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Beginner's Prescription Deadlifts: Belt or No Belt

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  • Beginner's Prescription Deadlifts: Belt or No Belt

    I completed Day 1 of Beginner's Prescription and I have to say I enjoyed it. Before getting into my main question I would like to get my RPE procedure checked please. I tried to accurately gauge my 1 RM and used the chart to find the weight I should use for 4 reps @ RPE 7. My estimated 1RM for squats was 340 lbs. So I went to the chart and found 4 @ 7. It says 81%, so I multiplied 340 lbs. by .81 and got 275 lbs. So I did 275 for 4 reps for my RPE 7. Then to determine my 4 @ 6 I found out what 5% of 275 is 13.75. To determine my first light working set I subtracted 275 - 13.75 and just rounded to 260 lbs. So for my first set on squats I did 260 for 4 @6. I do not need to describe how I determined my 4 @ 8 because it is the same procedure. Get 1RM, use chart and find percentage, then get that weight for 4 reps. It almost felt like a percentage-based program. Can someone verify this process I used? Onto my main question, on my 3 x 8 for deadlifts should I use a weightlifting belt or not? Thank you for the continued help during my new journey to RPE training.

  • #2
    How did you gauge your 1rm? The point of using RPE is that it allows you to autoregulate based on your performance during the workout. I find that the best way for me to be accurate with RPE is to use my heavier warm ups and recent workouts to get an idea of how much weight to use in the first set. From there I adjust the weight (or don't adjust) the weight based on the RPE of the previous set.

    It is a reasonable approach to take your E1RM and plug it into an RPE percentage chart to put you in the right ballpark for your first set. However, after doing that first set you should evaluate RPE and plug that set into the chart with the actual RPE that you just evaluated (that's where the autoregulation comes in) to determine load for your next set. Additionally, it is probably even better to factor how your warm ups felt into determining the load for your first set.


    • #3
      I determined my e1rm by my memory of the last time I trained heavy on squats, which was just a few days prior to when I switched to this program. I was able to get 315 lbs for 2 reps and rated that I could have definitely gotten 1 more rep, which put me at 92% on the chart. I did 315 x 100 = 31,500 then divided it by 92 and got 342 so I just did e1rm 340. All my warm-up sets and working sets I forgot about auto regulating. I just figured out my estimated one rep max, did the math for my worksets to figure out what I was having to work with, and did it. I will be going back today so I will make sure to try to accurately gauge how many I had left on each set.


      • #4
        So 2 questions here. But first a posting suggestion. It will be easier to follow your questions/posts if you add some spaces between certain thoughts in your forum posts. Particularly, for your OP, when you transitioned to your questions about judging weight selection for different RPE's to your question about belt or beltless DL, it would have been easier to follow if you hit enter twice between them.

        First the question about the belt:
        It's not a huge difference either way for the Beginner Rx, which is likely why the text doesn't specify. But to get into general nitty gritty details of BBM programming, the higher rep, lower intensity versions of the big 4 lifts are usually intended to be done beltless as a way to moderate the stress imparted by the exercise.

        To quote the relevant portion of The Bridge (but specific to the Squat):
        Squat, no belt: Squat without a belt. Most variations besides the squat w/ belt
        should be performed beltless. This is not done to increase how much the “core”
        gets trained or to get the lifter to use their abs better, as neither of those
        statements are supported by evidence. Rather, beltless squats allow for a
        training stress to be achieved with a slightly lighter weight, which may allow for
        technique corrections and decreased load-induced musculoskeletal pain.
        Picking weights for RPE:
        Starting the first few weeks of RPE things can be rough. So don't be afraid of overshooting or undershooting your estimates and having to adjust on the fly (hell I still do that sometimes 2 years into using RPE). So you do something you "calculated" to be an @6 but it felt a bit heavy. Then think, "Hey I'm new at this maybe that still was a 6, I'll carry on." Well the next pre-planned @7 increment ends up every bit of an 8 or an 8.5. Not the end of the world, that "6" probably was a 7, I'd log it as such and log the @8 or @8.5 as my programmed @8, then carry on. If the programming calls for more @8 and it was an @8, I repeat the weight until the programmed @8's are compete. If it was an @8.5, I drop 5-10lbs.

        The point is, allow yourself to adjust for what happens once you're actually in contact with the bar, and don't get bent out of shape when your estimate going in was wrong and you actually have to auto-regulate/change the plan, as that's the point of RPE.

        As for picking out those weights. Once you have previous training experience with an exercise using RPE, it gets easier as you can go off of last sessions experience at particular reps and RPE, but until then, guess/estimate as best you can and expect to not be perfect at it (so precision isn't as important as learning to listen to what your body is telling you about how the weight feels). Yes, the estimates will start off with something close to the old school % based programming.

        Now more specific to you and what I know about your experience, and how I would pick out your first [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
        • I know you did 310x3x5, and I think I heard you bombed out and missed some reps on the next 5# step, so I'll assume 310 was pretty close to your 5RM (remember precision isn't too important at this moment).
        • My (rough) way of figuring out from that information what to do for the programmed reps is [email protected][email protected]
        • Take off ~5% (usually rounded down) or 15# to get [email protected],
        • Now work your way down in that same ~5% increment (15#) and you get [email protected]
        • Repeat to get [email protected]
        Now as you get experienced, you might find that in the 260-300lb range, 10# increments work better for you, or maybe that's only for squats, and for DL, you need that 15# increment to dial it in right. Also, if when you actually get under the bar, if [email protected] felt more like a 7.5, don't be afraid to adjust and do the next set at 290 instead of the planned 295.

        This method doesn't fit perfectly with the charts, but it'll get you to the important RPE's (those approaching @6) in the right ball park, and remember that as you gain experience you can tune your increments to what works for you for the different exercises at the relevant weights and rep ranges.
        Last edited by Serack; 01-09-2020, 01:52 AM.
        Forum topics and other links I've found useful


        • #5
          Geez, thank you a lot for the help. I had to screenshot the portion where you explained the weight-judging procedure.


          • #6
            It’s not “the” procedure, it’s just my way of roughing out what I can expect to do the first day at a different rep/rpe range without busting out percentage based RPE charts and a calculator. I adjust accordingly once I get under the bar, or based off previous experience for that weight range.

            Thinking about it, I frequently use 10# increments when Im below ~280. Honestly, a difference of 5# for an @6 in that weight range isn’t worth sweating.

            Don’t take this as God’s dogmatic process to get the GainzZz.
            Forum topics and other links I've found useful


            • #7
              Today I programmed a [email protected] followed by a [email protected]

              I figured the [email protected] would be either 5% more than the [email protected] I did earlier in the week, or ~91% of the [email protected] Turned out, once I worked my way up to [email protected] the 91% of that was 10# more and was the right choice.
              Forum topics and other links I've found useful