T Nation

Question/Disagreement for Bill Roberts

In a previous post concerning rep ranges, you said, “Even this is often pretty far off. It’s better to talk in terms of 1RM – percent of weight you can lift for 1 rep in good form. You’ll see some drastic differences: one guy, on seated calf raise, will get 20 reps with 60% 1RM, and another will get 8… both are achieving the same training objective, and the guy who only gets 8, should not drop the weight further to try to get 20.”

I agree with your illustration above. For example: When doing bicep curls person A (who has lots of FT fibers and/or is neurologically efficient) will be able to do fewer reps with 80% of their 1RM than person B who has a majority of ST fibers and/or is neurologically ineffecient. That brings me too my question, how if both are lifting the same % of their 1 RM achieve the same training effect when one is potentially working more MUs and/or recruiting a different kind of fiber? This also brings the issue of time under tension as unless performed at different tempos the TUT would be drastically different. What am I missing/not getting? Personally, I would argue that assigning a % of RM for an athlete could only be done properly when a coach (or the athlete himself) know that athlete well enough (in a training sense to know the number of reps, TUT, etc. that will be achieved with it.

Thanks for your time, and of course the ton of info you provide for this board.-


By “same training effect,” both guys training at the same %1RM, I meant, fits into the training plan the same way, is intended to
accomplish the same general purposes.

But, you are right that that certainly can’t
be carried too far to mean same effect in every way. No doubt, the guy who has a lot of Type I’s who is doing 20 reps, is experiencing different things and getting some different
results than the guy with predominantly Type II getting 8 reps from the same percent 1RM.

But in terms of devising training cycles,
in my opinion they’re way closer to doing
“the same thing” both training at 60% of
their 1RM, than if both are doing 20 reps
or both are doing 8 reps.

Keeping reps the same, as opposed to %1RM,
makes things very much more different and
often completely inappropriate.