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Progression Question, Waterbury Related


Ive recently learned that i know nothing about anything...

Ive been reading muscle revolution and plan on using parts of his routines in my own. Im mainly interested in his total body training routine because its full body workouts 3 days a week.

Q 1. there are a large variety of exercises invlolved and i want to get an idea of my 1 RM's. Are the calculators a pretty good starting off point and if so what rep range should i shoot for in the gym to plug into it?

Q 2. This Q can apply to any program's progression, but I have the TBT program in mind. When i get to the the end i can start over or move to a different program. Would it be wise to reavaluate my 1 RM again or just keep progressing by 2%?

I'm probably just getting too wrapped up in his science. I dont think i have ever utilized a good plan for progression so let me know what you think about progression, rep ranges, and periodization, anything really.


Q1: All calculators are flawed. The BEST I’ve seen is that your 3rm is 90%, and your 5rm is 85% of your 1rm, but both of these are really, really sketchy and suck both for beginners and advanced trainees.

Best thing to do is guess the weight you think you should use. If it’s too light, up it. If you can’t complete the set… rest-pause it.

Q2: Once you finish, you can do anything you want to. Do the program over again if you’re still enthused. But more likely, you’ll be somewhat bored of it and want to try something different.

Don’t get locked into 2%. Sometimes your growth will be much more than that. Sometimes it will be cyclical (cycles with specific periods of overeaching followed by active recovery and an incredible supercompensation).

It’s good that you’re thinking about progression. I noticed a distinct improvement in my training once I stopped lifting for the hell of it and started planning out my goals and methods.

One caveat though- focus more on binary progression than a specific percentage improvement. If I can do more weight, or more reps, or more sets, or with shorter rest periods, it’s progress. Do not search for optimal progression, or be overly concerned with percents. Just make progress steadily.

Or, as long as you’re on Waterbury’s program, use his progressions. It’s a well-made program.

  1. Those calculators are okay. There was an interesting article on here a few weeks back on a different method you could use to calculate your RMs.


  1. I believe you are just supposed to keep progressing by 2%. Even if the weight is little light the first week, it works itself out after a session or two.

Even if you don’t know your 1 RM, you can always use an educated guess at the weight you should be using and then adjust accordingly. If you’re supposed to do 4x6 and on the second set you can barely get 5 reps, then lighten the weight up some. If you do 6 reps and it feels like you can do 3-4 reps more easily, then it’s too light.