Repetitions in the reserve: self control of your strength
Traditionally speaking intensity strength training is defined as a percentage of 1RM. If someone is able to lift 100 kg once and want to set the intensity at 75% 1RM, the weight used would be 75 kg. This approach left the sports where the 1RM is decisive in competition, such as weightlifting or powerlifting, however, a number of problems with this approach to establish training intensity in most people. The first and most obvious is that, although there are formulas for calculating 1RM generally required to make a real test to know.
This requires skill and practice, and only someone with real experience and technique is able to do it safely. For everyone else, the evaluation of actual 1RM is potentially dangerous.
Another important factor is the concept and treated the variability between sessions. 1RM can vary from one training session to another, accumulated fatigue by work stress, hormonal changes that make it more pronounced in women than in men: the 1RM was appropriate, say, in the early follicular phase, it may be completely different in the late luteal phase.
We could go on listing a number of problems encountered in single-use of 1RM as a measure of the intensity of training but would be a particularly long article and not the real purpose of it. It is, on the other hand, present a very interesting for those who lack material measurement objective as I can be a linear encoder, a mobile app or camera recording which alternative measure execution speed, which is currently the methodology best suited to every possible variability within subjects and between individuals.
Since there is a general relationship between the percentage of 1RM and the number of repetitions can normally make, for example, 85% 1RM normally allows a six repetitions; 1RM 78%, about 8 repetitions, and so on, can be set intensity scale differentiating between repetitions and feasible, what is known as character Effort:
- If we do 6 reps with 85% 1RM, being those repetitions maximum we could do, then the character is a maximal effort
- If, however, we do 4 reps with 1RM 85%, 6 being the maximum number of repetitions we could do, then the character is submaximal effort. We have failed to do 2 reps. 2 repeats these are so-called REPEATS IN RESERVE (RIR)
Since weight training to prolonged failure time constant and regular basis can cause a clear drop in performance, whatever the objective, perceiving the number of repetitions that remain to be done before a load lifted and be, for example, 1-3 reps in reserve, you can help improve the medium and long term which are our objectives and complement them with daily living (eg. not be overly tired out of the gym).
A good strategy is to noting the perceived fatigue or loss of speed in relation to the first repetition of each series to relate it to the repetitions we`d still be able to perform
Repetitions in the reserve as target
A general rule would be to:
- Objective hypertrophy, start leaving 2-3 reps in reserve (RPE = 7-8) and gradually increase the intensity throughout the series or exercises, planning very occasionally leave no repetition in the reserve (RIR = 0; RPE = 10).
- The aim is to force this last tip would be practically ruled out and it would be wiser to leave a margin of RIR = 1-4.