Ways to get Better Results With RPE

 

How to Use RPE Whilst Training | RPE Powerlifting Programming

Video taken from the channel: Strength Culture


 

I Suck at Judging RPE

Video taken from the channel: Alan Thrall


 

The Biggest Tips For Rating Your RPEs Effectively | The Deception of Speed In RPE

Video taken from the channel: Brendan Tietz


 

Weekly Progression with RPE

Video taken from the channel: Reactive Training Systems


 

Get Better results with RPE

Video taken from the channel: SC Vital Fitness


 

THE PROBLEM WITH RPE TRAINING

Video taken from the channel: Ben Pollack


 

Why I’m Sticking with RPE

Video taken from the channel: Brandon Campbell Diamond


If you track your workouts the old-school way (Read: pen and paper), add a column for RPE. And if you use an app, type your RPE scores into the “notes” section. Try to stay consistent with your tracking, as the more information you have, the better you’ll be able to structure your workouts to continue seeing progress.

You’ll get better results by mixing lower and higher RPEs within a workout, as well as building up your intensity over time. For goals like strength and gaining lean muscle, keeping the RPE of the majority of sets between 8-10 is best. RPE, or rate of perceived exertion, is a way to measure the intensity of your workouts. We’ll tell you more about this scale, how it corresponds to your heart rate, and how you can use it to. Another useful way of using both RPE and percentages in your training is to utilize both for strength focused sets and back-off or back down sets.

With this loading protocol you’ll work up to a. The simplest way to apply the RPE scale to weight training is to use the “reps in the tank” analogy. For example, if you completed a set of 3 repetitions on the squat and the last rep slowed down significantly then you probably only had one rep left “in the tank”. RPE is useful to regulate the specific training effect that you want to get from a set. The set should be considered in the context of your entire workout.

The workout should be considered in the context of a training week (microcycle) which fits into a whole block (mesocycle). In most cases, you should exercise at a level that feels 3 ( moderate) to 4 ( somewhat heavy ). When using this rating scale, remember to include feelings of shortness of breath, as well as how tired you feel in your legs and overall. Download a Cleveland Clinic RPE scale. The key to jumping rope for weight loss starts with understanding how to lose weight. The medical literature agrees that the first rule of weight loss is to create a calorie deficit.

A “calorie. Results. When comparing average RPE and session RPE, no significant difference was seen (Figure 1). Power training had significantly lower average and session RPE (4.9 ± 1.9 and 4.50 ± 2.1) compared to both super slow training (7.81 ± 1.75 and 7.43 ± 1.73) and traditional training (7.33 ± 1.52 and 7.13 ± 1.73).

Here’s how to effectively use the RPE scale to get stronger with less guesswork. The ‘Reps in Reserve’ Method Perhaps the most effective way to understand RPE is via the “reps in reserve” method.

List of related literature:

You will get a chance to try using RPE in an activity session.

“Fitness for Life: Middle School-2nd Edition” by Corbin, Chuck B., Le Masurier, Guy, Lambdin, Dolly
from Fitness for Life: Middle School-2nd Edition
by Corbin, Chuck B., Le Masurier, Guy, Lambdin, Dolly
Human Kinetics, 2017

1994) Other HR on research without forms of group exercise (step, interval, highand low-impact, and progressive treadmill training) concluded that HR may not be an appropriate predictor of exercise intensity and that RPE is the preferred method of monitoring intensity.

“Methods of Group Exercise Instruction” by Mary M. Yoke, Carol Armbruster
from Methods of Group Exercise Instruction
by Mary M. Yoke, Carol Armbruster
Human Kinetics, 2019

What is RPE?

“Fitness Instructor Training Guide” by Cheryl L. Hyde, American Association for Active Lifestyles and Fitness
from Fitness Instructor Training Guide
by Cheryl L. Hyde, American Association for Active Lifestyles and Fitness
Kendall/Hunt, 2002

Assessment of RPE is of

“Principles and Practice of Geriatric Medicine” by M.S. John Pathy, Alan J. Sinclair, John E. Morley
from Principles and Practice of Geriatric Medicine
by M.S. John Pathy, Alan J. Sinclair, John E. Morley
Wiley, 2006

However, most people can use the RPE technique very accurately.

“Physiology of Sport and Exercise” by W. Larry Kenney, Jack H. Wilmore, David L. Costill
from Physiology of Sport and Exercise
by W. Larry Kenney, Jack H. Wilmore, David L. Costill
Human Kinetics, Incorporated, 2019

RPE is recorded.

“Exercise and Physical Activity for Older Adults” by Danielle R. Bouchard
from Exercise and Physical Activity for Older Adults
by Danielle R. Bouchard
Human Kinetics, Incorporated, 2020

RPE using industry returns

“Handbook of Empirical Corporate Finance SET” by B. Espen Eckbo
from Handbook of Empirical Corporate Finance SET
by B. Espen Eckbo
Elsevier Science, 2008

What is the function of RPE?

