As far as RPE 7, it could be ballparked at 70%, but that’s going to change depending on the reps. RPE 7 for a single and RPE 7 for a set of 5 are going to be very different weights. Just like the guys above said, 7 should mean 3 in the tank left from what was going to be a top set. RPE 7 for a single is weight that would be RPE 10 for a set of 4, and for a set of 5 it would be for a set of 8
For the second part of the question, the way you build up to it is up to you. Early in the program with sets of 5 I’m not concerned about how much weight I’m pushing, I’m just trying to get work in and practice form. Warming up and then having the working sets start not too far from what the top set will be can be really helpful for that…. if your top set of 5 at RPE 7 is 315, then warm up and have your first set be 275, then 285, and make 10 lb jumps until the 5th set is 315. You can practice your form and stimulate muscle with the those kind of weights. If it’s going for a top single and I’m more concerned about putting up a good number, I would make larger jumps in the 20-30 lb per set range rather than 10lbs…. This depends on the lift of course too, squats and deads will be making bigger jumps because you can lift more vs bench.
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Tucker Loken is a Bodybuilder turned Powerlifter turned Powerbuilder from Eugene, Oregon. He did his first bodybuilding show when he was still in high school, and has been training male and female competitors for shows since 2011. Several years ago he decided to take a step away from his normal routine and learn how to get strong. He worked with Brian for 9 months, added 200 pounds to his raw total and qualified as an Elite lifter in the 220 pound weight class. He returned back to bodybuilding much stronger and now incorporates the 10/20/Life philosophy into his training to keep himself healthy and making continual progress in the Big 3 as well as adding size and shaping his physique. Now part of Team PRS, he brings his unique expertise of nutritional knowledge and how to balance Bodybuilding with Powerlifting to help athletes achieve their best potential.