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Sacrifice reps to maintain RPE or sacrifice RPE to maintain reps?

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  • Sacrifice reps to maintain RPE or sacrifice RPE to maintain reps?

    Still new to RPE so apologies if this is obvious. Say I'm doing a set of 4 reps @ 8, and after the third rep I know that the fourth rep is going to be a 9, would it be better to do the forth rep anway and now the set is 4 @9, or would it be better to finish the set there and count it as 3 @8?

  • #2
    Don't even think about the RPE until you finish the last rep. Then write down what it was even if that's a 9 or a 10.
    Use that to plan your next set (don't need to get a calculator just make rough adjustments).

    The prescription of reps and RPE is not an exact science. If you do 4 @ 9 you're not going to have a materially different training effect than [email protected] or [email protected], in case you're worried about that. It's not even a big deal if you regularly get them "wrong". You'll still get the same benefits from training and your ability to judge will improve over time.

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    • #3
      Finish the set if possible regardless of the RPE. If you overshoot, adjust the weight for your next set.

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      • #4
        only thing i would add is that your goal should be to never fail a rep. better to choose a lower starting weight.

        if you're accustomed to SSNLP, then you're used to struggling on reps. RPE is designed to make training achievable but still deliver a productive dose of stress. it takes a while to get over feeling like RPE based workouts aren't hard enough. you'll soon acclimate and should enjoy your workouts more.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by sjalbrec View Post
          it takes a while to get over feeling like RPE based workouts aren't hard enough.
          This is super helpful. Thanks!

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          • #6
            First thing is first, recognize that you'll be fine either way as long as this isn't a problem that you're consistently running into. What's 1 rep out of the hundreds of thousands that are to come in your future? The Choice Paradox is a good book to look into if you find yourself constantly torn between choices that are ultimately insignificant. Just make a choice and move on is the gist. There's probably not a "right" answer here, and anytime spent worrying about which choice is correct is likely more detrimental to your overall training outcomes than that 1 rep. Train on my dude.

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            • #7
              I'm definitely still adjusting to the idea that short term training and individual sessions don't actually mean much when it comes to long term training outcomes.

              Thanks for the advice everyone - I really appreciate it!

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