“Cellular and Mobile Communications” by V.Jeyasri Arokiamary
from Cellular and Mobile Communications
by V.Jeyasri Arokiamary
Technical Publications, 2009

RPE can also indicate progress, even without a change in your power outputs.

“The Time-Crunched Cyclist: Race-Winning Fitness in 6 Hours a Week, 3rd Ed.” by Chris Carmichael, Jim Rutberg
from The Time-Crunched Cyclist: Race-Winning Fitness in 6 Hours a Week, 3rd Ed.
by Chris Carmichael, Jim Rutberg
VeloPress, 2017

PROCEDURES FOR USING RPE

“Lees' Loss Prevention in the Process Industries: Hazard Identification, Assessment and Control” by Frank Lees
from Lees’ Loss Prevention in the Process Industries: Hazard Identification, Assessment and Control
by Frank Lees
Elsevier Science, 2012

Alexia Lewis RD

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Heath Coach who believes life is better with science, humor, and beautiful, delicious, healthy food.

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108 comments

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  • I find it so difficult to actually gauge RPE. It depends what day it is for me.

    EDITI really need to watch the whole video before commenting sometimes ��

  • Great video, thanks for this. Can I ask how do you gauge rpe on an exercise you haven’t done? Legs say for example I’m doing Squats 3×6 @ 8 RPE. Would I jusy do warm up sets and gauge from there? If I did 60kg and thought I coukd do 10 more reps and would have to do another warmup set to get a better idea of what weight 6 reps 8 RPE would be. So I could do another set at 80 for 6 and think okay this is a 5 RPE I can probably do 3 more. Then I’d go 90 and realise, wait… I could of got 3 more out. So, really I’m at 5 RPE. If I just kept doing set after set to get right or even missing the mark by a rep/rpe how would this hinder my progress? Sorry for the long post, hope this makes sense! Thanks again.

  • I don’t use RPE because:what the fuck are we even doing? That’s what goes through my head when I’m training and I would have to choose numbers on a scale.

  • When it comes to RPE, (please correct me if I am wrong) it’s not a question of perception. It’s a matter of bar speed/movement, a matter of bar performance. This is how you gauge yourself with RPE style training. How fast the bar is moving and how well your technique is with the weight you’re using. I have never liked the the name ‘Rate of Perceived Exertion’ for one is highly misleading with the perception part because this makes it sound as though its all about how the weight feels. Whereas with RPE the focus is not at all about how it feels in your hands or on your back. It’s about how the bar moves, the bar speed/velocity. Slower the bar velocity, the higher the RPE and visa versa. It’s about an assessment of your performance, not how heavy or how much pressure you feel when you pick it up. It’s about how you perform, not how you feel. More of a concept within a framework than a framework within itself. RPE is to manage intensity and fatigue percentages is for managing volume. Train to the appropriate amount of stress and forget concerns about volume. Secondly, it just has a terrible egghead ring to it which scares most people away to begin with. I prefer to refer to this style of training as BMP (Bar Movement Performance) training. Please share your thoughts on this, I would very much so appreciate some help with this topic, thanks.

  • day one od using RPE so I will just need to see how I get on. I have looked at my training in the past and know where I should end up for my working sets but I will take the advice you have given and see how I get on.

  • Never really scaled my workout with RPE but sort of had it should be incorporated into my workouts. Thanks for giving us your in depth view on it. Hope you have a good day there bro-!!

  • You’re not absolutely wrong about the linear progression thing with the RPE. I ran Project Momentum from RTS and the program consisted of a lot of hitting a top single at RPE 8 then backing off. Mike Tuchscherer has said based on how it was moving last training, you would either increase the weight or repeat the weight. I believe he said something along the lines of, if you felt that the single was an RPE 7 increase 10 lbs, RPE 8 increase 5 lbs, and RPE 9 repeat the weight or possibly lower it.

    Another aspect of RTS’s RPE training is the use of TRAC where you monitor fatigue/recovery. It also instructs you on how to approach back off sets and might even suggest you to do less back off sets.

  • lets say u did a rpe of 8 and couldve done 2 more but your last rep’s form was trash and knew the next two reps’ form wouldve been most likely trash also. would that be rpe of 8 (i can do 2 more but will compromise form!) or 10 (since the form failed)?

  • I just started a program using RPE and what you just described is exactly what Ive been doing. trying to match my precious weeks numbers for the same RPE or pushing it and going in with preconceived numbers. gonna try to keep it go eat and really use the scale to see where I’ll train that day

  • Awesome video! Couldn’t agree more, perfect example of this would be Hayden Bowe’s deadlifts. First rep always looks rpe10 then precedes to do 5 more reps lmao

  • Im on my first RPE training cycle under a new coach. I am preparing for the USPA Barbell Brigade meet that is in 8 weeks. I have been seeing myself chasing my last weeks numbers and trying to increase them as well. Thank you so much for sharing this video! Even though I am so accustomed to % based programs I really enjoy RPE and have became a fan! <3 I think I will do well at my meet as well due to RPE based programming and consistency. Just have to listen to the body.

