T Nation

Newbie Periodization Question

I’ve been doing my good ol’ 3x8 2-day split routine for a while now, and I’m thinking it’s time for a change. I am leaning towards Waterbury’s TBT routine, or a routine with similar exercises which implements periodization.

The thing that I am wondering is, how do you pre-emptively figure out how much weight to push? I feel like I spent weeks just dicking around with weights to figure out how much load to use. In TBT, Chad says, “Choose a weight that forces you to near-failure for the last rep of the last set”. But how do I know how much poundage that translates to for 3x5 or 2x15 or 3x18? Is there a mathematical formula that I can use to “guesstimate”?

Thanks so much, and sorry about asking such a newbie question, I’m just really lost on this!

You can use a 1RM calculator (google it, there’s a few out there somewhere) to estimate your 1RM in an exercise with the current reps you were doing, then use it to figure out how much you might want to start with.

Also, don’t be afraid to vary a couple of reps. If you get to that last rep of the last set and can still do a few more, then go ahead and do them and know that you might need to up the weight on the next workout. Or if you finish the first set and realize you aren’t going to hit all the reps, either back the weight off a little or just do a few less reps.

I think mostly just as you get experience you’ll start to figure this out.

I think i can help you. Say you’re doing warmups, before attempting a 3x12 weight for rows (or whatever), you should select a weight you can do about 20 times, and do reps with that, and gradually increase the weight until you find just the right weight for your work sets, which comply with ‘close but not at failure’