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20RM Discrepancy with Overhead Press?


I trained OHP for last 2 years more or less in 3x5, 3x3 range or ramping singles.
I have 85kg. I can do barbell military press 52kg for 1 rep (47kgx3, 45kgx5) throughout last months.

Now I wanted to do two months of some high rep volume workout, like 5x20 reps.
I calculated 20RM should be around 60% = 31kg.
It turned out that with 29kg (56%) I could hardly do 15 reps first set, and hardly 12 reps on next four sets.

Is there really such discrepancy with 20RM calculated percentages or my muscles aren’t used to high reps? Low glycogen stores?? I am not really used to pump it seems, especially in triceps.
Same is with dumbbells.

Any thoughts? Opinions? Is this normal?

PS I dont take any creatine…

Why 5 x 20?

These calculators are estimators. It’s an estimated number and the estimate is less accrurate the further it is from your 1RM.

If you still want to do 20 rep training (5 sets across is harsh man), then I would pick a weight you can lift 20 times instead of a number you’re supposed to be able to lift.

Looking to fix “problems” like this is a good way to prime yourself for scamming. Someone will be looking to sell you “Pamela’s Pre-Workout Punch” in no time.


Well, by sets of 5x20 I can get a lot of volume 5x20x30kg=3000kg per workout (twice a week full body) with relatively low intensity around 60%.
That is my logic at least. After a month of 20-15 I plan to increase weight doing 5x12-10-8 reps for one month, and than again do some strength block with 5x5, 3x3 and singles as I am used to work.
Such volume is for OHP only.

I was surprised how quickly I ran out of fuel, since I took 24RM weight actually, thats 9 reps in tank. :wink:

I actually found quite different numbers on internet for 20RM, it seems it varies a lot. Some list 15RM as 60%, some 65%.

Will do as Strongmangoals suggest, use actual weight I can do 20 and use a bit less actually so I am not pushing to failure.

Being able to do 1 set of 20 Will not equal 5 sets of 20. In my experience, anything relying on triceps will drop off dramatically after one or two high effort sets.

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So what is it you hope to achieve by doing 5 x 20 again?

Some break from heavy reps + some big volume.

What for ? Are you trying to increase muscle mass or strength by doing 5 x 20.
Also what is your current Height , weight and age?You said you have been training the OHP for 2 years? Is that how long you have been lifting? What does the rest of your program look like?

Some size/mass with higher reps and high volume, 5x20 for OHP only. Seems my OHP stalled a bit. Lots of volume should help to break plateau? I usually trained OHP in low reps only (1-5).
178cm, 85kg, 38y old.
I did workout a bit in mid twenties before but not with some serious program. Lost all muscle due to illness 3-4 years ago. Was 58kg with a 36kg deadlift, could not grip more even.
Now for 2 years I train with a program, 2x a week. And eat a lot.
Main lifts (strength / low reps 1-5 / 75%-90%RM usually):
Deadlift 140kg,
OHP 52kg,
back squat 110kg

accessory lifts (always for 8-15)
pulldown/cable row/face pulls,
db bench press,
some grip work.

try this, will skyrocket your press…

I’ve done 1x20 work on deadlifts and squats in the past. IMHO if for whatever reason you do true 20 rep work on the overhead press one set will be more than enough. On that thought I would never do 20 rep work on anything other than squats/dead.

I honestly would not advise 5 x 20 in all reality… But what do I know?

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Maybe I’m just cynical. But why are you making up your own program? Your username tells me you’re skinny. Why not add weight to the bar and yourself with a good beginner program?

For all I know you might be 114lbs and that 52kg ohp is bodyweight. But I doubt it.