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Squats: How to Gauge Intensity?

One point doing percentages is that you don’t have to ever do a 1 rep max again. Just calculate what your max would be based on the weight and number of reps you can do with it. If someone asks what you can max at, get them your calculated max.

IMO, the only reason for doing 1 rep max is for competing in a meet, and then you are most interested in doing your opener.

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What is your goal?

I have never used percentages for any programming. If the goal is hypertrophy they are unnecessary and in my opinion a waste.

Do you train at home or gym? You can place them later in a session and go as hard as you like.

…read a bunch of Dan John articles.
This in particular below gives great results and you go nowhere near failure most of the time(still need to work hard)…

I’m training at home.

First goal is to complete 1 year of progressive overload training.

I’m around the 3 month point now. I weigh around 140 lbs. I started squats with 120 lbs, 3 sets, 10 reps. But I adjusted that for more strength training to do 150 lbs. 3 sets, 5 reps. 3 days per week. Squats are part of a basic 6 barbell lift workout, full body, each day. Progression wise I took 150 from 5 to 7 reps, last workout I added an extra set. Then, last week I progressed to 160 and reset the reps back to 5.

Second goal is to see some new muscle mass.

So far I’ve gained maybe 4 lbs of muscle. It’s hard to say exactly. With eating more, there is probably 1 lb. of fat in that gain. 10 lbs. of solid muscle would be nice. The gains seem slow, but then again I have gone through that many stages of progression. I should probably ignore the measurements for now and focus on the steady progressions… and watch out that my waistline doesn’t suddenly blow up from bad overeating.

Hello. I dont train to failure but in my short lifting experience I failed many squats, about 120 kg last week, without a rack that has safety bars. When I cant get up, I simply kneel, then bend slowly and put the bar on the lowest handle of the rack. With a rack with safety bars I imagine no disasters would happen as long as you dont go stubborn to finish the rep and let it go. I wouldnt worry about it.

This sounds like a better emergency recovery than planned COA

Failure is not really a relative term. Failure means can’t do another rep. People bastardize things but if you can do another rep then no you haven’t reached failure. You can beyond failure and add intensifiers buts that’s a different ball game.