Hey BBM,

Quick question about back-off sets for bench for example (though the question applies to all the big lifts):

Say I work up to 4 reps @ RPE 8, and during my warm-up my final two sets are 85 kg for 4 reps @ RPE 6 and 90 kg for 4 reps @ RPE 7 and then I jump to 95 kg (I used to jump from the RPE 6 set to my top set though I found that I usually struggle both mentally and with my performance if I make a big jump like that on bench in particular). The program calls for 4 back-off sets of 4 reps @ 75% * e1rm, which is 85 kg if my top set was 95 kg. Do I count the 2 warm-up sets (the RPE 6 and RPE 7 sets) as part of my volume work and therefore do only 2 back-off sets after the 95 kg set, or am I supposed to do 4 back-off sets with 85 kg on top of the two warm up sets and top sets (a total of 7 sets that are over RPE 6)?

The same question applies to the other big lifts, though as I said there I usually jump from the RPE 6 set during my warm-up to my RPE 8 set (In this case the question is whether I should take 1 set off of my volume work).

You could do it either way and while it does change the volume a bit, it’s more important to be consistent with a method than picking any particular method. I would count the two warm-up sets in this situation, yes.

Hey Jordan,

Just to make sure I understood it correctly, in my exmaple I will be doing:

85 kg @ RPE 6

90 kg @ RPE 7

95 kg @ RPE 8

2 x 85 kg (75% * e1rm, instead of 4 such sets)

Am I correct?

And just as a question about deadlift in particular, the back-off sets are 5 reps of 70% * e1rm for 3 sets which was 135 kg in my last workout. My final warm up last week was 142.5 kg for 5 reps @ RPE 6, after which I jumped to 157.5 kg for 5 reps @ RPE 8. Does it matter that one of the sets that I would be counting as volume work (the 142.5 kg set) is 7.5 kg heavier than what the rest of my volume work is meant to be (135 kg)? Meaning that my sets for deadlift will be:

142.5 kg @ RPE 6

157.5 kg @ RPE 8

2 x 135 kg @ RPE 8 (70% * e1rm, instead of 3 such sets).

Yes, that is correct.

It doesn’t matter if during the warm up one of your sets that you will count for back off work is a little heavier.

Hi Jordan,

I wanted to hop back on this thread and ask a follow-up question now that i’m about to start block II of PB II next week.

As previously discussed, when I warm up with sets of 4 during block I, I subtract the 2 final warm-up sets from the volume work.

Now say for example in block II I work up to 1 rep x 110 kg @ RPE 8 and these are my final warm-up sets:

1 rep x 100 kg @ ~ RPE 5-6

1 rep x 105 kg @ ~ RPE 7

1 rep x 110 kg @ ~ RPE 8

The program then calls for 3 reps @ RPE 8 and then 82% x E1RM x 3 sets of 3 reps which would look something like this:

3 reps x 102.5 kg @ RPE 8

3 reps x 97.5 kg (82% of E1RM) x 3 sets

For this example, should I still be doing 3 sets of 97.5 kg? In block I it made sense to take away from the back-off sets since it was in the same rep range, but now since the final two warm-up sets are only 1 rep each it feels like I shouldn’t be taking away from the volume work (I like to warm up this way since I feel this sets me up best mentally for my top set and for gauging the correct weight using RPE).