  • Yo Brandon is RPE utilized for main movements in your TSA programming? Reason I ask is the freebie Intermediate 9-week only utilizes RPE scale on the accessory movements compared to the main lifts which are percentage based from 1RM.

  • Hey Brandon, so I am attempting to build my own RPE programming, as of right now I am in the middle of completing the Volume/ Hypertrophy block. I still need to create my Strength block, but am not sure whether I am going to do a Taper, or a Peaking phase afterwards. Anyway, here is what the first week of my RPE Volume block looks like. Any tips for improvement?

    DAY 1 SQUAT x8 @ RPE 9 (LOAD DROP) 5%
    BENCH x8 @ RPE 9 (LOAD DROP) 5%
    COMPOUND BENCH ACCESSORY x5 @ RPE 9(LOAD DROP) 5%
    BENCH HYPERTROPHY ACCESSORY: 5 x 8-12

    DAY 2 DEADLIFT x7 @ RPE 9 (LOAD DROP) 5%
    COMPOUND BACK ACCESSORY x5 @ RPE 9 (LOAD DROP) 5%
    BACK ACCESSORY 5 x 10 OR Reverse Hyper FOR 4 x 10 @ 50% Squat max

    DAY 3 COMPOUND SQUAT ACCESSORY x7 @ RPE 9 (LOAD DROP) 5%
    BENCH x7 @ RPE 9 (LOAD DROP) 5%
    COMPOUND BENCH ACCESSORY x3 @ RPE 9 (LOAD DROP)
    LEG HYPERTROPHY ACCESSORY 5×10

    DAY 4 OFF

    DAY 5 SQUAT x5 @RPE 9 (LOAD DROP) 5%
    BENCH Work up to x5 @ RPE 8 then Complete a Failure Set
    COMPOUND DEADLIFT ACCESSORY. Work up to x4 @ RPE 8 then complete a Failure Set
    BACK ACCESSORY 5 x 10 OR Reverse Hypers for 4 x 15 @ 25% Squat max
    LEG HYPERTROPHY ACCESSORY 5X10

    I don’t have Squats as a failure set on Day 5 because I am trying to take it slightly easy due to some tendonitis. Any help is appreciated!

  • From what I understand, RPE method enables the lifter to give the most accurate amount and type of stress to his/her body at a particular training session. If the way do get stronger is stress->recovery->adaptation, manipulating not the amount of the weight but the stress is pretty logical. I guess it can be hard to gauge, though. Definitely something I’ll try in the future.

  • I personally don’t use RPEs in the strict sense for a number of reasons. I feel that for sets that would be around an RPE 6-7, it is far too unprecise, so for these ranges I prefer to do fixed percentages. I guess for really heavy work at RPEs of 8-9, RPE has some benefits, but my style of programming just doesn’t include a lot of that. I tend to stick to weights and reps that would be around RPE 6 when I’m unfatigued and I add volume from week to week until it becomes difficult to reach my prescribed reps. Granted, I will reach RPE 10 at the end of each cycle at some point, but I like to autoregulate volume rather than intensity.

  • Only problem is sometimes everything feels heavy as shit but when you look back on video, the bar speed says otherwise. Also mentioned by someone else is that it works good for lower rep work, not necessarily high reps as it’s hard to gauge. I also think rpe below 7 is useless. A good program though I think utilizes both % and rpe.

  • I agree with you and James Gilliam on this one. RPE is great for cardiovascular and lifting practices. In fact, it’s very ‘natural’ (I know… I know) to make the assessment continuous. I use it intrinsically, and I’m still able to hit my PRs when I condition my way to them. In my opinion, its a fine strength maintenance tool. A vague example, someone hits the gym expecting a PR and can’t hit it several factors through the week accumulated some negative stress and tanked performance. This is a great situational variable to have RPE under the belt. Great video man, keep em’ coming!

  • Any thoughts on accelerometer training devices? I think Mike T uses that to gauge his RPE as a metric of speed, acceleration, etc.

  • RPE is great, I prefer to gauge it with newer lifters with video and how it felt. Combining those two provides better feedback for newer lifters to RPE training. Biggest mistake is going into training with a predetermined number like you said, that really defeats the whole purpose of it.

  • I’m kinda stubborn with decreasing weight too, I really want to hit some kind of PR (speed, reps, form) at least weekly, if not daily lol
    unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world

  • I think RPE is great when the person knows how to asses themselves accurately. I use percentage ranges (eg. 70-75%) so I can auto-regulate and go heavier or lighter when I need to. I use RPE for my accessories though.

