T Nation

80% and 85% Volume Work


Dear christian,

You posted the below training block some while ago. I was wondering if you would base the % off of a training max or real one? I’ve always liked working submaximally to focus on adding lots of reps before progressing in weight to allow the body to really “own” that weight. Once the 8 weeks is finished would you just adjust the tm up 10lb for lower body and 5lb for upper and start again? How could I use this for long term progression?


W1: Main lift - 5 x 3 @ 80% / Assistance - 4 x 8 / Power clean-3RM
W2: Main lift - 5 x 4 @ 80% / Assistance - 2 x 6, 2 x 10 / Power clean 2RM
W3: Main lift - 5 x 5 @ 80% / Assistance - 4 x 6 / Power clean 1RM
W4: Main lift - 5 x 6 @ 80% / Assistance - 3 x 4 / Power clean 4 x 3 @ 80% of last week 1RM


W5: Main lift - 5 x 3 @ 85% / Assistance - 4 x 6 / Hang clean 3RM
W6: Main lift - 5 x 4 @ 85% / Assistance - 2 x 4, 2 x 8 / Hang clean 2RM
W7: Main lift - 5 x 5 @ 85% / Assistance - 4 x 4 / Hang clean 1RM
W8: Main lift - 5 x 6 @ 85% / Assistance - 2 x 2 / Hang clean 4 x 3 @ 80% of last week


I’ve been reading CTs work for years and I feel comfortable in saying it’s your actual one rep max and not a training max.


I am sorry but I have to disagree. CT advocates a training max, a weight you can hit solidly 95% of the time, because a true 1RM will happen once in a blue moon, on a magical day where everything went perfectly etc thus as the program continues the weight prescribed might not be doable or with an improper form. I quote him, from his Facebook page (28th of february):

" In the world of training we often confuse personal record (PR) with personal best (PB).

The PR, to me is almost worthless when it comes to planning training sessions and progressions while the PB can be really useful. In fact using your PR to establish progression and which weights to use for your sessions can do more harm than good. Let me explain.

A PR is the most weight you moved in a lift. Form doesn’t matter as long as it went up and respected the rules (e.g. if you lift you butt off of the bench in a bench press it doesn’t count). It can be an ugly lift but if you complete it, it counts as a PR

A PB is the best you can do with perfect form and that you can repeat, which is why I call it a personal “best”, whereas the PR is often a one-shot deal.

The problem is that a PR that was done with improper form, or on a magical day where everything went right, can give you a false sense of where you are at, strength wise. And this can result in an erroneous selection of training weights and unrealistic progression expectations.

If you base your decisions (how much weight to use, how much to add at every session) on a lift done with bad form, mostly out of pure pride, you will hit the wall really fast. You should use the heaviest lift you can do with PERFECT form to evaluate your true strength."


That part is true, yes, but if the OP is looking to calculate a routine based off of 80%, or whatever it is, unlike Wendler, he does not advocate 85% ( or any percentage ) of your 1rm to be your “training max”. That’s what I was getting at.
80% of your personal best should be doable. And flawless.