Several of you have raised questions as to why we’re working with 90% of our 1-rep max as our 1-rep max when figuring out our percentages.  Instead of offering an explanation that would be my interpretation you can read the quote from Jim Wendler, the creator of the 5/3/1 Strength Program.  The strength program we are currently using is based on the 5/3/1.  Wendler, from the article, 5/3/1: HOW TO BUILD PURE STRENGTH, says:

The program has also received criticism from lifters on two fronts: that lifters are told to start too light and build too slow.

“Start too light” refers to my insistence that the prescribed loads are calculated off of 90% of the lifter’s 1RM. If your 1RM in the bench is 315, why calculate loads off a 1RM of 285?

My response? People who freak out about the 90% thing are usually weak in the first place. You don’t need to operate at your max to increase your max. Why people get so bent out of shape about taking two steps back if it means they’ll be taking 10 steps forward is beyond me.

Then there’s the “disconnected from reality” problem. Few lifters are willing to acknowledge their true 1RM.

At one time, I did a seminar every week. Every time, without fail, when I asked someone what their one-rep max was, I’d get this: “Well, about three years ago I hit 365 for a triple, but that was when I was training heavier…” Most guys just don’t have a fucking clue.

By using the 90%, I account for this bullshit. By using weights they can actually handle, guys are building muscle, avoiding burnout, and most importantly, making progress every workout.

None of this is exactly revolutionary. I learned this in my freshman year. I’ve always made my best gains when I left just a bit in the tank.”

In case you missed it the take home lesson is: YOU DON’T NEED TO DO YOUR 1 REP MAX TO INCREASE YOUR 1-REP MAX.  You need to test it occasionally, but you don’t need to lift your 1-rep max or even get close to it during all lifting sessions.

What questions do you have?–George


MASTER THE V-SIT TO DEVELOP ATHLETICISM AND INJURY-PROOF SHOULDERS      Check out the kids in the last video in this article…amazing.—George


Workout of the Day
1X3@ 70% 1-rep max
1X3@ 80% 1-rep max
1X AMRAP@ 90% 1-rep max

NOTE: Use 90% of your 1-rep max when figuring your percentages.  Take out your highly intelligent cell phone.  Go to the calculator function.  Multiply your 1-rep max X 0.90.  This will give you a new number.  Round up or down if necessary.  It is necessary if your number looks something like this: 123.8888889.  If this looks like your number then please round up to 125.  Thank you.  Now multiply 125 X 0.70.  Round up or down as necessary.  Then do 125 X 0.80 and 125 X 0.90.  If you have followed these steps correctly Congratulations!  You now have your 70, 80 and 90% numbers to work with.

What’s that?

No. You don’t need a calculator or a smart phone.  You do need to have a solid grasp of multiplication though.  You can multiply 125 X 7, 8 and 9 and still come up with your barbell weight.  

4 rounds for time of:
20/10 push-ups
10 back squats @ 50% 1-rep max

Post your scores to the Whiteboard.

7 Responses

  1. Kelly R

    There’s also a chart by the coaches station you could use rather then doing all that math. Lol:

    And thanks for the 90% explanation, I’ve been writing that in my whiteboard notes for future reference and when someone asked me why we are using 90% I said:
    Because George said so.

  2. Jon B

    Great explanation George!! “Regression” as some may refer to it, is the best way to OWN a movement and build the foundation necessary for peak athletic performance. Said by, McGill, Cook, Cressey, and Nickelson in their own words.

  3. George

    Thank you Kelly, John and Jon!

    “Because I said so” always worked for my father, but folks today want science, proof and documentation. Not a bad thing.

    Sadly, most of the people who asked about the 90% don’t read the website so the above information will still be lost on them.

    Have a great day!

  4. Mandy

    I really like knowing the science and reasoning behind all of this stuff. Thanks for the explanation George!

    See I read the website 😛

Leave a Reply