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Looking for Programs, Not Percentage Based


What are some good programs that are not percentage based. At least not to the extent of 5/3/1. Working up to a top set then using a percentage is not a problem. Looking to try something new.


Deep Water has you only figure out percentages twice. 70% of your 10rm and 80%.

Edit; I should clarify that is for the first 12 weeks. The final 6 is the working up to topset you are describing.




Check out some of Dan John’s workout programs.


Is this your only requirement? Do you care about splits/fullbody, days per week, etc?


What’s your goal, other than “something new”? Basically no hypertrophy-focused routines are percentage based. So this is a basic way to plan it. Waterbury’s work on total volume instead of sets/reps is another way to approach it.

Something like Thib’s Layer System isn’t percentage-based in the usual sense. You work up to a daily weight, then do work based off that (so, technically percentages based off a kind of everyday max, but you could just as easily skip the math and just go “lighter-but-still-heavy” and “even lighter than that”).


I think the following 2 approaches would work for you:

  1. Double progression

  2. Work up to a daily max and then do 3-10 back off sets. The sets/reps of the back-off sets would be based on your goals (ex: 5x10 for size, 5x3 for strength, etc).

I’m not a percentage based person either, but I know whats LIGHT, MEDIUM, HEAVY. This will help you out a lot.


What is your current strength level and how long have you been training for?


Plenty of successful current and plenty school folks made amazing progress while never needing a calculator too complicated.

I’ve helped countless BBs and athletes and rarely have to go beyond:

Use a well thought out split/plan
Work hard
Incorporate a variety of rep ranges