  • Thank you for putting this out. This crap confused the hell of me. I never understood how a perceived exertion that was always under the chance of change could possibly be a measurable scale. Understanding that this scale is a day to day scale and not a true measurable overall adjustment. Makes much more sense now.

  • I feel as stubborn as you I hit a deadlift PR 3-4 weeks ago and have just felt fatigued from life, work, and everything. When I went in to deadlift this week and last week, 70-80% of my 1RM for a 5×5 felt like an RPE 8.

    Today was pretty frustrating since I did 77% 5×5 and it just felt slow and weak. I feel like my ego wants to lift more but my body is just not like it was 3-4 weeks ago.

  • IIFYRPE

    One of things people need to keep in mind with RPE is it’s PERCEIVED exertion and not what it looks like or what you think you can do, if that makes sense. Like just because the video of the lift looks like you had 2 reps left in the tank, if you felt like you were going to die, it wasn’t an RPE 8. I think we all know how it feels and how it looks don’t always match up.

  • For heavy days I do RPE since we’re talking about 5 reps on average set, but when doing loads of reps I do percentage as it gives me a more solid number to base my training on. I gotta do both since I do crossfit and powerlifting and for the last couple of months it’s been working great. Also percentages is an absolute number and RPE is more subjective of how you feel during training.

  • Excellent way to articulate load progression! Mike does a great job on capturing the 1000 ft picture, however for knuckle draggers like myself this helps a lot!

  • Nothing on the barbellmedicine.com website about the camp dates. Some clarification about the Seattle date would be much appreciated.

  • I really like the RPE scale, but it something that is really useful for late intermediates/ advanced lifters like you. novices and early intermediates should probably stick to linear progression and percentages based programs, while developing the sensitivity needed to acknowledge the true rate of the set.

  • i was wondering, which u may have already made a vid on this, what are the basic equipment u need to have your own powerlifting home gym? could u do a vid if u haven’t already? also would love to get together and lift sometime.

  • It was weird to hear your voice on an Isilon training video at work earlier. Took me a few minutes to work out why I recognised the presenters voice then it clicked, having watched your YouTube channel for the past couple of years. Keep up the good work and maybe see you at a company event in the future. (where we can talk about powerlufting �� )

  • Great explanation! Makes a lot more sense to me now, but still seems complicated to pick weights and truly judge the RPE. I could see this working great with a coach.

    And you still look skinny! Maybe that is just relative though…

  • I don’t get why there has to be such a trench-war between people doing RPE and people doing percentages? I use Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program (the original not beyond). Technically the last set on every day is an RPE 10 set (if you truly give all you have like the programs tells you to) and the sets before that are probably something like RPE 4-6 and RPE 5-7 (depending on the week). However, you calculate the weight using percentages, but it doesn’t make much of a difference in my opinion it is still about pushing yourself and making progress. I have nothing against either method especially because I kinda fail to see the big difference:-)

    As always thank you for the video! And to those who do not know 5/3/1: Brandon has made several reviews of the program earlier.

  • Unfortunately RPE is very variable for what block in your training you’re in definitely wouldn’t use it outside of a Hypertrophy block. This is personal bias but I’ve always found that I overshot the hell out of my weights, or undershot it. The problem with RPE is if you do overshoot it, the fatigue you’ve accumulated through the one session will hinder the rest of your training week… Again, personal bias from my own experience. Call me boring but I like my cookie cutter linear percentage give me a weight and I’ll hit it.

  • the problem that I have is that my warmups seem to be totally non predictive of how the working set will feel. Sometimes my warmups feel like 1 rep maxes and then the sets go great or other times the warmups fly into the sky and then I hit failure in the working sets. It’s been suggested to me to go by bar speed when this happens.

  • RPE squad checking in
    2:51 I think this also comes down analyzing a lifter over time since everyone’s speed on all lifts isn’t necessarily the same. For example if we take a sumo puller that is always slow off the ground even with sub-maximal weights, a true triple @8 to them may look like @10 for us (unless they actually look like they’re going to shit themselves). Like you said, though, some people aren’t honest with themselves which in that case its very easy to point out if their perception is way off.

  • Nice explanation. I do the same with looking back at my numbers regularly. It’s like looking at the scale every day. it can screw with your head…

  • Still don’t get it. The difference between an rpe10 and 100% on a linear program seems purely semantic to me.
    It’s not like you can’t adjust the weights on a linear program to compensate for a bad day.
    Where’s the specific benefit in basing your training on perceived exhaustion when you know how many times you can(or should) hit for example 85% of x amount of weight?
    I feel like I’m missing something here…

  • I feel like RPE works well for heavier work, but not for higher-rep stuff. If I’m doing sets of 9, it can feel really rough even by rep 5, but I’ll still be able to finish. It’s much more of a mental battle, and having a set number to go for seems to help.

