I’m hoping to get some reasoning for making certain programming decisions. If I understand correctly, volume and intensity are the main drivers of strength. There are many ways to get the same volume and intensity however, and I would think they could lead to different results. How would the expected training outcomes differ from each other in the following cases, and what would be some reasons to not do some of them? Pardon the extremes, but I just want to understand the effects of certain variables.

Assume all sets are done at RPE 8. Trainee is a post novice.

Example Workout 1. Sets Across: 365 x 5 x 5 ---- 10 min rest periods

Example Workout 2. Descending Sets: 365 x 5 , 355 x 5, … 325 x 5 ---- 5 min rest periods

Example Workout 3. Descending Singles: 425 x 1, 415 x 1, 410 x 1 … ----1 min rest periods

I don’t know if these are reasonable numbers but the idea is the same RPE and the same number of reps.

To use my numbers, my best set for squats is 400 x 5 so well Ive just started adding in singles for practice and to guage my working weight and i havent done the squat yet.

The outcomes I can think of are an increased 1 rm and better neuromuscular efficiency, hypertrophy, and fatigue. Comparing the first two workouts, they “feel” the same. They would both have the same motor unit recruitment if I understand correctly. It seems to me that this would produce identical strength, hypertrophy, and fatigue outcomes, but they are objectively different workouts.

As far as workout 3, I wouldn’t know where to start for reasonable numbers, but let’s just assume it was possibe to do 25 singles at rpe 8 for the workout and you could change the weight fast enough. Every “set” is at rpe 8 so all the repsame would feelike doable. I would think that the high motor unit recruitment for 25 reps would produce good strengthing outcomes, so why has no one done this. Is it because of fatigue? Everything is still rpe 8, but does the objectively heavier weight tax the body more?

As a summary, does increasing the weight and maintaining rpe have poor fatigue effects? Does decreasing the weight and maintaining rpe negatively affect any strength/hypertrophy outcomes?

They may or may not have the same MU recruitment. You won’t ever know (and neither will I). Hypertrophy outcomes will likely be the same. Fatigue outcomes are likely to be much different. Strength outcomes as tested by a 1RM squat are likely to be different, but no one can say for sure which one will work better. The 1st example is going to take about 2x as long, however.

As far as workout 3, I wouldn’t know where to start for reasonable numbers, but let’s just assume it was possibe to do 25 singles at rpe 8

This is possible, but the weight will change.

for the workout and you could change the weight fast enough. Every “set” is at rpe 8 so all the repsame would feelike doable. I would think that the high motor unit recruitment for 25 reps would produce good strengthing outcomes, so why has no one done this. Is it because of fatigue? Everything is still rpe 8, but does the objectively heavier weight tax the body more?

Depends on average intensity and overall fatigue generation, which are both likely to be high and less productive at driving the 1RM up.

As a summary, does increasing the weight and maintaining rpe have poor fatigue effects? Does decreasing the weight and maintaining rpe negatively affect any strength/hypertrophy outcomes?

How can you increase the weight and maintain RPE given the same rep range? Similarly, how can you decrease the weight and maintain RPE if the rep range is the same?

What do you mean by poor fatigue effects? How do we generate positive adaptations without fatigue?

In what way would fatigue outcomes be different? Would workout 2 generate less fatigue because of the lighter weight? Would you say that both workouts could be effective for strength outcomes? If so, what would you use to decide which one to use, assuming you weren’t worried about waiting longer between sets?

I’m particularly interested in this comparison because I recently did a few back off sets for OHP instead of sets across. I was going to do 190 x 5 x 5, but it was getting late and I wanted to hurry, so I lowered the weight by 5 lbs each consecutive set and shortened the rest periods so the RPE was about the same. It took less time and I felt less fatigue afterwards. Is the reduced fatigue expected with this change? Is it desirable? If this is a viable substitute I would love to keep doing this instead.

How far could this go and still be effective? I would assume that taking 15 second breaks and dropping the weight by 25 lb per set would not produce great strength outcomes, so where would we draw the line and why. I’ve heard that 70% is about the minimum, so would the workout be good as long is it was greater than that?

Depends on average intensity and overall fatigue generation, which are both likely to be high and less productive at driving the 1RM up.

If average intensity and fatigue are both high, why would it be less productive? The singles seem like a very specific stress towards increasing a 1RM. Is there a threshold of fatigue beyond which 1RM improvements are reduced?

How can you increase the weight and maintain RPE given the same rep range? Similarly, how can you decrease the weight and maintain RPE if the rep range is the same?

What do you mean by poor fatigue effects? How do we generate positive adaptations without fatigue?

Basically with the first two workouts. By shortening the rest periods the weight can go down without the RPE decreasing and vice versa.

By poor fatigue effects, I mean a reduced ability to recover from the workout which brings back the question about a fatigue threshold.

I get that fatigue is necessary, but it isn’t necessarily desirable is it? It’s possible to have too much fatigue, right? On the one hand, it sounds like the large amount of fatigue decreases the effectiveness as in the workout of all singles, but on the other hand fatigue seems to be necessary for gainzZz. I’m a bit confused about this.