My client Ben Thornes of the infamous WAKEFIELD STRENGTH ACADEMY asks:
How do you judge RPE when you've never lifted that weight before?
For my readers who aren't sure what RPE is, I've included a few links and videos below to help you get to grips with the concept:
How To Use The RPE Scale In Training (Barbend)
How To Use RPE In Your Training *Correctly*
A big shout out to fellow metalhead and much stronger individual, Alan Thrall!
If you are unfamilar with the concept of RPE the above links and videos should keep you occupied for a while!
Right then, back to the question we wander!
When judging RPE, especially at first just accept that you'll get it a bit and lot wrong from time to time but it is such a valuable training tool that it's worth sticking with.
Where people tend to tun into the most problems when judging RPE is when they are lifting weights they've never lifted before, when adrenaline is highest and self-reflection probably at it's lowest.
That's what we want with max-weights anyway, a subconscious performance rather than lots of thinking and getting in your own way.
I've digressed again haven't I!?
Right, yes, back on track...again.
So adrenaline is normally at it's highest, thinking is in theory at it's lowest so RPE gets more difficult to judge.
What should you do?
Here I like to use a three point strategy which is as follows:
1) Make sure the lift is filmed from a good angle (I know, I should do an article about this as well!)
2) IMMEDIATE RPE judgement. Do your best, make the call.
3) RETROSPECTIVE RPE- Watch the video back. Consider what it looked like, how the bar moved, how psyched up you had to get and whatever else you want to consider and make a call based on those metrics. Make a call of the RPE
4) Take an average of the two numbers. This tends to be a good marker of the actual RPE of the set
And that's it!
Practice this method and gradually the two numbers will be closer and closer over time as your judgement improves.
The Heavy Metal Strength Coach