  • I like using RPE like Garret Blevins talks about in his videos for the last working set so you can adjust your weights by that in your next training session.

  • Excellent video, Brandon! I just made a video on my channel on this very topic after attending Mike Tuchscherer’s RTS seminar. Check it out if you get a chance ��

  • Eh, I prefer having percentages for my main lifts and rir for my other lifts. However if I feel good on a day I will add weight to the bar on my last 1-2 sets

  • I’m a fan. I’ve done super structured programming, done RPE as well. Both have their place, but I really enjoy RPE when you get to know yourself

  • My only beef with RPE is that I feel with Instagram everyone puts it in their videos simply because its turned more into a fad than a tool. As for training with it, I’ve never tried before but hopefully I can find a template program for it.

  • I myself prefer going into a workout without expectations. In order to get as honest as I can with myself, I’ll rate the RPE and gauge how much more weight could I add while still hitting the prescribed rep-range.

    I stop making the barbell look pretty at a certain point. Work up to 295 (2 x 45 & 1 x 35) and from there just add 10s per side (if the set was really easy), 5s (if it was moderate), 2.5 (if I know I have more in me but not enough to pull off a 10lb increase).

    I remember having a workout where I ended up with 340 on the bar and pulled it for a very accurate x3 at 9RPE. Had I gone by what I did the previous week I would have gone to 345-355 because it is easier to load/looks nicer on the bar.

  • Good video ben. My own thoughts here. I dont see a problem with putting a value on each set. What if someone said warm up, work, near max, and max not sustainable instead of the numbers? Similar to your relative intensities. Maybe that takes care of the quan qual problem. Also judging how many reps someone has left in the tank might not be best way. I think 7 and below is warm up. 8 work set. 9 near max. 10 max not sustainable.
    The person lifting should be doing their own rpe. My problem with using set lbs is whatever the weight is, it was based off of what someone did during one specific workout. No room for good or bad days. Or in my case difficult or easy days at work. I work in construction. Also if someone is claiming that a near max rep is 8.5 then it will not work long term for them. Their problem. For each individual rpe can be diff thats fine. Why cant the rpe be used if you use pre work out coffee marijuana ammonia etc? And some days a person will be in the mood to lift, some days not. Perfect for rpe. How someone feels or how the weight feels definitely matter. And yes not a perfect measure. But it does work. A bit of a disorganized comment but tough to remember everything from the vid. Thanks

  • This whole video is wrong man, seriously. Yes RPE isn’t 100% accurate, however It’s very easy to base it on your most current one rep maxes, don’t know your one rep max? Do a set with RPE 10 which you 100% accurately know when you hit it and then based off of that calculate it into an one REP max with the RPE Scale.

  • I don’t get it. Why are RPEs used? Why would you cut yourself short? Why not just bust ass with a weight and over time aim to increase reps/increase weight with same reps… It will take much more time to get results from cutting yourself short (and probably doing a load of other halfassed sets to break a sweat) than just paying your dues.

  • LMAO at your ending. Great job, Ben.. you’re an amazing teacher. Truly appreciate your time, energy, and overall effort helping us.

  • i know i am a beginner lifter with less than 2 years experience but ever since i stopped working with percentages, i have been doing nothing but hitting pr’s every month

  • I prefer % based programs. It keeps me accountable for my recovery. It’s easy to over reach on rpe and then you’re fried for the next workout and find yourself hitting a great workout then a shitty one then a great one etc.
    If the % your using is so close to your limit your always concerned to miss then you’re training too close to your limit. Which is the only reason imo that % based programs wouldn’t be ideal. But that’s easily solved by choosing manageable numbers.

  • Wouldn’t RPE be different based on the weight on the bar? I mean, if these reps are similar, you might be able to do 2 more with the weight from the set of 5 but not necessarily with the weight you use for your single.

  • I know you’ve been ignoring the requests for “supplementation” advice. But it’d make a big impact, there’s a lot of people out there using without knowledge, becoming human lab rats. If you have any advice even around the subject it’d make a big difference coming from an athlete like yourself.

  • RPE as a variable is completely objective (utilizing Mike Tuscherer’s scale). Having x reps in reserve is an objective, discrete variable. I don’t think the measurement of the variable (your perceptions of the lift) are perfect, but Eric Helms has done research that provides evidence that your perceptions is a statistically valid and reliable way to measure RPE, given that you have a decent amount of training experience.

  • I think it’s beneficial to program overload by volume and percentage-based intensity with supplement of an RPE range to make sure quality lifts are being performed. That way you’re not either sand-bagging with ineffective volume or pushing into form breakdown territory. Both can be complementary tools in training.

