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  • RPE help

    I have run the bridge before and found I liked the exercise mix up compared to most programming that is consistently the same thing. The down side for me was the RPE scale. This was the first time using it and I noticed that my upper body responded great but the squat and deadlift dropped significantly. I know some days I probably didn’t push hard enough and I hadn’t truly run out on my LP. I feel that at this time my LP on the squat is done and my DL while I still increase in numbers it is slowed to a bi weekly/monthly progression. My bench is climbing little by little with LP and micro platting. My press is low and the progress is almost non existent. The bigger factor is that my weight has gone significantly up to help drove the lifts but I don’t feel healthy anymore. I want to try your programming again but the RPE is going to be a factor. Any tips or hints on how to get the RPE correct and help drive results instead of sliding backwards?

  • #2
    Listening to all the programming blogs, both BBM and RTS, I get the idea that a generic template like The Bridge will always have a certain percentage of non-responders since it’s not tailored. The hows and why's are not always just because the outliers are NDTP, but because they are training resistant and/or respond optimally to a different set of stressors than those in the generic program.

    So although improving your self assessment of RPE may result in better results from the template, you probably also need to experiment more broadly to determine the mode of programming you respond best to. Alternately, if you have the $ and this is a priority you value enough to shell it out towards, you could pay a coach to help you get there.

    Now to more directly address your request for RPE advice, I'll link you to the guide I crafted a while ago.

    https://forum.barbellmedicine.com/fo...rk-in-progress
    Last edited by Serack; 06-22-2019, 02:53 AM.
    Forum topics and other links I've found useful

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    • #3
      I am kind of the opinion that you need to occasionally take sets to failure to really learn RPE. Maybe do this during a pivot cycle between two blocks of programming. And usually its only good to take your last working set to failure. But if you practice takign sets to failure at different rep schemes (e.g. 4, 6, 8, and 10) you will learn the field and that will stay with you and you should thereafter only need to practice it once or twice a year to refresh the feel in your mind.

      The way I used to train years ago was that I had a goal (e.g. 4 sets of 8) and I was either going to get my goal or go to failure. As soon as I hit my goal, then I added weight to the bar so the next session I was likely to go to failure. I made a decent amount of progress my first few years lifting using this method but stopped getting stronger thereafter. I then quit lifting and only restarted lifting again this January. But I pretty much used to be able to tell with a lot of accuracy by say my 5th rep whether I was going to get 8 (actually a lot of times before the set even started I knew what I was going to get, if I grinded out an eighth rep, I knew that I'd likely get 7 and the 7th would be hard. As programming, the method isn't very good---but in training your ability to gauge RPE it was probably actually solid training.

      That said there are certain lifts like squats where my form breaks down before primary muscle exhaustion (it may be because I am fairly new to squatting) so RPE probably isn't a great system for me on that lift. I might be able to get 11 reps at a weight but my form starts breaking down at 5 and by 9 I have a rounded upper and lower back et cetera. I think as you get better with a lift, RPE becomes more useful. When I was doing the SSLP progression I always felt I had some in reserve for squatting because of this whereas I really did operate close to 5 rep max for upperbody lifts.

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      • #4
        For me, I think getting to RPE 9 is enough for general strength and conditioning training. It is quite easy to identify a 9 compared to even an 8. If somebody is never planning to compete, I think it is not necessary to know your true max and how it feels in order to have productive training. BBM templates come with this idea in mind during pivot weeks where you take each lift to RPE 9. This gives enough information to move on to the rest of the training block.

        I understand that there are folks who are really bad at judging RPE and think they are training hard when in reality they have several reps left (Nippard has an interesting video about it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkUtDVTref8). However, I don't think these people are familiar with the concept of RPE and if taught and exposed to training programs with this method that teach self-regulation, I have a hypothesis that they will get better at estimating there heavy sets.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by philibusters View Post
          I am kind of the opinion that you need to occasionally take sets to failure to really learn RPE. Maybe do this during a pivot cycle between two blocks of programming. And usually its only good to take your last working set to failure. But if you practice takign sets to failure at different rep schemes (e.g. 4, 6, 8, and 10) you will learn the field and that will stay with you and you should thereafter only need to practice it once or twice a year to refresh the feel in your mind.

          The way I used to train years ago was that I had a goal (e.g. 4 sets of 8) and I was either going to get my goal or go to failure. As soon as I hit my goal, then I added weight to the bar so the next session I was likely to go to failure. I made a decent amount of progress my first few years lifting using this method but stopped getting stronger thereafter. I then quit lifting and only restarted lifting again this January. But I pretty much used to be able to tell with a lot of accuracy by say my 5th rep whether I was going to get 8 (actually a lot of times before the set even started I knew what I was going to get, if I grinded out an eighth rep, I knew that I'd likely get 7 and the 7th would be hard. As programming, the method isn't very good---but in training your ability to gauge RPE it was probably actually solid training.

          That said there are certain lifts like squats where my form breaks down before primary muscle exhaustion (it may be because I am fairly new to squatting) so RPE probably isn't a great system for me on that lift. I might be able to get 11 reps at a weight but my form starts breaking down at 5 and by 9 I have a rounded upper and lower back et cetera. I think as you get better with a lift, RPE becomes more useful. When I was doing the SSLP progression I always felt I had some in reserve for squatting because of this whereas I really did operate close to 5 rep max for upperbody lifts.
          I think you make a good point: RPE includes good form, and on SQ and DL there is much more opportunity for form to fall apart. It takes experience to know when your form has broken down and subsequent reps are only possible with poor form. That is to me the biggest challenge of RPE: how many reps were still in the tank with good form?

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          • #6
            Thanks everyone. I purchased strength 1 based on some recommendations. I did my first day and used the calculator to get my RPE numbers. I’ll shoot for those and see how it goes.

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