A person can search the internet for a training program and come up with countless programs to choose from. Most of them will be based on percentages of your single or one repetition maximum (1RM). These types of programs have been used for years with limited success. Truth is, any program done with complete dedication and relentless intensity will yield degrees of success.
There is always a good, better, and best method when it comes to training methodologies. I would say a percentage based program falls in the good classification. The problem with percentage based programs is that our strength levels change from day to day. There are so many variables in our lives that can have an impact on our performance in our training. You have no idea how you are going to feel five weeks into your program or if you can hit a certain percentage of a previous one rep maximum. Strength and performance fluctuate constantly.
A better usage of percentages is daily percentages for increased volume.
Let’s say you are going for a three repetition max (3RM) in the Squat but want more total quality volume for the day. You take your 3RM weight and then you a percentage of that weight to continue doing sets of three.
Example: 315 is your three rep max for the day
The following percentages are what you would choose from to continue squatting with quality sets of three.
You could stick with straight sets of three with one of the above percentages until performance degrades, or do a wave loading protocol.
Straight sets of three reps with 95% of 315 would be:
So that would be another 12 reps added to your volume on that given lift.
Or, if you prefer, the Wave loading protocol might look like:
The above example is a descending wave. You could also do an ascending wave that looks like this:
Those are just a few ways that I believe that percentages can be better utilized in someone’s training program.
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