  • And you gain a sub! Discovered you on the Jugglife podcast but never got around to listen to your videos. Solid advice, conceptually simple and easy to implement. Keep up the good work

  • After finishing a 10 week program would you go back to week 1 and reset with heavier weights or continue on with a different program all together?

  • loving this series, it’s very informative. just a small request, when you talk about relative intensity in the next video, can you talk about the number of sets/reps you should perform for each exercise on a given meso/microcycle to be able to implement relative intensity training efficiently? thanks alot!

  • Ah so that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been using relative intensity without knowing the name of it. Never liked RPE because I find I’m generally pretty consistent so always just preferred giving myself targets with a bit of wiggle room. Great videos in this series.

  • Another problem that I tend to find with RPE training is that with each set my RPE will go up while using the same amount of weight. Maybe it’s because I’m still using 5×5, but my first set will be about an RPE 8, but my last set might be an RPE 9 or 9.5. Of course, rest times play a big role as well, as I rest until I feel good but that isn’t always consistent. Anyway, keep up the great content, Ben! I love learning from you.

  • Needed this video today. Monday’s training was garbage. Back just seemed worn out and fried. Backed off the weight on my squats, but by the end I couldn’t even break 315 off the deadlift blocks. I can normally pull 475 off the floor on any given day with very little warm up. Gonna go into it today with a different mindset.

  • Great to see this video, I switched back from 5/3/1 to a H/L/H style full body with RPE used for top sets and fatigue % for drop sets. It’s been working fantastically, despite the issues you highlight ( uncertainty about reps left).
    I’ve found filming my sets and using both how it felt and how it looks on video afterwards to get an adjusted RPE works well.

  • Have you read the MASS issue about RPE based training? Apparently even intermediates are very accurate at estimating their RPE. It’s also a validated scale that has been used for decades in other sports to determine internal training load. I do agree that the practical application can be a bit tough. However, there’s some good research out there that could change your opinion on a couple of the points you’ve made:)

  • I personally found the opposite to be true. I never did a single until I started BBM programming. It took me a couple weeks just to get comfortable with doing singles in general, but after that I found it much easier to judge RPE on singles. The less reps, the easier it is for me to judge.

  • What do you think about +sets as used in 5/3/1? My programming is vastly different from 5/3/1 now, but I still like the +sets as a form of autoregulation. Would I be better off adding some weight to the bar instead of doing an extra rep if I feel good?

  • What worked for me is only dabbling in RPE and percentages. I don’t use either in absolution. It sounds better on paper to be so committed but you’ll be viewing through a narrow scope. I rather be aware that there are various resources I can methodically utilize simultaneously to achieve my goals.

  • Yeah I personally think that RPE training adds additional variables and complications. If I’m using percentage and have a shitty day I’ll just peel back some weight for the next set (if there is one) and carry on as is. If I have to work up to a top triple and only get a double I’ll just accept it was a shitty day and I will also carry on as prescribed for the next training day. it hasn’t happened yet, but if I’m constantly missing lifts I would re-assess my 1rm I used to get the percentages.

  • ? That’s the way I use RPE and always have. As for that chart, Mike Tuchscherer even has his own relative intensity chart. Yeah, he does have his own way of recommending how to implement RPE, but he’ll also be the first to say RPE is a tool and various ways to use it and implement it as you see fit.

  • I think you can get the opposite too with people sandbagging it. They hit a set with a target of RPE 7 and say it was an RPE 9 when in reality it actually felt right on at an RPE 7.

  • Meathead undergrad class is in session! Thanks Ben, for going beyond the basic “how to for beginner” series for those of us who are in that middle ground area of lifting.

  • I had no idea that I was using rpe based off of percentages before watching this, I thought it was just natural to do that and I’m glad I’m doing something right for once.

  • You mentioned the use of bronkaid as a stim / performance booster. I’ve noticed that when I have taken bronkaid in the past, I’ve felt strong as hell. Has it been shown to have significant effects on strength training (outside of anecdotal experiences)? The majority of info I’ve seen is purely on the weight loss effects

  • In a related topic can you share some tips on the mental side of lifting. how do you visualize the lifts? I often feel I suffer from lack of confidence when I am really testing myself.

  • I tend to hit PRs and near maximal lifts pretty explosively. So my speed looks fast and I get “oh that was like an RPE7 man” all the time and I’m like LOL bro that shit might not move if I tried for a second rep. Point is, I agree that it’s super subjective and damn near impossible to measure consistently. Elite athletes seem to be good at figuring how much they have left in the tank but for the general public, RPE is going to be a nightmare

  • Some notes:
    The goal is to be within 0.5 units of the prescribed RPE given.

    Based on the previous week’s RPE scores:
    * Add 1% 2% to the goal weight if 0.5 under or more.
    * Add 0.5% 1% if target RPE was met.
    * Retake the weight if RPE was over by 0.5 RPE.
    * Subtract 2% (maybe even a little more) if the RPE was a full point or more higher.

