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Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

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Old 12-23-2009, 12:00 PM   #11
Donald Lee
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Re: 5RM versus 5x5 calculation

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Originally Posted by Frank Riley View Post
Looks like you've discovered relative intensity through experience. The relative intensities for the absolute intensities you've given are as follows:

3x3 - 92-97%
3x5 - 91-97%
5x5 - 85-91%

Maximum strength development is in the 90-100% relative intensity areas, and you're using progression by starting in lower intensities and moving up. Good job.
What do you mean by relative intensity? Do you mean something like RPE?
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Old 12-23-2009, 12:53 PM   #12
Jacob Cloud
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Re: 5RM versus 5x5 calculation

At least in regards to squats, my 5x5 (or 3x5) weight is usually only about 10-20 pounds less than my 5RM (and >400, that's not much of a percentage drop). The key is that if you did one set of 5, you can do another. you might have to rest 7 or 8 minutes between sets, but you can get another. It sucks, but it gets you strong.

For bench and press, it's not as much a mental game, and 5x5 is typically a little lower percentage. If 5x5's are coming up often, just approach them in a linear progression manner.
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Old 12-24-2009, 10:29 AM   #13
Frank Riley
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Re: 5RM versus 5x5 calculation

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Originally Posted by Donald Lee View Post
What do you mean by relative intensity? Do you mean something like RPE?
Sort of. The concept is the same but we can actually calculate our weights using relative intensities whereas RPE is more abstract. When you combine relative intensities (for weights) with Prilepin's table (for volume), developing a program becomes pretty simple.

So what is intensity? We'll define it in 2 ways: absolute and relative.

Absolute intensity is the actual intensity on the bar. For example, 90% absolute intensity of a 100lb 1RM is 90lbs.

Relative intensity, on the other hand, is what the load feels like for a given rep range. If the lifter does 1 rep, it feels exactly like the absolute intensity. In the above example that would be 90%. However, it should be obvious that if the lifter does 2 reps, it will feel more difficult than 90%. In that case, the relative intensity has gone up and will be greater than the absolute intensity of 90%.

The idea then is to base our training on relative intensity rather than absolute intensity. The relative intensity ranges are defined as follows:

90 – 100% Maximal Strength
80 - 89% Strength/Power
70 -79% Power/Work Capacity
<70% Work Capacity/Power/Speed Work

Now it comes down to how do we convert from relative intensity to absolute intensity so we know how much weight to put on the bar? This is how the math works: for each repetition, we decrease the absolute intensity by 2-3%. I use 2.5%. Example: 1 rep = 100%, 2 reps = 95%, 3 reps = 92.5%, 4 reps = 90%, etc. To get the absolute intensity, we multiply the relative intensity we want to train at by the intensity for that rep range. For example, if I want to train at 90% relative intensity for 3 reps, the absolute intensity is 90% x 92.5% = 83.25%. If my 1RM is 100lbs, I would want to put 83.25lbs on the bar (I'd have to round it to my plates obviously).

I have a spreadsheet that does the math if anyone is interested.

The amazing thing about relative intensities is that you know exactly how it feels under the bar for a specific rep range. Because the goal of the training is matched with an appropriate percentage for a rep range, you won’t be failing. Have you ever seen programming like 3x10 at 75%? The relative intensity for that comes out to 100%... it's like doing a 1RM! Most people will fail on the last rep of the second set and can't even complete the third set. By that time their CNS is burned out. With relative intensities no longer will you feel burned out after each session and with proper periodization you'll keep gaining.

The other great thing about relative intensities is it makes figuring out warmup sets a piece of cake. If I'm doing my work sets at 90% relative intensity, my warmup sets would then be 60, 70 and 80% relative intensity. I pick my rep ranges for them and do the math to convert to absolute intensity and I'm good to go.

For programming, a typical 4 week linear strength cycle might look this:

1: 90%
2: 93%
3: 96%
4: 85%

I like to use Prilepin for volume. I've actually created some software that generates my programming for me. I simply plug in my 1RMs and set what days I want to work out and it generates all the numbers for me.

Note that all of this is not my idea. I read about it somewhere on the internet and all of the above comes from my notes on it. I wish had discovered it when I started lifting 15 years ago. It really is genius IMHO.
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Old 12-24-2009, 02:02 PM   #14
Donald Lee
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Re: 5RM versus 5x5 calculation

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Originally Posted by Frank Riley View Post
Sort of. The concept is the same but we can actually calculate our weights using relative intensities whereas RPE is more abstract. When you combine relative intensities (for weights) with Prilepin's table (for volume), developing a program becomes pretty simple.

So what is intensity? We'll define it in 2 ways: absolute and relative.

Absolute intensity is the actual intensity on the bar. For example, 90% absolute intensity of a 100lb 1RM is 90lbs.

Relative intensity, on the other hand, is what the load feels like for a given rep range. If the lifter does 1 rep, it feels exactly like the absolute intensity. In the above example that would be 90%. However, it should be obvious that if the lifter does 2 reps, it will feel more difficult than 90%. In that case, the relative intensity has gone up and will be greater than the absolute intensity of 90%.

