Percentages Are Guidelines (Sometimes)

Congrats to Coach Ursula for her win at Master's Nationals!

Congrats to Coach Ursula for her win at Master’s Nationals!

Congrats to James Aftomis.  69kg Masters National Champion

Congrats to James Aftomis. 69kg Masters National Champion

Here recently some of our Deep Barbell followers have been asking me the same question. The question I am continuing to get is what do we do when our body is not able to complete the work you program. Many of those lifters are trying to complete the work at the prescribed percentages and their body is just not supporting that desire. What this typically ends with is either a very frustrated lifter quitting for the day and not completing the rest of the workout and barging out of the gym OR a lifter who continues to beat his head against the wall with every single movement with every percentage regardless of how many misses it takes. Both of these scenarios ends poorly for your training.

A while back I wrote an article titled “Train Anyways” that talked about fighting through some of the mental battles that often try to keep us out of the gym. I’m not talking about that kind of struggle here. I’m talking about a physical barrier where your body is telling you to come off the gas pedal for a day or two and let your central nervous system as well as your muscular structure rest. However, I am not advocating is a 100% rest with no work whatsoever.

For those of you who are running into this problem, specifically with the high reps we are currently programming, I would advise you to be more flexible with the percentages. If you trying to do a triple at 80% is physically impossible and is resulting in miss after miss then that’s a giant flag that you should be listening to your body. It is in your best interest, if this is the case, to be flexible on the percentages and drop the weight and make the reps. I have always said that made lifts are essential to establishing good motor patterns and allowing for an extreme number of misses in your training is only setting yourself up for failure in competition. The name of the game is made lifts in training and in competition.

Therefore, if your body is forcing you to miss lifts then it is time to drop the percentage and make the lifts. I realize that the high reps we are currently completing are going to cause an extreme amount of fatigue. That should be a wake-up call to all of you who do not take your recovery and your calorie intake seriously. Both of those factors will have an extreme impact on your ability to recover and survive the phase of training we are currently in. With all that in mind, my finaal encouragement to you is to listen to your body. Don’t let your stubbornness allow for more miss that are not necessary. Make lifts, even if they are at a lower percentage.


One response to “Percentages Are Guidelines (Sometimes)

  1. On the opposite end of this, if we’re having a “good” day and feel like the current percentages aren’t hard enough, is it ever okay to go up in weight? Assuming we don’t push too hard where we over-fatigue ourself for the following day.

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