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Singles and Fatigue on Back Off sets

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  • Singles and Fatigue on Back Off sets

    Anyone else experience a ton of fatigue on back off sets after performing a single @ 8?

    In phase 3 (week 4) of the beginner template I'm progressing my 1 @ 8 bench each session, but I feel so weak afterwards that I can't complete the back off work at the prescribed percentages without going up to RPE 9 or 10.

    The singles each session feel about the same difficultly wise. I don't know if I should attribute the performance drop to miss-rating my RPE or something else.

    Is it possible that I am not yet adapted to the fatigue from singles? Should I drop the weight on the singles until I can complete the back-off sets at the prescribed percentages, or just keep going since my 1 @ 8 keeps going up and use RPE to select the weight for the back-off sets?

  • #2
    Originally posted by norb View Post
    Anyone else experience a ton of fatigue on back off sets after performing a single @ 8?

    In phase 3 (week 4) of the beginner template I'm progressing my 1 @ 8 bench each session, but I feel so weak afterwards that I can't complete the back off work at the prescribed percentages without going up to RPE 9 or 10.

    The singles each session feel about the same difficultly wise. I don't know if I should attribute the performance drop to miss-rating my RPE or something else.

    Is it possible that I am not yet adapted to the fatigue from singles? Should I drop the weight on the singles until I can complete the back-off sets at the prescribed percentages, or just keep going since my 1 @ 8 keeps going up and use RPE to select the weight for the back-off sets?
    Norb,

    it's difficult to conclude why you feel worn out after your singles without knowing more about your nutrition (i.e. macros and calories), recovery and general conditioning (or lack thereof).

    That being said, the RPE serves as a guide: you don't have to nail RPE 8 on every back off set; however, if you hit 10 every single time, you're either not used to this kind of stress or doing something wrong recovery and conditioning-wise.

    If you're only resting 3 minutes, try resting for 5.

    Do you do LISS cardio and/or HIIT? This might improve your inter-set recovery.

    Eat well, sleep well and you'll get there!

    -T

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    • #3
      How many backoff can you typically do before they meet or exceed RPE 9?

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      • #4
        I concur with thicky.

        Beyond concerns over intra-set recovery, how confident are you in evaluating that the first backoff set is an 8? The % backoff prescribed in the template is a number that is somewhat arbitrary, as it's what is typical in a population of lifters but there are always deviations among individuals (and even between different exercises) on what is appropriate. It may be that for these rep ranges, you need a tweaked, slightly larger back off for bench.

        Additionally, the training stimulus programmed is the specified RPE for the specified reps of the set not the weight on the bar (% backoff), so if the second to last rep has "RPE creep" (was supposed to be an 8 but was a 9 or a 9.5) then it is better to reduce the weight for the following set to obtain the specified RPE than to maintain the weight and end up grinding out a 10.[1]

        [1]BBM Coach Leah Lutz forum post
        Last edited by Serack; 01-16-2020, 12:55 PM.
        Forum topics and other links I've found useful

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        • #5
          Thanks for the input everyone.

          Here is a little info about my nutrition and conditioning in case it helps. I've been doing the conditioning 2x per week 1day 30 min LISS at RPE 5-6 depending on how my knees are feeling . The other day is 18 min rowing intervals or practicing basketball. Recently been going hiking on the weekend but this was occurring before I started hiking.

          My nutrition looks like this : 2450 Cal - 180g P, 220g C, 94g F. I have been maintaining 193 lb BW at 6'3''. I'm 27 years old and work a desk job.

          Beyond concerns over intra-set recovery, how confident are you in evaluating that the first backoff set is an 8?
          I feel pretty confident in my ability to rate the RPE on lower body but bench all feels so hard after 3-4 reps that I might not be rating it correctly.

          Last session should have looked like this based on the template;:

          150 lb x 1 @ 8
          139 lb x 4 @ 9
          20 reps at 130 lb (80% E1RM) x 4-6 reps @ 7 or 8 ( I figured this is try to do at least 4 reps at RPE 7-8 but go for more if able.)

          I ended up doing this, resting 3 min between sets:

          150 x 1 @ 8

          135 x 4 @ 9

          130 x 4 @ 10
          125 x 5 @ 9
          120 x 4 @ 10
          115 x 5 @ 9
          115 x 2 @ 6

          I tried to adjust the weight down but they all felt about as heavy as the previous set. Is it possible that I actually overshot my first set of 4 @ 9? I guess I should just drop the weight on the back offs even more instead of trying to stay closer to the estimates from the templates? I feel like I'm missing out not following the recommendations. I can try longer rests but my session time is already creeping up to a duration I'm not comfortable with since I go to the gym for my lunch break at work.


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          • #6
            I wasn't aware that Jordan wrote the beginners Rx so flexibly.

            I am in the exact same boat with working out at lunch and only taking 3 minute rest intervals. It's something that I had to get used to, as before I was taking 5-10 minutes.

            I'd say don't get too worked up over this struggle. As you get familiar with how you respond to training, and as your body adapts to the training, your consistency will get better. In the mean time, experiment with taking a different drop after the [email protected] (in this case experiment with a 10# drop).

            Even in a more trained individual, after an @9, the fatigue generated by the set pretty much requires that you have to lower the weight, or the next set will be >@9.[1] So considering you are taking only 3 minute breaks, are trying to go from an @9 to an @8, and potentially increase the reps (Oh, and you are still getting used to this whole thing), it is understandable that the weight might have to drop a bit more going from that [email protected]

            As you get experienced with this stuff you will find what works for you and how to deal with various programmed sets, and how to auto-regulate to get the desired training stimulus when it's a rep range/exercise that you are unfamiliar with. For now, just getting under the bar means you are doing what you need to both get stronger, and develop those skills that will help you get stronger when a better fidelity to the programmed stresses is needed to get the harder to obtain gainzZz.

            [1]This is based off of what Jordan said in his write up on an old general strength training template article:
            A true RPE 9 set means there’s one rep left in the tank. It also means that 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.
            Forum topics and other links I've found useful

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            • #7
              Oh, I forgot to add,

              Here's a post on workout time savers, some of which you might find useful.

              https://forum.barbellmedicine.com/fo...ym-time-savers
              Forum topics and other links I've found useful

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              • #8
                Thanks for the input. I'll keep going and adjust the weights as much as I need to get the volume in at the correct RPE.

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                • #9
                  norb is it possible that the 80% should be from top single and not e1RM (or maybe even from the [email protected])? For 4-6 reps 80% seems a bit high, and closer to 70 or 75% seems to be where sets of ~5 are typically done, especially for that many sets. I've seen back offs of -8% from top set, or -20% from top single, but 80% [e1RM] x 5 x 6 seems very high.

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                  • #10
                    I has a similar issue when running the bridge 3. I found doing backoff sets after a heavy single to be extremely challenging. Its also tempting to do the back off sets as a warm up (before doing the heavy single).

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