T Nation

How Often are You Really Hitting Rep PRs?

We all know you can’t hit rep PRs every session, otherwise your theoretical 1RM would always be climbing. I would love that to be the case, but it’s not. So how often do you set a rep PR, especially if you’ve been training 5/3/1 for an extended period of time.

if you only try to break your previous rep PR by 1 rep you can break them frequently.

If every session is an AMRAP then you’ll only set new PRs when you’re havig a great day.

I set mine up

1rm
2rm
3rm

15rm+

So as the money reps get lower, the rep range gets lower, so by the time I get back to the higher reps I have gotten much stronger. I get rep PRs every session some cycles

[quote]some_dude wrote:
if you only try to break your previous rep PR by 1 rep you can break them frequently.

If every session is an AMRAP then you’ll only set new PRs when you’re havig a great day.[/quote]

Pretty much this.

Like Jim has mentioned, the day before (or earlier), I always look back and see how many reps I got last time I did a weight (or a similar weight). I set my goal on 1 more rep but have a number a few reps higher as in mind as well. If get 1 more, great. If I get the higher number, even better. If I hit the same as previous that’s okay. If I hit less, that’s still probably okay, but I look into why I think it happened.

I rarely hit less than my previous reps.

[quote]corndiggity wrote:

[quote]some_dude wrote:
if you only try to break your previous rep PR by 1 rep you can break them frequently.

If every session is an AMRAP then you’ll only set new PRs when you’re havig a great day.[/quote]

Pretty much this.

Like Jim has mentioned, the day before (or earlier), I always look back and see how many reps I got last time I did a weight (or a similar weight). I set my goal on 1 more rep but have a number a few reps higher as in mind as well. If get 1 more, great. If I get the higher number, even better. If I hit the same as previous that’s okay. If I hit less, that’s still probably okay, but I look into why I think it happened.

I rarely hit less than my previous reps.[/quote]

Pretty much this. I will go into any AMRAP set with a rep range in mind. The lower end being the highest I’ve ever done with that weight, the upper end being a few higher, depending how I’m feeling that day. I’ve never failed to hit the lower end.

I hit them as long as I’m being consistent (goals, food, sleep, recovery, etc.). If I’m not being consistent I don’t really hit much. Keeps me motivated outside of the gym.

[quote]some_dude wrote:
if you only try to break your previous rep PR by 1 rep you can break them frequently.

If every session is an AMRAP then you’ll only set new PRs when you’re havig a great day.[/quote]

What’s the difference, really? To break PRs, you basically have to AMRAP and have a good day. Am I missing something here?

Also, I know I shouldn’t, but I try to continue and push my theoretical 1RM. My spreadsheet auto calculates it every workout, so if I’m not surpassing that, especially for consecutive sessions, I get a bit demoralized. Then again, I try to remember it’s not always possible to progress, and often it comes and goes in waves.

I like hitting rep PRs whenever I can, though I coast sometimes on the 5’s or 3’s week.

The 5/3/1 week however I never coast. That is when I look at the log and say “okay, last cycle I hit X weight for Y reps, so that’s what I need to beat,” and go for it. Never take anything to failure of course, especially since I train alone.

[quote]IronOne wrote:
What’s the difference, really? To break PRs, you basically have to AMRAP and have a good day. Am I missing something here?
[/quote]

I would strongly, strongly disagree on this. If I’m not hitting a rep PR, or at least equaling one, it’s because somethings gone drastically wrong.

[quote]TX iron wrote:
Never take anything to failure of course, especially since I train alone.[/quote]

I train alone with no safety bars or easy ways to dump the load if I fail. It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “never go to failure”.

[quote]some_dude wrote:
if you only try to break your previous rep PR by 1 rep you can break them frequently.

If every session is an AMRAP then you’ll only set new PRs when you’re havig a great day.[/quote]

Bingo. Beat rep records by 1 rep or 5 lbs and you’ll consistently climb. PR’s are not about testing how strong you are, they are about doing better than you’ve done previously.

In order for this to work you have to eat and recover to get strong as fuck.

[quote]dagill2 wrote:

[quote]TX iron wrote:
Never take anything to failure of course, especially since I train alone.[/quote]

I train alone with no safety bars or easy ways to dump the load if I fail. It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “never go to failure”.[/quote]

Haha, yeah I feel ya. The fear of being pinned under a bar in my rural garage is great motivation to keep my training responsible. It also keeps jokers in their place.

[quote]dagill2 wrote:

[quote]IronOne wrote:
What’s the difference, really? To break PRs, you basically have to AMRAP and have a good day. Am I missing something here?
[/quote]

I would strongly, strongly disagree on this. If I’m not hitting a rep PR, or at least equaling one, it’s because somethings gone drastically wrong.[/quote]

I understand what you’re saying, but it’s just not possible to always PR. Of course you left yourself an out there saying “or at least equaling one.”

