I think it depends on what you are accustomed to and what sort of PRs you are going for. Testing your 1rm on a regular basis is not really a bright idea, aside from injury risk you also accumulate a lot of fatigue and it will slow your progress. Rep PRs or non-maximal singles (assuming you have gotten so much stronger that 5-10lbs over you old 1rm is no longer a max) is not really risky as long as you don’t push too close to failure and you are used to that style of training. If your rarely go over 80% in training and do mostly 3’s and 2’s then you could be asking for trouble if you go for a rep max or a singe that is well above the weights you have handled recently.
Personally, I have blocks of training where I work up to a single at about 90-95% of my 1rm and then do volume work after. It’s an effective way to peak for a meet and makes the weights at the meet seem much less intimidating. Also, Sheiko has mentioned that the max effort method (which they define as lifts at 90%+ of 1rm) is the most effective way of increasing strength, he just doesn’t use it due to the perceived injury risk. However, there was a copy of a training cycle that he wrote for Yuri Fedorenko (no longer available from what I can see) that did include days with multiple singles on the competition lifts.
Mike Tuchscherer made a recent post on Facebook on this, in response to Boris Sheiko advising against such methods, it’s worth checking out. Here’s a couple of excerpts:
“There’s nothing special about 90% loads that makes them especially taxing to the lifter. It’s the high psychological arousal that is highly taxing. And it’s not hard to see that if you look at the context. Coach Sheiko plans the bulk of his training loads in the 70-85% range. They go beyond 85% once in a training cycle usually. So for them, a single at 90% or 95% is heavier than they’ve gone in several months. So even loading that on the bar is going to get their heart pumping and palms sweating a little. Yes, in this case the 90% load will be more stressful, but it’s because of the psychological arousal. It’s because the athlete isn’t used to it.
On the other hand, there are coaches like me who frequently program x1 at 8RPE which works out to be 92-93% typically. My athletes can handle this every week and show no signs of the dreaded “overtraining”. In the very beginning (first couple of weeks), they will be a bit stressed out by the experience, but after a while, it becomes normal.”
“Training with these loads provides several benefits to the lifters. It’s highly, highly specific. It’s training the competition lift with loads that will be seen in competition. If the lifter is adequately prepared for this from a technical standpoint, then this provides a great training value. The movements and loads are similar to what is faced in competition. The athlete can expect to improve the finer points of technical execution as they gain experience at higher loads. They can improve the neural aspects of strength as well – tightness, positioning, inter/intra muscular coordination, rate coding, etc. It is sport form development – improvements in strength and technical proficiency at the loads that matter most.”
On the other hand, if you have a different style of training that works for you then you can stick with it. I don’t know how to write an effective program in the Russian style so I do what I know.