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Changing Work Weight Each Set/Week, Bar Speed vs Weight

Recently I’ve change from 531 with very prescriptive weights scheme and often one work set. To a perceived rate of exertion scheme with multiple sets. And I’ve got some questions that I really feel like I know the answer to. But I wondered if anyone else had any thoughts on them.

To start with - mixing up the working weight.
What I mean is say I’ve got - 6 sets of 3 PRE of 8-10 on a lift.
I might aim for 100kg. I do set 3 or 4 sets and its still feeling too easy. So I add 10kg.
In my head part of me says the “set counter” has been reset to 0. As all working sets should be the same weight. I know this is silly. But I’m not the only one? Am I?

Also - I’ve kind of be using this method to make marginal gains. For example - if I were doing 6x3, Week 1 all 100kg.
Week 2, Sets 1-3 95KG, sets 4-6 105kg. Same volume. but higher weight.
Week 3 Set 1-3 100kg, sets 4-6 10kg.
Week 4 All 105kg.

I guess this has all be done before and there is a “name” for this kind of method. I just wondered if anyone had any experience of using it.

And lastly - weight over / bar speed.
Obviously there is a sweet spot for weight and bar speed. But I was adding weight to the bar between sets a few days ago. After the set it struck me that I had REALLY slowed down. For the sake of a 5% increase in weight.
So I guess what I’m asking is - how much speed would you sacrifice to get the weight on the bar?

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A Westside inspired setup might look like

Week 1: 95 x 3 reps x 6 sets
Week 2 : 100 x 3 reps x 6 sets
Week 3: 105 x 3 reps x 4 sets (or maybe 105 x 2 reps x 6 sets)

Week 4: 100 x 3 reps x 6 sets
Week 5: 105 x 3 x 6 sets
Week 6: 110 x 3 x 4 sets (or maybe 110 x 2 reps x 6 sets)

Ideally the whole thing would be RPE 8, and if the weights felt too light you’d just blast them faster with smoother technique. And shorter rest periods. Slow and steady gains and a workout that doesn’t mess with your max effort day.

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There is a Sweet Spot for weight vs bar speed. Like you said, the lighter weight moves faster, so you’re generating force in excess of the weight on the bar. Pushing a heavier weight, slower Might mean that you’re generating Less force. Like you’ve moved out of the Sweet Spot (optimal weights) and now you’re lifting too heavy.

If the weights are heavier, the “Sweet Spot” for volume is lower. But if you do the higher volume workout with the bigger weights you’ll exceed the Sweet Spot. Or you’ll be training maximally instead of optimally. You wouldn’t die, but this excessive workload could be more than you can recover from, and it could mess up your other workouts.

Power is work divided by time, so if you up the weights but rest longer you’re generating Less Power.

Theoretically, less force and less power and less power mean you’re going backwards. In theory, you could lift more, but get weaker. So don’t rush to add weight.


Yeah I think I’m learning this the “old fashion route”. As in living it. I added a bit of weight and then really felt the speed drop and wondered if the extra weight was doing any good. Or if it was vanity.

This is my issue. Always looking for a tangible PR.

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If what you’re doing is working, it can’t be “wrong.” It doesn’t look crazy or way out of line. I won’t say 5kg here and there will definitely cause disaster. But like you felt, it is possible for the extra weight to mess things up, so be aware.

If it’s heavy enough to change your bar path you’re just ingraining whack technique. If you can’t recover by max effort day you’re messing up the program. If your results do start to suffer and workload is inconsistent it’s hard for your coach to know if its a programming issue or a “you” issue.

It’s cool to set PRs, but the real point of the lighter, high volume day is to allow yourself to recover from Max Effort day while still getting some effective work in. So just remember to set minimum PRs, like just a tiny bit more tonnage than last time.

Or consciously chill on the main work and just break a record on an important assistance lift on DE day.

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