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Strongest on 3rd Set?

Coach I’ve noticed this a few times in my training. Say I am doing 85% for 3 sets on squats. And I get…

Set 1 - 4 reps RPE 9
Set 2 - 4 reps RPE 9
Set 3 - 6 reps RPE 9

Is there an obvious reason for being strongest on last set?

Not warming up correctly or not getting CNS ready…

What can I do to fix this so my 1st set is the strongest and the one I get the most reps on?

Thank you

Obviously not CT so feel free to dismiss my advice, but maybe an overwarmup - a single or double at 90%. Makes the first set feel lighter.


What does your warm-up sets look like?

I normally go by how I’m feeling that day but usually it looks like this if I’m working up to 3 or more sets of 85%…

85%x 3x4-6 reps

Might be either not enough activation or the joints not properly warmed up. I mean, literally, these are the only 2 reasons why performance would be better in later sets.

Try this strategy for fun…

Prior to your 1st workout set, do a heavier single.

For example in your example, your last preparation set is 85% x 1 (1 rep with your work sets weight).

After the 85% x 1, do 90-92.5% x 1 … then go back down to 85% for your first work set (rest normally after your set of 90-92,5%).

If suboptimal activation is the issue, this should fix it.

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Thank you. I will try this today!

Keep me posted. If it doesn’t change anything we’ll try different options

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Thanks coach!

I did it tonight with a single at 90% and then dropped down to 85%…

I got 6,5,4 reps on my 3 working sets. So my 1st set was strongest now.

Thanks as always for your help!

Glad to hear! Yeah, it was a pretty easy fix as lack of activation was the most likely cause.

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Gotta say, it’s really awesome for a coach of your caliber to be legitimately responding and following up to people’s questions on a forum like this. Lot of respect for the advice you give people