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When Do I Add Weight?

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  • When Do I Add Weight?

    Hey,

    Some background information: I have been running the beginner template for 9 weeks, and I’m currently approaching the end of phase 2. Before this, I was doing SS LP, as I’m sure most of you were. I’ve enjoyed the beginner template so far, but from the get go have struggled to fully grasp RPE. I’m much better, but still feel I have a lot to learn.

    My problem is best explained with an example from today’s workout. The plan called for [email protected] then some back off sets on flat bb press. Since week 1 of this phase, I’ve been stuck at 82.5kg, but today I went in assuming I would hit 85kg until proven otherwise. I took the bar for a few sets, then 40kg, 50kg, 60kg, 70kg and finally 77.5kg. 77.5kg felt pretty tough, so I loaded 82.5kg onto the bar and said, “if it’s not RPE 9, I’ll just add more weight”. I did the set and rated it @9, did the back off sets and got on with the rest of the program. This has been exactly what’s happened for the last 4 weeks, which happens to be the same for my squat, too.

    I can’t conceptualise how one day I’m going to walk into the gym and decide to add an extra 2.5kg. In my head, if I did 82.5kg today then surely I could have done 85kg, which would have been a progression, because 2.5kg literally feels like nothing. However, I am sure that 82.5kg was [email protected], there adding that extra 2.5kg could have been too much, right?

    Could it be that the strength gainzzz just haven’t come yet, and that repeating 82.5kg for long enough will cause the adaptations needed to lift 85kg, which will be indicated by my warm up sets moving faster?

    Any tips are greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for your time.
    Last edited by AJG6124; 08-04-2021, 03:58 PM.

  • #2
    It sounds like you are using RPE appropriately. It also sounds like you are not responding well. Yes your current routine is probably offering a small stimulus and will eventually get you to [email protected] Hopefully the next phase of the template will illicit a better response. As a side note my understanding of the beginner template (which I do not have) is that it is meant to build a wide base of adaptations (including work capacity, hypertrophy, endurance and strength). Even if your main goal is strength (in the context of a 1rm or similar) and your not seeing much progress there, it may be appropriate to stick with the template and develop other adaptations that will serve you well later in the pursuit of strength.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by 4l3x View Post
      It sounds like you are using RPE appropriately. It also sounds like you are not responding well. Yes your current routine is probably offering a small stimulus and will eventually get you to [email protected] Hopefully the next phase of the template will illicit a better response. As a side note my understanding of the beginner template (which I do not have) is that it is meant to build a wide base of adaptations (including work capacity, hypertrophy, endurance and strength). Even if your main goal is strength (in the context of a 1rm or similar) and your not seeing much progress there, it may be appropriate to stick with the template and develop other adaptations that will serve you well later in the pursuit of strength.
      Honestly man, I wasn’t feeling great about the whole thing, but your response makes so much sense. I’ll stick with it and take the progress when it’s there. When I’m done, I’ll begin a template that has more of a strength focus.


      Thanks a lot
      Last edited by AJG6124; 08-04-2021, 07:21 PM.

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      • #4
        You might also want to look at how you are planning your warm up sets before your top set. Some of this is personal preference but if last week I had hit 82.5 x 4 @ 9, the next week I would be planning to warm up ramping up to 77.5 x 4 @ 7 and 80 x 4 @ 8. Having done these if they felt easier than expected I would load 85 for my top set and go for the 4 reps . If they felt about the same as planned I would have loaded 82.5 and if it felt harder I would have called it at 80 x 4 @ 9 for my top set for the day and done the back-off work from there. Whereas planning to jump for 77.5 to 85 would be a big increase for me.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by MJones View Post
          You might also want to look at how you are planning your warm up sets before your top set. Some of this is personal preference but if last week I had hit 82.5 x 4 @ 9, the next week I would be planning to warm up ramping up to 77.5 x 4 @ 7 and 80 x 4 @ 8. Having done these if they felt easier than expected I would load 85 for my top set and go for the 4 reps . If they felt about the same as planned I would have loaded 82.5 and if it felt harder I would have called it at 80 x 4 @ 9 for my top set for the day and done the back-off work from there. Whereas planning to jump for 77.5 to 85 would be a big increase for me.
          I like this. So, look to add 2.5kg to your top set @ 9 each week, have an idea of what RPE 7 & 8 should feel like if that’s the case, and then simply see how you perform on the day. Right?

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          • #6
            Pretty much. My example is a bit more conservative in that I would normally select the last warm ups (@7 and @8 here) based how I had performed last week (82.5 being the top set of @9) and the go up for the top set if those moved quicker/easier than the previous week.
            But I have also done it the way you describe here when things have been going well recently: plan the warm up sets based on the increased top set weight (I would then plan for 80 x 4 @ 7 and 82.5 x 4 @ 8 in the example above) then just cut back on the weight jump to my top set or stop at the last 'warm up' and rate that as my top set if things are not moving well.

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