T Nation

RPE on High Pulls vs. Presses

Hey Coach,

I’ve always noticed that my upper body gains always seem to stall before my lower body gains and now that I finished the 3rd week of your layer system I just started to see signs of that again. Was able to hit PR’s (either in reps or max ramp weight) each week on the high pulls and deadlifts. But last week, I PR’d the reps on the cluster/hdl of the slight decline, but saw a decrease in performance on the slight incline.

My question. On all my lower body work I never seem to push myself past an RPE of 8-9 during any of the layers (I guess it just feels safer this way as I’m worried I might push my back too hard and cause an injury going any further).

On my upper body work I tend to find myself pushing toward an RPE of 10 (sometimes missing the last press on one of the clusters sets or HDL sets, again, missing a bench rep doesn’t seem as scary as missing a deadlift…). Is it possible that pushing that hard is causing too much CNS stress and stalling out progress on my upper body faster?

I also just read today about your suggestions on cycling the layer approach and will be using that this week. So it could just be that…

Thanks for all your help!

Greg

[quote]ggarrett wrote:
Hey Coach,

I’ve always noticed that my upper body gains always seem to stall before my lower body gains and now that I finished the 3rd week of your layer system I just started to see signs of that again. Was able to hit PR’s (either in reps or max ramp weight) each week on the high pulls and deadlifts. But last week, I PR’d the reps on the cluster/hdl of the slight decline, but saw a decrease in performance on the slight incline.

My question. On all my lower body work I never seem to push myself past an RPE of 8-9 during any of the layers (I guess it just feels safer this way as I’m worried I might push my back too hard and cause an injury going any further).

On my upper body work I tend to find myself pushing toward an RPE of 10 (sometimes missing the last press on one of the clusters sets or HDL sets, again, missing a bench rep doesn’t seem as scary as missing a deadlift…). Is it possible that pushing that hard is causing too much CNS stress and stalling out progress on my upper body faster?

I also just read today about your suggestions on cycling the layer approach and will be using that this week. So it could just be that…

Thanks for all your help!

Greg [/quote]

Oh yes, it is totally possible.And do not forget that pressing movements have a lot longer time under muscle tension as high pulls (in which you basically give one powerful tug over less than one second) so each rep probably has the stress of 3-4 high pull reps.

Furthermore the load is distributed on much less muscle mass during presses which might tax these muscles more than high pulls and deads.