2 weeks in a row my bench did not PR. For instance, couple weeks ago on my 3s week I hit 225x10. Today on my 5s week I only managed 215x10. Thought 215x11 would go and just barely missed it at lock out. Now, I quit a long time creatine protocol in the last 2 weeks and traveled all last week, so I’m blaming this, but it still concerns me.

Just curious if others see “down periods.” Weirdly I’m fresh off a deload. Thought I would crush weight.

[quote]IronOne wrote:
a couple weeks ago on my 3s week I hit 225x10. [/quote]

I’ll use this an example of what I mean…

Version 1
Let’s say my previous rep PR with 225 was 5 reps. Then this week I’m having an awesome week and I AMRAP 10 reps. Then the next time I bench 225 I’m having a shitty day and only manage 7 reps. Now I’m all depressed because my bench sucks.

Version 2
Let’s say my previous rep PR with 225 was 5 reps. Then this week I’m having an awesome week and cut my set off a 6 reps, then the next time I bench 225 I’m having a shitty day but still manage 7 reps. Now I just had a shitty day but I’m still happy because I set a new PR. Further, the next time I only need 8 reps, the time after that 9 reps and the time after that 10 reps.

In version 2 I’ve allowed myself to set 5 separate rep PRs while in version one I only managed 1.

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[quote]some_dude wrote:

[quote]IronOne wrote:
a couple weeks ago on my 3s week I hit 225x10. [/quote]

I’ll use this an example of what I mean…

Version 1
Let’s say my previous rep PR with 225 was 5 reps. Then this week I’m having an awesome week and I AMRAP 10 reps. Then the next time I bench 225 I’m having a shitty day and only manage 7 reps. Now I’m all depressed because my bench sucks.

Version 2
Let’s say my previous rep PR with 225 was 5 reps. Then this week I’m having an awesome week and cut my set off a 6 reps, then the next time I bench 225 I’m having a shitty day but still manage 7 reps. Now I just had a shitty day but I’m still happy because I set a new PR. Further, the next time I only need 8 reps, the time after that 9 reps and the time after that 10 reps.

In version 2 I’ve allowed myself to set 5 separate rep PRs while in version one I only managed 1.

[/quote]

Why would you not take advantage of a great day in version 1? Of course still stay shy of failure.

[quote]some_dude wrote:

[quote]IronOne wrote:
a couple weeks ago on my 3s week I hit 225x10. [/quote]

I’ll use this an example of what I mean…

Version 1
Let’s say my previous rep PR with 225 was 5 reps. Then this week I’m having an awesome week and I AMRAP 10 reps. Then the next time I bench 225 I’m having a shitty day and only manage 7 reps. Now I’m all depressed because my bench sucks.

Version 2
Let’s say my previous rep PR with 225 was 5 reps. Then this week I’m having an awesome week and cut my set off a 6 reps, then the next time I bench 225 I’m having a shitty day but still manage 7 reps. Now I just had a shitty day but I’m still happy because I set a new PR. Further, the next time I only need 8 reps, the time after that 9 reps and the time after that 10 reps.

In version 2 I’ve allowed myself to set 5 separate rep PRs while in version one I only managed 1.

[/quote]

And you get it. This is what I jokingly call the Russian PR system. I doubt I need to explain this.

Always have the exact goal in your head to PR. This should be mapped out at least a week in advance to allow proper visualization and mental prep. While sometimes you should to a bit crazy, the PR can always be broken if you are smart. Well, not always but many times.

As stated 120000000 times before, there is a time and place to put your balls on the line and train for mental strength (aka like in the article about Training your Effort). This is especially important for people who don’t have a sport background last high school. Same as some of the crazy shit I learned from Podda - dude is sincerely in another world, as far as mental strength.

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[quote]IronOne wrote:

Why would you not take advantage of a great day in version 1? Of course still stay shy of failure.
[/quote]

after awhile you stop focusing on having a great day and aim to have a great month.

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[quote]some_dude wrote:

[quote]IronOne wrote:

Why would you not take advantage of a great day in version 1? Of course still stay shy of failure.
[/quote]

After awhile you stop focusing on having a great day and aim to have a great month.[/quote]

Yeah I probably need to stop redlining it so often through AMRAP on the + set.

I just want that PR so bad, and puch my theoretical 1RM.

Too shortsighted though. Thanks all.

[/quote] after awhile you stop focusing on having a great day and aim to have a great month.[/quote]

This is something I discovered last fall.

I know this is posted in the 5/3/1 section, but doesn’t Louie Simmons say you should be hitting PR’s every session. I don’t mean 1 rep PR’s but a PR on something even if it is an accessory. I apply this to every session I have. I look at my log and make sure I go one better on at least on exercise whether that be more weight or more reps on either the main movement or assistance work.

If I fail to achieve that. Then I look back at what I ate for the day and how long I slept etc… usually something is a little off.