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Before reviewing week 3’s progress, I provide a quick overview of Reps in Reserve and how it can be useful for training.
Definition – Reps in Reserve is how many reps you have left after you’ve completed your set.
So for example, if you complete 5 reps, but think you could have done 3 more reps, you have a 3RIR.
Why should you pay attention to RIR?
It helps you assess the relative intensity of any given set. Which will help mitigate stress over the course of a workout and subsequent mesocycle.
One study showed that self reported stress measures were actually better at assessing effort than completely objective measures.
How can we use RIR to help build muscle?
Anything greater than 5RIR works, but is not efficient.
0 RIR is great if we only want to train 1 set.
0-5 RIR is the sweet spot, where it’s sustainable in the long term but efficient in terms of hypertrophy response.
There are some drawbacks:
- RIR is harder to accurately estimate with higher rep work, until you’re extremely close to failure
- Like RPE, I believe it takes some time to get accustomed to self-assessment. But you’ll get better over time.
RPE vs RIR?
I like to think of it as reps versus weight on the bar. With RIR, it’s simply, how many more reps could I have done, whilst RPE asks if you could have added more weight to bar.
Week 3 Recap:
Week 3 saw some good progress in terms of volume progressions. The weight prescriptions are almost all dialed in from the first two weeks’ of data and performances, the only two lifts that haven’t quite settled are the deadlift, which I had to dial back this week and the incline bench press was a little too light this week. What’s great is that all the other lifts are dialed in and feeling great.
Fatigue levels are well managed with the program and I don’t feel excessively sore or mentally drained from working out 5 days a week. The built in autoregulation of the program handles this very well, considering I am spending 90-120 minutes training each day. This could easily become overstressful if the program didn’t take this into account.
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