Page 1 of 2

### Your percentage and reps guidelines

Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 3:56 am
For around 4 sets, I use:

3 reps: 90% of max/1RM
5 reps: 80%
10 reps: 60%

Obviously with higher number of sets, the weight used must be lower (smaller percentage of 1RM) and vice versa. What about you?

### Re: Your percentage and reps guidelines

Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:19 am
I use 5/3/1 style percentages on my bench, everything else I just pick a target number of reps and lift until I can't get that any more. So I may pick sets of 8 for example, start with an easy set of 8 and then do as many sets as it takes to get to a set of 8 that I almost can't complete (I may only get 6 of 7), and if I hit 8 reps then I try for a heavier weight next time.

### Re: Your percentage and reps guidelines

Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:30 am
Hmm... sorry it seems that I wasn't clear with what I mean. I want to know for X reps in Y sets, what percentage of 1RM do you use?

### Re: Your percentage and reps guidelines

Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:53 am
I'll be surprised if there are very many people who can give a simple answer to that.

4x3 @ 90% seems pretty intense to me. I do 90 for a set of 3 once per cycle.

### Re: Your percentage and reps guidelines

Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 8:00 am
Jungledoc wrote:I'll be surprised if there are very many people who can give a simple answer to that.

4x3 @ 90% seems pretty intense to me. I do 90 for a set of 3 once per cycle.
Yeah doc 4 sets would be intense. But I often do 3x3 @ 90% with long rest between sets.

It doesn't have to be exact just an approximation of what you normally use.

### Re: Your percentage and reps guidelines

Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 8:42 am
You can use this: http://www.exrx.net/Calculators/OneRepMax.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Of course if you want to do more than one set, you load will be a little lower.

### Re: Your percentage and reps guidelines

Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 8:56 am
Cool chart, stu. So it turns out that I'm not that far off but I think the chart is based on 1 set.

### Re: Your percentage and reps guidelines

Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 4:00 pm
Paperclip wrote:For around 4 sets, I use:

3 reps: 90% of max/1RM
5 reps: 80%
10 reps: 60%

Obviously with higher number of sets, the weight used must be lower (smaller percentage of 1RM) and vice versa. What about you?
I am not a huge fan of training percentages. They are vague rather than general guidelines.

Thus,

What does "90% of max/1 RM Mean?

Not much.

Your 1RM changes fluctuates 5% to 10% during a workout. So, basing any percentage off a 1RM is futile.

That means if your best squat is 400 lbs, on any give training day, your best gym squat could be somewhere between 360 to 380 lbs (that's 5-10% of 400 lbs) rather than 400 lbs X 1RM.

Think of the implication of basing your daily 1RM off the wrong percentage.

90% X 400 lbs = 360

90% X 380 = 342 lbs

90% X 360 = 324 lbs

That means if you best 1RM for that training day is 324 or 342 lbs, you going to have you butt tatooed to the floor if you attempt 360 lbs.

Russian Olympic Lifters Training Percentages

The Russians are noted for training with lower percentages than the Bulgarian Olympic Lifters.

That because the Russian Olympic Lifter based their training percentages off their 1RM competition max. This makes little sense, since your strength percentage are built on incorrect information.

Bulgarian Olympic Lifters

Bulgarian Olympic Lifters training percentabes are based on their daily 1RM. I have no idea of how they determined that number.

However, the Bulgarian training use of training percentages are more realistic.

Chip McCain Training Percentages

One of the best powerlifters of the 1980s (who I have mentioned before) was Chip McCain.

McCain alternated heavy deadlift weeks with light deadlift weeks. In discussing McCain training precentages, McCain state to me that he trained more by feel.

Light Weeks/Days

McCain stated to me that once the weight began to feel heavy, he stops.

Heavy Weeks/Days

In going over his heavy training week/day, McCain was jumping 50 lbs on his deadlift evey other week.

McCain's deadlift one week was 675 X 2 Reps.