  • hey so recently i’m 3 weeks zero lifting
    its already june i’m 7 yr in the gym so its rest and enjoying the committee
    of life the gym a small portion of character

  • If I’m changing blocks (3 weeks is my optimum) or to a different RPE/rep range each week can I go off the e1RM and add the 1-2% to that? That would account for my program which varies more frequently than emerging strategies.

  • A couple of questions.

    Would I update the other work sets based on the top set? Say last week calls for 1% increase, would I do this for all sets?

    Where does the workout planner fit into this? What I do now is use the planner and round up to the next 0.5kg weight.

  • Do you have like a weight range in your head when you are going for your top sets based of rpe? Cause I can easily see myself flactuating a lot with the weights I’m able to lift based on how I feel. I know thats one of the main points of rpe, but how am I supposed to incorporate progressive overload into it, by increasing backoff work and using the top set just as a tool to practice lift with higher intensity or is there something else to it? Just wondering whats your exact mindset. Also, seems to me that people can easily mess up their training block if they overshoot too often without enough experience which you kinda pointed out anyway.

  • Let’s say you are doing 3×3 @ RPE 8. Do you adjust each set to be RPE 8 for example, start at 405×3, drop to 395×3, and finish at 385×3? Or do you aim to have the last set = RPE 8?

  • Saaaaame. I was doing 235 for amrap once. My 8th rep moved just as fast as my first, my 9th barely even faltered, and my 10th almost crushed my face.

  • I have definitely noticed that the grinding ability between people is fucking crazy. I have a friend that cannot grind for shit, yet I can grind SQ and BP but cannot grind nothing in DL because I will lose position for sure. This grind is the best I have done! https// http://www.instagram.com/p/BeycxtRFagu/
    “How you feel is a lie” -> If I am not mistaken that statement is refering to an emocional level and not objective. Something can feel horrible yet move just fine. What I do to rate is check how much the speed slowed downs since I started the set and have into account my grinding ability.
    Great video Brendan!

  • Fantastic vid! I have been really contemplating using an RPE based program and didnt really comprehend it til watching this, Thanks!

  • Very helpful, as always, thanks!! And so true! My squats have been so slow (like an unintentional tempo squat) lately but strength wise feel nowhere near failure. I very much related to your footage benching! With the bench press that RPE 10 sneaks up on me ��

  • Mark my words, this guy will be one of the biggest names in the YT-fitness industry some day. Omarisuf, Silent Mike, Calgary Barbell and Brendan Tietz. Who the hell needs school

  • Would video recording an amrap set as reference for what our own reps look like be a good idea e.g a 5-10 rep max. Or will rpe look different with different loads

  • Youtube is being annoying, give the video about 10 minutes and the quality will improve. Had to upload before the processing finished.

  • i think learning the system of what RPE is can be daunting for noobies (i know the system but it was a mind fuck when i first heard about it)
    maybe calling it “reps in reserve” or “reps remaining” and just saying 2 RIR or 2 RR is easier. (2 reps remaining)

  • Still trying to get RPE down. In this video(s) it looks like they are both a 9. One more rep—yes. Two?? Any pointers to focus on?

  • I took one look at the RPE system and my brain fried. I don´t do complicated very well, any tips pn how to make it all a little easier to manage without having to shift through papers or look at my phone to browse tables every set?

  • You bastard! I almost spit my Great Value roast beef and vegetables all over my computer monitor when that “Sets o’ Fahve” jingle played.

  • Could you do one on injury prevention when lifting heavy?
    I find I squat 1-2 times a week I get stronger slower but I am healthier vs squatting more than 3 times per week. Same with other lifts especially deads

  • That makes a lot of sense. But as for me, I don’t believe in RPE, lol. Fitness dudes inventing new and unnecessary terms! Percentages have been fine for decades, now we’re reinventing the wheel? Don’t need a different name for the wheel, we need better wheels! Or as Clark Gable put it, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!” RPE away boys and girls!

  • Alan I have a question for you or whoever else would like to answer. For years I wasted time (in my opinion) Just exercising and never getting the results I was after. After discovering starting strength, your methods and other strength coaches, I finally have been getting good results in the last 12 months. When my Wife and I get a house I’m going to have a garage gym I will train people in. I am under the belief that barbell training and athletic movements is the superior way to train given my experience and the research. So that is the way I would train people. My Wife however feels I’m being narrow minded and is asking me if I would turn people away that just want to lose weight or whatever goal they might have, that have no interest in barbell training. My reaction is yes, which she feels is saying no to paying clients. I see her point, am I being narrow minded? How do you train clients in this situation? If someone refuses to listen to your better judgment and wants you to run them through a bootcamp style workout do you comply and take their money? Or respectfully decline them as a client? An answer would be much appreciated thank you.

