T Nation

Set Intensity for Gaining Strength?


I’ve been following programs where they specify like a 5 RM at 80% for example and I was wondering since its 80% does that mean I should be completing the 5 reps without any grind? Should I ever be grinding through the last few reps or grinding at all on the reps?

Thanks, Sorry I’m kinda new to all this


The correlation between percentage of max and number of reps you can get is variable from person to person, lift to lift, and probably for a given lifter over time. That said, most estimates put a 5RM closer to 85% on average (for men, at least). I’d say that if you have trouble getting 5 reps at 80% that’s uncommon. What it means (if anything of significance) and what you should do about it (if anything) are questions that are difficult to answer without more context and understanding of your goals.


Well basically I am following this Bulgarian modified split training here: https://www.T-Nation.com/workouts/bulgarian-training-simplified

I mostly just wonder if grinding out reps is always best? I often find myself killing the first set or 2 then becoming more gased out on the 3rd, 4th and 5th sets.

When you mention getting 85% could I just calculate this from my 1RM? So if i can do 200lb bench then 85% of that would be 170lb so if i am trying to do a 5RM at 85% I do 5 reps at 175lb? If for instance I couldn’t do that fully and I have to really grind it out and push hard on the last rep should I stay at this weight rather then drop down a little?


Rest longer.