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Improving 1RM Numbers - Rep Schemes?


Would training within larger rep range numbers significantly improve a 1RM lift, as opposed to working within lower rep schemes?

i.e. using 75-80% of a max for sets of 6-8 reps as opposed to using 90-95% for sets of 2-3 reps.


Getting bigger and stronger is a pretty good way to increase your lifts.


I mean, that's implicit...

Didn't mean for that to sound argumentative. I just felt my question was a little more specific.


I don't know the answer to your question. Rarely is anything in bodybuilding, or powerlifting, or anything related ever that cut and dry, even when only dealing with one person. There is not a perfect rep range.

What DOES work 100% of the time is getting bigger and stronger. If you can do 6-8 reps with 225 on the bench, and in six months you can do 6-8 reps with 275, do you think your 1RM will have increased? If you can do 1-3 reps with 225 benching, and in six months you can do 1-3 reps...see what I mean?

I understand that there is some appeal to using fancy math and calculations, trying to be efficient and "smart" about your training, but your body does NOT know what you are doing. Your muscles aren't saying "oh man is he using 90% of our max? What a N3WB let's not grow at all until he decreases it by 20%!"


Fair enough.

It's not necessarily the appeal of numbers...it's understanding why my bench went up, rather than just watching it happen. If my bench isn't going up, I'd like a way to address it.

I'm not crunching shit in my head when I'm training. Whether someone answers this question exactly or not won't affect whether I get in the gym or not. It was honestly just a question about how a certain scheme might affect a measure of strength.


There's a place for both rep ranges. Wendler pretty much hits the nail on the head with a tiered approach....so your top sets are 85% week 1, 90 week 2, and 95 week 3.

To answer your question directly, I ask you another (fairly obvious) question. Let's say you are given 2 months to improve your 1RM on squat and deadlift by 40 lb each, or else your entire family will be killed. What rep ranges are you going to train in for those 2 months?

IMHO, improving your 1rm will do more for your 8rm than the other way around; however, the optimal way to increase your 6-8 RM is to train in the 6-8 rep range, while the optimal way to increase 1RM is the lower rep ranges. The thing about a 1RM is, to lift more weight, it is something your body has never done before...ever. Your nervous system has to adjust to the new stimulus. You need to push that at some point.

God, I hope I made some sense here. It sounded good in my head =/


Holy quadriceps batman!


No, that definitely makes sense. Good point regarding the nervous system component of 1RM lifts. I think I'll continue to work within lower ranges for strength gains.


Lower rep ranges are far more efficient for boosting strength at the top end of the strength pyramid.....though, rotating between at least slightly different set/rep ranges can still be useful.

Simply by rotating between lets say: 3x7>>>>3x5>>>>>5x3>>>>3x3 with progressively heavier weights can allow you to progress pretty much indefinitely providing you are recovering & eating sufficiently.