  • Is anyone here familiar with the best possible way to get in contact with Untamed strength? I’m potentially looking to pursue online training with Alan, and I’m not sure exactly the best means to get ahold of him. I’ve called the gym and left a voicemail, and I don’t want to nag, but I definitely want to get on the list (if at all applicable). Anyway, I’ll bide my time and continue to train…..UNTAMED!

  • Thanks for the tip! I am unsure about how to programm my intensity for the next training session. I am about to start the Bridge program and know that, as I’m gettiny stronger, my intensity should increase with each week even though the RPE stays the same. But how do I determine the weight for the RPE 8 of the next working set? I think trying out too many warm up/try out sets until it becomes hard enough cannot be beneficial?

  • This is the question about RPE I have that I cant seem to figure out. I do 5 reps. I feel like I can do 7 reps with this weight. Is that RPE 8. Or is it for the whole set so if I’m doing 5×5 and I feel like I could 7 sets of 5 is that RPE 8.

  • Heavier weight needs to move faster than lighter weight to judge the rpe because it is more of a speed chart than a how many reps left chart.

  • Man, I really suck at judging RPE because those both look like 10’s by the time you get to the last rep. I guess I don’t know what I am doing

  • Absolutely love utilizing RPE within my own and clients’ training programs. Although I’m still messing with percentages, RPE is always great for auto-regulating intensity, volume and overall fatigue when necessary.

  • I can judge my 1 rep rpe 8 okay (using percentage charts are relatively accurate). Its more reps the worse I get at rpe. 7-8 rep I always over estimate weights and keep ruining the top sets and find myself lowering the weight. Happens with rep 5 too. 4 and below I’m okay. Bridge makes me feel weak. Can’t weight until I get to Strength Template, I should feel like a feeble oldman that I am by the end of it….

  • Back in the day, Thrall used to make great content for lifters. I mean, I can’t remember how many tips I’ve used in my workouts that came from Allan. Now, he’s channel is a dipshit: random video about his honeymoon, now this. Fuck, he’s gone. Hope it’s not for good.

  • Yo Allan,
    Your bar is very Wippy. This makes you wait at the top for the bar to return to straight. When buying a no whip bar you eliminate this waiting time. Pausing at the top isnt really something energy consuming. I hear a lot of people with the Ohio power bar say that there lifts have gone up. Dont know why no whip is better for powerlifting but it seems to work.

  • So before this I didn’t know what RPE was,
    I just kept adding on weight till I hit that point where I was like,
    “man this is tough, but I could only just squeeze 1 more out”

    That was roughly at about ONE THOUSAND POUNDS. Then I’d do a cheeky ONE THOUSAND POUNDS tire flip.

  • Only trouble with this, 2 more reps at the weight you’re doing an rpe 8 single at is going to be far harder than 2 more reps at your 5 at rpe 8 weight. You’re doing significantly more work per rep with higher weight. So even if your single looks the same speed as your 5th rep of a set of 5 at rpe 8, it likely doesn’t mean you have an accurate 2 more reps left in the tank on your single. More likely 1 or 1.5. That same bar speed might mean an rpe 8.5 instead. That’s where one of the main complications of calculating rpe on a single comes from.

  • The way I sometimes like to think about high RPEs like an 8 is that the risk isn’t super high, meaning so what if you could actually only get 1,5 reps more, or so what if you could have grinded out a bone on bone 3rd rep more out of it. As long as we are consistent in the judgmenting/perception.

  • Hey Ben, I think I understood the jist of your video. Would you say it applies to someone that incorporates DUP in their training, similar to how the Juggernaut guys have put together their training protocols (or at least how Chad used to do it with a High, Medium and Low day)?

    I’ve just started a strength block, incorporating DUP, yet by the third week, I’m already feeling like I’ve built up too much fatigue. When I look at my own numbers and when I think about things from an RPE standpoint as well as seeing your qualititative values here the proximity between the 4 5 and 6 rep ranges (High, Med, Low, respectively for my own DUP routine)… they’re so damn close, with the difference being only 2% between them, which is exactly the same as your data here… Obviously, my body doesn’t know what the hell “2%” is, but when I think about how it feels when im in the gym, all 3 of the rep ranges are so near max effort as they’re barely just 5lb increments between them. Meaning that any given High, Med, or Low day is as tough as any other, ie. Low is no less difficult than a High day.

    What im going to try is intentionally widen the gap to around 8% or 15% to help reduce fatigue, as thats somethign that I’m fairly confident will actually feel different, in the hopes that I recover and adapt.

    What do you think?

  • There’s apps out there that allow you to do what Alan was suggesting, but to be more precise you can see exactly how long (seconds) each rep took. You can record the time of your reps and judge your RPE’s mindfully. Then over time you’ll have a nice RPE table.