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Thread: RPE based Bulgarian?

  1. #1
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    RPE based Bulgarian?

    This is more of a hypothetical question because my leg strength is by biggest weakness but for the person who has adequate leg strength, would there be application of such a program. The main issue with the Bulgarian program is that it would be impossible for a clean athlete to recover from. But if one were to use an RPE type scale obviously not as straightforward as powerlifting, having x reps left in the tank but more so using the criteria of making your highest weight for the day feel like an opener; would this be a possible program to increase ones total? The criteria of "feeling like an opener" would simply indicate you are not reaching max intensity and leaving at least one more jump in the tank but would still in theory allow you to increase your minimums. Anyways, haven't seen much talk about this but was just curious as to your guys thoughts.

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    RPE is fine but needs a lot of experience. If you are someone who lacks leg strength, then this is more often than not a beginner issue and therefore would make RPE stuff not the best idea. I know you didn't ask about that, but it was related to my answer.

  3. #3
    AKA Tony Arkitect FFF's Avatar
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    Personally I don't care for RPE, because it's too much based on how you feel, and fitness, particularly are about what you do, not how you feel about it.


    No one thinks Usain Bolt is out of shape because he's tired at the end of a race.

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    That is how many "max squats every day" programs work. I don't think singles is effective for most people though.

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    I wouldn't call 'RPE' a program. I would call it a method used, within a program, to prescribe intensity in real time.

    'A program' still needs to have adequate tonnage, volume and intensity in order to drive further adaptation and hopefully, competition results. That is without even mentioning individual technical needs lifter to lifter.

    'Bulgarian' (and we're talking 70's/80's Bulgarian pre-sorted Senior and Junior Men's team here) but used for a clean lifter, is basically an extended taper program that eventually runs you in to the ground. If it works to any extent, its because you are practicing the lifts at a high intensity which may have been lacking, and you may have a suitable back end of training volume and tonnage.

    'Bulgarian' for a doped lifter works because they don't really need to do the comprehensive strength work as a separate capacity of fitness within their program. They also don't have as much need for medium to long term periodized work as recovery is much easier to arrive at.

    There is a heck of a lot of 10 RPE in the 'Bulgarian' program, and if you were to be successful you would have to alter everything else accordingly. I think the very interesting question has always been whether the smartest method for the unrestricted doped lifter is basically 10 RPE all the time on everything. Evidence would suggest that it is. Knowing why answers a lot of other questions for every time of lifter.

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    There are many who earn a living by making training complicated. RPE is just another way of someone trying to package their perspective. I have a lot of little systems that I've developed over the years, but they're personal and constantly evolving. As soon as I try to map it out and formalize it, I end up turning my principles into methodologies and suck the intuitiveness and flexibility out of my approach. Keep it simple.

    This thread reminded me of multi-world champion and record hold Jen Thompson's video with her and her training partners making light of RPE and other internet acronyms.



    Keep it simple; listen to your body; and constantly be on the lookout for weaknesses.

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  10. #7
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    I tried using RPE in training based on RTS methods. They have a couple of articles on their forum with an RPE chart based on kilos left in the tank rather than reps. I did it for about 2 weeks while driving my d$%% into the ground on yet another Bulgarian style program. I didn't find it useful, and like RW1 just said, it over-complicated my intuition and personal feelings to pigeon hole it into a number that was meaningless to me. If you look at the sample program, it's a lot of complicated rep schemes and complexes etc. Simple classic periodization with the basics works for me.

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