So I know the program is based around beating a PR in one set, and then pushing past that with rest-pause, but surely some of the training benefit must come from the volume involved in the warm-up sets.
If I feel sufficiently ready to tackle a heavy weight after 3 warm-up sets am I getting less benefit than doing 6 warm-up sets and hitting a slightly lower 6RM? In the second example the total volume would be significantly higher as I'd likely be taking smaller and smaller jumps towards the 6rm and be using decent weight in the last few sets, so even though the 6rm is lower maybe the training effect would be greater.
Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't 5/3/1 use a number of sets across and then one final all-out set in which you hit a rep pr? I'm sure Wendler emphasizes the importance of the first sets for building muscle.
I get the auto-regulation thing but part of me wishes I had some firmer guidelines so I know I'm not short-changing myself on volume. After my first movements for instance I'm usually quite warm already so on upper-body day the rest of the session after bench is usually just 1-2 warmup sets and one heavy set.
This is enough to get me warm, but is it enough to get me big?
I don't want to overthink this but if I had a rough idea of how much volume was positive it would be really helpful. Cheers.
It's a double edged sword. You will get some volume from the warm up sets, but you don't want it to negatively impact your top set. Your top set provides the intensity and the clusters provide the real volume. Just do enough to get warmed up and get some work in, but don't do too much to take weight off of your top set. I am using Wendler's percentages for warm ups on my first lift; 40%x6, 50%x6, 60%x6, 70%x6, and 80%x3 (%of my estimated 1RM). On the lifts that follow that work the same general structure (Bench and Dips for example), the second lift gets 60%x6, 70%x6, and 80%x3 for warm ups. This is what I do, others may use a different system.
Did you read the Principles article, where it tells you how much volume is needed?
Tension is the greatest stimulus for growth and volume/fatigue a secondary factor.
There is enough volume in the program and the number of ramp-up sets should be determined by how you feel.
Ramping up to a top weight is the easiest process possible and as you approach 6RM the intensity (% of 1RM) in the ramp up sets will be high enough to provide a growth stimulus and the rest-pause is a very different fatigue stimulus than a straight 6 reps. You won't be short changing yourself on volume.
In your first example you're focusing on tension/intensity as the primary growth stimulus with volume a secondary.If I feel sufficiently ready to tackle a heavy weight after 3 warm-up sets am I getting less benefit than doing 6 warm-up sets and hitting a slightly lower 6RM? In the second example the total volume would be significantly higher as I'd likely be taking smaller and smaller jumps towards the 6rm and be using decent weight in the last few sets, so even though the 6rm is lower maybe the training effect would be greater.
In your second example you're shifting the emphasis to volume with intensity a secondary factor.
In 5/3/1 the intensity is between 60% to 85%, the total reps per body part per week approx 60 (mostly in the 60-70% 1RM range depending on the week), so quite a lot of the volume is at a low intensity (approx only 10reps over 70%).
In HCT-12 there's a minimum of 12 reps @ 80-85%1RM and another couple sets at above 70% 1RM, with a maybe a few more below 70%1RM. Most of the reps are above the threshold for intensity (as per the Principles article).
Anyway, 5/3/1 is a great program and Wendler's writing is great, the above is just what the two programs break down to. Hopefully the answer above satisifes your curiosity.
Last edited by Daniel Roberts; 05-26-2010 at 04:01 AM.
So essentially, concentrate on intensity and you'll get enough volume anyway.
Very helpful, thank you.