Two week later on his heavy day, his deadlift was 725 lbs X 2 Reps.

Two weeks later his deadlift should have been 775 lbs X 2 Reps.

However, McCain pulled 800 lbs X 2 Reps.

Being a numbers/percentage freak, I was confused. I ask McCain why he jumped to 800 lbs.

McCain replied, "Because I knew I could."

House of Cards

Too many individuals get too carried away with training numbers which end up being a house of cards.

Introspective

McCain's common sense approach is much more logical and effective.

Kenny Croxdale

### Re: Your percentage and reps guidelines

Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 4:29 pm
Kenny, I'm not sure I know my body well enough yet to train like that. Having a plan (that's based on percentages of a more-or-less arbitrary "training max" at least gives me a place to start. I love 5/3/1, but there are days that it doesn't work. I know that if I lift today, I'll either have to just use lighter than planned weights, or be stapled. There have been days lately that I've gone way over the reps on the last set. 5/3/1 at least allows the flexibility of doing more or just the minimum on the last set. The problem is that on days when I'm not as strong as other days, I sometimes can't make even the planned reps, and I leave the gym feeling like a weak old failure.

### Re: Your percentage and reps guidelines

Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 4:44 pm
Kenny, will you be my coach? Where do you live? I'll be there tomorrow.

### Re: Your percentage and reps guidelines

Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:18 pm
Jungledoc wrote:Kenny, I'm not sure I know my body well enough yet to train like that. .
yeah, I cant get away from pre-planning the session. For beginners like me, seems appropriate. On the final set of ramped sets, I'll "do what I can".

### Re: Your percentage and reps guidelines

Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:53 pm
I'm a huge fan of Kenny's post. Love it, but I get where Doc and Oscar are coming from.

I'm certainly on more of a "chip" type path than a "follow a pre-written program from XYZ guru".

### Re: Your percentage and reps guidelines

Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 8:37 pm
Actually, I made this thread to see how many reps in a set people can complete in a certain percentage of 1RM.

### Re: Your percentage and reps guidelines

Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:02 pm
Paperclip wrote:Actually, I made this thread to see how many reps in a set people can complete in a certain percentage of 1RM.
Well first off I've come to appreciate Wendler's insistence that a true 1RM is fiction. That's why I consider the 1RM used for calculating to be the "training 1RM". It is a hypothetical number based somewhat on experience but not to be taken too seriously as something that can be reproduced on demand like a scientific result.

But with that being said, since starting 5/3/1 I've come to realize my own most honest answer to your question is "I don't know but I'm enjoying finding out."

Example: After doing the daily dose on 5/3/1 for squats I've found that 5x10 @ 50% makes me "\$h1t a kidney" as Wendler would say, and yet I know I can easily do more - more sets, or more reps, or more weight, and probably any 2 of the 3. I'm not used to the endurance stuff, and am now learning the endurance stuff is far more mental - it's about determination. So I might try 5x10 @ 55%, or perhaps 5x12 @ 50%.

I guess I'm saying that I don't know the answer to your question yet because I don't have the experience, but it seems to be another one of those areas where you can enjoy pushing the limit. If you can do 10 @ 50%, can you do 12? Then 15?

### Re: Your percentage and reps guidelines

Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:04 pm
I realized that there's a fallacy in my question, I didn't take into account the fiber composition in a muscle group and how many muscle groups are involved in the exercise performed ("compound' vs "isolation").

For exercises that uses muscles rich in type I/IIa fibers, of course the reps can be higher (for a given percentage). For example, it has come to my knowledge that vastus lateralis muscle is composed mainly of type IIa/I fibers while fast twitch fibers predominantly exist in pectoralis majors (please correct me if I'm wrong). So the number of your 60% reps of squats and benches might be different.

I was thinking about squats when I typed my original post because that's what I usually do and my knowledge about the matter is pretty much limited to just the squat....