T Nation

Progression Percentages

I’ve been reading a few different programs and one thing they have in common is 4 week blocks of going up in in a percentage range of your 1 rep max.

Could some one explain why its better to do 70 percent of your 1 rep max for 5 x 5 sets or 7x4 etc instead of just lifting as much as you can then decreasing the reps and increasing the weight?

Could you clarify this bit?

[quote]sotrue wrote:
…instead of just lifting as much as you can then decreasing the reps and increasing the weight?[/quote]

I may be reading this wrong, but if you lift as much as you can then how are you supposed to increase the weight any further?

If I am lifting as much as i can for 5 reps, should be able to lift more for 3 reps, so that would require me to up the weight.
So why lift 70 percent of my 1rpm for 5 reps when I can do 10 reps of that weight.

Which program are you referring to?

Power body building and 5,3,1 are percentage based from what I’ve read, I like the idea of power body building and plan to try that at the end of my program in two months.

No, the specific one where the 70% example came from.

With 5/3/1, the basic idea is: Always ramp up to one top end set. Use the earlier sets as warm ups/neural tonics and only go all out on the last set. Now, to give the body variety to deal with, cycle through the intensities & rep ranges. Then, deload every fourth week to give your joints a break. So three elements.

If all you did for the rest of your life would be 5 reps with 70% of your 1RM you’d get nowhere, but I do not know the context of your example. Maybe it was part of the warm up or it was programmed in for an ‘easy’ recovery week? Again, more context please.

To answer the original question: When you’re more advanced it can be a good idea to plan your itensity. Often, going through the wall 100% of the time will leave you with nothing but a bruised head. Percentage-based progressions give you harder and easier days and weeks to maximise recovery and peak days - that is their forte. Of course, all of this is more crucial for powerlifters and olympic lifters since a bodybuilder does not chase performance as his primary goal…

[quote]sotrue wrote:
If I am lifting as much as i can for 5 reps, should be able to lift more for 3 reps, so that would require me to up the weight.
So why lift 70 percent of my 1rpm for 5 reps when I can do 10 reps of that weight.[/quote]

Can’t speak as to power body building, but as nighthawkz said, in 5/3/1 the last set is all out, so you would do the full ten reps. That’s why the program says the last set is always written as 5+, 3+ or 1+.

[quote]sotrue wrote:
I’ve been reading a few different programs and one thing they have in common is 4 week blocks of going up in in a percentage range of your 1 rep max.

Could some one explain why its better to do 70 percent of your 1 rep max for 5 x 5 sets or 7x4 etc instead of just lifting as much as you can then decreasing the reps and increasing the weight?[/quote]
This is actually a pretty complex question and for a number of reasons.
You see doing 5 sets of 5 reps at the same weight is very different to doing 1 set of 5 reps at the same weight.

If you ramp up (use lighter weights then build up to top weight) you will always lift a higher maximum weight. But what if your goal wasn’t to lift the most weight but to get more hypertrophy?

Well then 5 sets of 5 reps at the same weight would make more sense. Obviously you couldn’t go as heavy. It is just not possible so somewhere along the line percentages come into play. Just how much weight can we lift for x amount of reps over x amount of sets.
So this is how percentages come into it.

Getting the right weight for the right number of sets and reps is important to lifters who have been at it for a number of years however if you are just starting out then percentages are the last thing you need to worry about.

If you are a beginner then forget about percentages and just think in terms of reps.
Common rep schemes are 3-5 for strength. 8-10 for hypertrophy and 15-20 for strength endurance. This is a generalisation but works well on beginners programs.

Thanks for the info