Previously on Strong Girls Win: we talked about the basic nuts and bolts of lifting heavy things. Now let’s add some grease and you’ll be a well-oiled machine!
This is Prilepin’s Chart, it’s a pretty decent guide to how to choose weights and their corresponding rep ranges. The percent column is a percentage of your 1-rep max. (or sorta max) The other columns are self-explanatory.
So, for example, if I’m out to get beast (which I am) I’m going to deadlift (naturally). Strength comes from moving heavy weight around so I’m going to train at 85%+, therefore my rep range will stay 6 or below. The number of sets will be determined my my reps. For example: 6 reps = probably 3 sets or 2 reps= probably 5-6 sets (I say “probably” because it depends on how I feel. I may do more or less depending on what my body’s telling me.)
This chart is most applicable to the Big Girl Lifts (squats, deads, chins and presses) and when you start talking about assistance work (lunges, pushups, rows etc.) the reps tend to be a little higher relative to the given percentage. This is mainly because assistance work doesn’t tax the nervous system as much as the big lifts do nor do they, usually, stimulate as much muscle mass. (though since squats and deadlifts are out of my training toolbox now, I’ve learned that some of my former assistance lifts can be turned into challenging main lifts.)
The set/rep scheme is going to be dependent on the chosen exercise(s) and the goal of the chosen exercise(s). Let’s take a workout from last post and apply some grease:
Lower Body Session: focus- max strength
Squat 6 x 3 reps @ 88%
Reverse Lunge 2-3 x 6
BB bridge 2-3 x 6
Kneeling rollouts 2 x 8 (those suckers make you sore)
Lower Body Session: focus- strength with a little hypertophy (increase muscle size)
Squat 5 x 5 @ 80%
Reverse lunge 3-4 x 8
BB bridge 3-4x 8
kneeling rollouts 2 x 8 (they still make you sore)
Ok, so no GLARING difference but trust me, if you have the right weight that extra set/rep makes a BIG difference.
Also note, that I’m going to program a lower body day differently than I would an upper body day. My assistance work on my upper body days will be higher in volume relative to my main lift because a) I’m tired of having a weaker upper body and I need to add some mass to it. B) upper body big lifts, for me personally, aren’t as taxing as my lower body lifts so my muscles can handle some extra volume.
- Set/rep schemes are dependent upon the exercise(s) and the goal of the exercise(s) (max strength, hypertophy, muscular endurance… you know, general awesomeness)
- Set/reps are dependent upon the other exercises in the program. Don’t go hog-wild on your assistance work; remember it’s the big lifts that will get you the strongest most efficiently. Focus on them and get really good at doing them. Assistance work is called that for a reason.
- The weight your lifting (main lift or assistance) should feel challenging but NO GRINDING. If you feel your form break down or move like your stuck on slo-motion… stop the lift and lower the weight. Pick weights that make you glad you finished your workout.
-The rest of your life can be frustrating and complicated. Lifting isn’t. Keep it that way.