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Beginner Question: How to Warm Up to Target Weight?

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  • Beginner Question: How to Warm Up to Target Weight?

    Currently in Phase 1 of the Beginner program on the fifth week. I've been having some trouble recently on adapting my work set weight according to my readiness for the day. I do my warm-up with the empty bar and add some weight to it once or twice (maybe three times) and then throw on the projected weight for the day. If its actually below the prescribed RPE, its no problem because I just add a little weight to reach the correct intensity. However, I have had the issue more recently that I throw on the projected weight and its too heavy. I understand that when this happens, I am supposed to just skip the sets that are below the relative intensity I have already performed. That said, what warm-up strategy should I implement to reduce how often this occurs? The PDF does not elaborate warming up in the way I am asking. I found a video of Mike Tuscherer recommending using 80-90% of the target weight of the first set as the last warm-up set to make more accurate adjustments. Is this a good strategy in my context? What do you recommend? What have I overlooked?


  • #2
    Have your last warm up set for the day be at a projected RPE deficit of 1-2 for your first working set. Example if your E1RM is 100 pounds and your first set of the day is 5 @ RPE 7 (76lbs), make your last warm up set 5 @ RPE 5-6 (66-71 lbs). If you rate that actually closer to a 7, adjust accordingly.

    I tend to have problems accurately gauging RPE in the 6 and lower range, so after finishing this last warm up set if I'm not sure RPE wise(i.e. unclear if a set of was 6 or a 7), I'll stick with planned weights until it becomes more clear at RPE 8/9 if I'm actually 8/9. If the target of 8 actually ends up being the 9, well then the first set (the one I couldn't tell if it was a 6 or a 7) was more likely a 7. I don't go back and edit what I put in RPE wise but the confirmation of the top set RPE gives me more confidence that I hit the program desired intensity for the prior set.

    .....and TBH, in the end, the hierarchy of things that can lead to unproductive training (i.e. injury, poor not training consistently, too much fatigue, not enough volume, etc) missing RPE/sets because RPE was too high is very, very far down.

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    • #3
      Thank you, Smokes. Currently my first set for every exercise is prescribed at an intensity of RPE 6 so I think that I can empathize with the struggle to accurately rate those lower intensities, and it would explain why I'm having some trouble. While it really doesn't matter to me at this point because I'm not going to be writing my own program or adjusting any template, doesn't all the prescribed set count toward volume? So when I go to press tomorrow, for example, my prescription begins with a set of four @ RPE 6. I'm then supposed to do four more sets of four at varying intensities. So I am prescribed 20 reps which, if I understand correctly, is the volume for that given exercise that day. If I overshoot my first set applying an RPE of 7, I would skip the set of four prescribed @ RPE 6 and move onto the last three sets. Now my volume is 16. Wouldn't this be a concern for me since it is higher on the totem poll of important factors?

      (Just to be clear, I am just going to follow the instruction of the template and move onto the next phase when my e1RM's stall or regress. I'm not going to fall into the trap of perfectionism.)

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      • #4
        Originally posted by reygunz View Post
        Thank you, Smokes. Currently my first set for every exercise is prescribed at an intensity of RPE 6 so I think that I can empathize with the struggle to accurately rate those lower intensities, and it would explain why I'm having some trouble. While it really doesn't matter to me at this point because I'm not going to be writing my own program or adjusting any template, doesn't all the prescribed set count toward volume? So when I go to press tomorrow, for example, my prescription begins with a set of four @ RPE 6. I'm then supposed to do four more sets of four at varying intensities. So I am prescribed 20 reps which, if I understand correctly, is the volume for that given exercise that day. If I overshoot my first set applying an RPE of 7, I would skip the set of four prescribed @ RPE 6 and move onto the last three sets. Now my volume is 16. Wouldn't this be a concern for me since it is higher on the totem poll of important factors?

        (Just to be clear, I am just going to follow the instruction of the template and move onto the next phase when my e1RM's stall or regress. I'm not going to fall into the trap of perfectionism.)
        That's one of the reasons I like doing that "warm-up set" before at a predicted RPE of 5 or so--that way if my next one was supposed to be @6 and overshoots @ 7, the warm up set was actually either @6 or very close.

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        • #5
          The first phase of the beginner template is unusual in that it prescribes working sets @6. The other phases do not.

          The @6 are borderline warmup sets, so if you overshoot and hit an @7 I would probably just move forward from there. If you overshoot and get an @8, however, I would attempt to recover the volume missed by not doing the @7.

          So if you were supposed to go for 6/7/8/8, and you accidentally hit 7 before a 6, I would do 7/8/8. If you accidentally hit 8 before either 6 or 7, I would just go for 8/8/8 which might require dropping weight.

          I think especially in phase 1, if you want it to have any value, you should try to get the correct number of working sets (by which I mean sets at 7+). For me phase I was too low volume even hitting all sets. (I progressed on nothing but DL if I recall correctly, and detrained on 4 rep squats. Phase II completely different story.)

          Also as an aside I would think more in terms of working sets than reps when measuring volume. Working sets being sets at 7+ or 6+. Greg Nuckols explicitly recommends this and my impression is the BBM people would agree.

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          • #6
            Thank you. I'll put that advice into action.

            Originally posted by HansAndFranz View Post
            Also as an aside I would think more in terms of working sets than reps when measuring volume. Working sets being sets at 7+ or 6+. Greg Nuckols explicitly recommends this and my impression is the BBM people would agree.
            Do you mean that volume is measured by the number of sets @ RPE 6-7+? So Week 1, Day 1 squats would have a volume of 3 (or 2) rather than 12 (or 8)?

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            • #7
              Right, I think it's more useful to think of how many working sets of (for example) squats you do per unit of time than how many reps.

              If you were to replace 5 sets of [email protected] with 5 sets of [email protected], I would not consider this to be a reduction in volume, (although it has other important differences).

              But that's just my opinion.

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              • #8
                Cool. Maybe I'll read up on the concept more one day.

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