I’ve written bout RPE before, however I was asked by a member of a gym I visit for some training ideas on this style so I thought I would share them here for all to potentially use. Below will be some useful likes to learn more about RPE.
Rate of Perceived Exertion is a scale of measuring intensity, with it you can program the load for your workout based on how you’re performing on the day, this allows for natural back off’s and peaks according to your bodies own biofeedback.
Be it a 1RM or a 10RM, this guide applies to all (Str = Strength Focus, HYP = Hypertrophy Focus) –
10: Maximum effort. No reps left in the tank. – STR
9: Last rep is tough, but could have done one more rep. – STR
8: weight is too heavy to maintain fast bar speed, but is not a struggle. 2-4 reps left. – HYP
7: Weight moves quickly when maximal force is applied. “Speed Weight”. – HYP
6: Light speed work. Bar speed was fast with only moderate effort
5: Most Warm Up Weights
4: Recovery. Usually 20+ reps sets. Not hard, but intended to flush the muscle.
Now for the methods which will all be based off of achieving a daily max with a 9 RPE (use can use RPE 10,8,7 or what ever you need, this is merely a few example of how to use this method):
1 – Daily Max to 9RPE
Pick an exercise and work up to your desired RPE for your chosen Rep Max, once you hit both you call it a day and move on to your accessory work.
2 – Daily Max to 9RPE with Back Off Set Repeats
Let’s say it’s a squat day. You go in and decide on working up to a 5RM at RPE 9 (one rep left in the bag), once you hit that number you make a note of the weight used and drop the weight, from here you stick on this weight and do 5’s until that weight feels like an RPE 9. A great way of working strength while also getting in volume. Simple.
*How much you drop is up to you, the larger the drop the more fatigue/mechanical stress you will accumulate.
3 – Daily Max to 9RPE with Weight Drop & Reloads
As with the example above you work up to a Rep Max, it can be any of your choosing or programmed in using a DUP (daily undulating periodisation method – I will write about this at the end). Work up to your desired RM, say 3 for RPE 9. From here you reduce the weight and then start reloading the bar and try to hit the same weight for the same RPE again, if you did this correctly you might be abel to repeat this process 2-3 times, depending on how much weight you reduce, if/when you don’t make the top weight then that’s when you call it a day.
If you decide to use a DUP method for the RM’s you might have something that looks like this:
Day 1 – 3RM – RPE 9
Day 2 – 7RM – RPE 9
Day 3 – 5RM – RPE 9
You could also have the same RM but different RPE’s:
Day 1 – 5RM – RPE 10
Day 2 – 5RM – RPE 6
Day 3 – 5RM – RPE 8
The options are almost endless. All you have to do is look at try the examples above to start to find your flow, once that is done you will be abel to adapt the method to your own needs.