumps are way bigger with the 5% rule. If you do 142kg @ 7, then add 5% expecting an RPE @ 8, you'll do 149kg. Then you'll add 5% again expecting RPE 9, but it will be 156kg, which you will fail because it's higher than your 5RM, miles away from the @ 9 set you were expecting.

                        I think the way to reconcile this is that when Jordan, Austin, and co talk about RPE @ 7 and RPE @ 8, especially for volume work, they're talking about something that's lower than the values in the table, and therefore actually more reps in the tank than the definition says. While warming up, they would have reached '@ 7' at ~137kg (76% - 4 in the tank), added 5% to get '@ 8' at 144kg (80% - 2-3 in the tank), then added 5% to get '@ 9' at 151kg as before.

                        I'm assuming @ 9 is fairly consistent between people. I think they've then just got used to what '5% lower than @ 9' feels like and called it @ 8, and got used to what '5% lower than @ 8' feels like and called it @ 7. Not saying there's anything wrong with that, just that if you load up the @ 7 weight from the table and try to add 5% each time, you're going to get a nasty shock.
                        I have found this to be true as well. When I ask about it (and depending on who I ask) I get different answers. So I suppose you're right in saying just pick on and stick with it but the @7 and @8 do wnd up being lower than actual @7 and @8's when you try subtracting 5% from the planned @9 for example.

                        Comment

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