The idea then is to base our training on relative intensity rather than absolute intensity. The relative intensity ranges are defined as follows:

90 – 100% Maximal Strength
80 - 89% Strength/Power
70 -79% Power/Work Capacity
<70% Work Capacity/Power/Speed Work

Now it comes down to how do we convert from relative intensity to absolute intensity so we know how much weight to put on the bar? This is how the math works: for each repetition, we decrease the absolute intensity by 2-3%. I use 2.5%. Example: 1 rep = 100%, 2 reps = 95%, 3 reps = 92.5%, 4 reps = 90%, etc. To get the absolute intensity, we multiply the relative intensity we want to train at by the intensity for that rep range. For example, if I want to train at 90% relative intensity for 3 reps, the absolute intensity is 90% x 92.5% = 83.25%. If my 1RM is 100lbs, I would want to put 83.25lbs on the bar (I'd have to round it to my plates obviously).

I have a spreadsheet that does the math if anyone is interested.

The amazing thing about relative intensities is that you know exactly how it feels under the bar for a specific rep range. Because the goal of the training is matched with an appropriate percentage for a rep range, you won’t be failing. Have you ever seen programming like 3x10 at 75%? The relative intensity for that comes out to 100%... it's like doing a 1RM! Most people will fail on the last rep of the second set and can't even complete the third set. By that time their CNS is burned out. With relative intensities no longer will you feel burned out after each session and with proper periodization you'll keep gaining.

The other great thing about relative intensities is it makes figuring out warmup sets a piece of cake. If I'm doing my work sets at 90% relative intensity, my warmup sets would then be 60, 70 and 80% relative intensity. I pick my rep ranges for them and do the math to convert to absolute intensity and I'm good to go.

For programming, a typical 4 week linear strength cycle might look this:

1: 90%
2: 93%
3: 96%
4: 85%

I like to use Prilepin for volume. I've actually created some software that generates my programming for me. I simply plug in my 1RMs and set what days I want to work out and it generates all the numbers for me.

Note that all of this is not my idea. I read about it somewhere on the internet and all of the above comes from my notes on it. I wish had discovered it when I started lifting 15 years ago. It really is genius IMHO.
Yeah...that's the same concept as RPE. Mike Tuchscherer does something similar with his Reactive Training Systems.

The only problem I see with your relative intensity method is that it's not individualized. Of course, if you take your system and individualize it, I'm sure it'd work even better.
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Old 12-25-2009, 06:27 AM   #15
Frank Riley
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Re: 5RM versus 5x5 calculation

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Originally Posted by Donald Lee View Post
The only problem I see with your relative intensity method is that it's not individualized. Of course, if you take your system and individualize it, I'm sure it'd work even better.
How is it not individualized?
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Old 12-25-2009, 10:23 AM   #16
Daniel Higgins
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Re: 5RM versus 5x5 calculation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Riley View Post
Sort of. The concept is the same but we can actually calculate our weights using relative intensities whereas RPE is more abstract. When you combine relative intensities (for weights) with Prilepin's table (for volume), developing a program becomes pretty simple.

So what is intensity? We'll define it in 2 ways: absolute and relative.

Absolute intensity is the actual intensity on the bar. For example, 90% absolute intensity of a 100lb 1RM is 90lbs.

Relative intensity, on the other hand, is what the load feels like for a given rep range. If the lifter does 1 rep, it feels exactly like the absolute intensity. In the above example that would be 90%. However, it should be obvious that if the lifter does 2 reps, it will feel more difficult than 90%. In that case, the relative intensity has gone up and will be greater than the absolute intensity of 90%.

The idea then is to base our training on relative intensity rather than absolute intensity. The relative intensity ranges are defined as follows:

90 – 100% Maximal Strength
80 - 89% Strength/Power
70 -79% Power/Work Capacity
<70% Work Capacity/Power/Speed Work

Now it comes down to how do we convert from relative intensity to absolute intensity so we know how much weight to put on the bar? This is how the math works: for each repetition, we decrease the absolute intensity by 2-3%. I use 2.5%. Example: 1 rep = 100%, 2 reps = 95%, 3 reps = 92.5%, 4 reps = 90%, etc. To get the absolute intensity, we multiply the relative intensity we want to train at by the intensity for that rep range. For example, if I want to train at 90% relative intensity for 3 reps, the absolute intensity is 90% x 92.5% = 83.25%. If my 1RM is 100lbs, I would want to put 83.25lbs on the bar (I'd have to round it to my plates obviously).

I have a spreadsheet that does the math if anyone is interested.

The amazing thing about relative intensities is that you know exactly how it feels under the bar for a specific rep range. Because the goal of the training is matched with an appropriate percentage for a rep range, you won’t be failing. Have you ever seen programming like 3x10 at 75%? The relative intensity for that comes out to 100%... it's like doing a 1RM! Most people will fail on the last rep of the second set and can't even complete the third set. By that time their CNS is burned out. With relative intensities no longer will you feel burned out after each session and with proper periodization you'll keep gaining.

The other great thing about relative intensities is it makes figuring out warmup sets a piece of cake. If I'm doing my work sets at 90% relative intensity, my warmup sets would then be 60, 70 and 80% relative intensity. I pick my rep ranges for them and do the math to convert to absolute intensity and I'm good to go.

For programming, a typical 4 week linear strength cycle might look this:

1: 90%
2: 93%
3: 96%
4: 85%

I like to use Prilepin for volume. I've actually created some software that generates my programming for me. I simply plug in my 1RMs and set what days I want to work out and it generates all the numbers for me.

Note that all of this is not my idea. I read about it somewhere on the internet and all of the above comes from my notes on it. I wish had discovered it when I started lifting 15 years ago. It really is genius IMHO.
That, right there, is a great post. Thank you.
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