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Weight estimates for unfamiliar RPE/rep ranges

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  • Weight estimates for unfamiliar RPE/rep ranges

    This is kind of a survey to see how techniques may vary.

    So how do YOU approach calculating what you will load the bar with for an unfamiliar RPE or rep range that's been programmed?

    RTS's browser-based app has tools that help do this if you have training history in the app already, or can plug in previous #'s. I find that I like slightly larger jumps in my warm up RPE climb than the app usually spits out.

    I'll typically hack off or add weight in rounded down 5% increments for each RPE or rep added or dropped.

    And then there are times when I actually brake out the RPE tables and a calculator.

    I'm getting more comfortable estimating off of an opening [email protected] using the charts, but I haven't got as much experience with that.
    Forum topics and other links I've found useful

  • #2
    If it's an uncommon rep range and there are percentages of 1RM available I'll use those or a calculator (also use that if I know an approximate [email protected] weight).

    If it's programmed similar to a set @6, a set @7 and work sets of @8 I'll warmup with the same rep range with the empty bar and then a weight that will usually end up at around RPE 6. If it's been way too light, I'll estimate the next set that will then be hopefully around an RPE 6, but I won't sweat it either. I'll then do the RPE 7 set which should theoretically hit closer. I'll then adjust the real RPE 8 sets from there... if the @7 was actually a 6.5 I'll estimate a bit up and if it was a @7.5 I'll estimate a bit down on the RPE 8 sets. This scheme is really very easy to auto regulate.

    If it's a [email protected] opener, I'll simply warmup and proceed to doing singles and increase weights. Once I reach something that I think should be about an RPE 7, I can estimate an RPE 8 quite well.


    • #3
      I get a rough estimate using the calculator given with the templates. Then during warm up, I work my way up to that (adjusting it as needed). This ends up giving me a bit extra volume the first week of that phase, but I figure that's not a bad thing as long as I'm not close to burning out.


      • #4
        I typically make a guess at the final weight, but I approach that weight in pretty conservative jumps so that if I over-estimated my abilities I can stop earlier.

        For most high rep accessory work I'm not really terribly concerned about hitting RPE precisely. I would rather undershoot than overshoot.

        Also it all depends on the consequences of failure. I am more conservative on squat variations and bench variations than OHP or deadlift.


        • #5
          I rely pretty heavily on the RPE table - I know you can customize your own once you've accumulated a bunch of training data, but at least at this point in my training the standard, boilerplate version works very well for me. If it's a familiar movement but an unfamiliar rep range/RPE, I use the table to calculate what my top set(s) shouldbe on an average day based on recent performance. Then, I feel out if my strength that day is actually average or slightly above/below during warmups and ramping sets (if there are any). As an aside, I don't sweat hitting the exact RPE for the ramping sets much at all - they're more just "feel out" sets to help me get a more accurate read on what I'm capable of for my top set(s) than I could with warmups alone.

          To echo the sentiments of the NC State/Nevada fan above me, I also usually try to undershoot my assistance lifts by about 0.5 RPE, since I tend to be naturally a little aggressive with my load selections. I've been especially focusing on this recently since I'm getting close to a meet and don't want to rack up a bunch of unnecessary fatigue on non-comp lifts.
          Last edited by Nate B; 01-09-2020, 05:13 PM.