1 Rep Max & Prilipen’s Chart: Simple plan to take your training to the next level

Use These Simple Charts to Increase Your Sport Performance

If you want to build strength and increase your sport performance you need to follow a programme designed for that purpose. However, it can be difficult to know what to do, when to do it and how to fit everything into a single longer term programme. 

A good strength training programme must show a clear path or progression for development. In addition, it must account for recovery time or days where you might be lacking energy or not at your maximum capacity. 

Fortunately, there are useful charts that can aid in the design and implementation of a well rounded strength training programme. Prilipen’s Chart can help you determine appropriate weight for a given exercise and a 1 Rep Max Chart can also help with this. 

What is a 1 Rep Max Chart?

A training load chart or 1-RM Chart can help with two things

  • It can estimate your 1 repetition max (maximum weight lifted) based upon submaximal weights. For example; a 3 or 5 rep max test can be used to determine your estimated 1 rep max. 
  • It can be used to help determine your training percentages. This chart takes away the guesswork in your training. This chart should be used in conjunction with Prilipen’s Chart. 

What is a Training Max?

A training max is simply a percentage based reduction of your one repetition maximum weights. A training max is used as a built in safety measure and a training max can also aid in recovery. You don’t need to use a training max but if you are somebody that gets fired up for max lifts, are a competitive athlete or are entering a pre-season period for your sport – you should consider using a training max. 

A training max is a reduction of anywhere from 5 to 15% of your one repetition maximum. Jim Wendler’s legendary 5/3/1 programme proposes a training max of 90% of your one rep maximum and this number will serve as our example below. 

Let’s assume you can back squat 100kg for one repetition. This means that you have a 1RM of 100kg. 

To find a training max you would simply multiply 100 by 0.9 – the result is 90kg. 

 You will then ignore your one rep maximum number and simply go off of your training max weights when designing a programme. 

How to Use Prilipen’s Chart 

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Prilipen’s Chart consists of four columns which provide percentage ranges, rep/set recommendations, optimal total reps and a total rep range. 

The percentage column on the left provides a range. At the lower end of this range the weights used will feel lighter but as you creep towards the higher range the weight will increase. To find your weights based on percentages you will need to refer back to the 1 rep Max Chart. 

You might notice that the rep/set recommendations within Prilipen’s Chart are low. This is by design. The rep and set recommendations listed are for explosive full body movements or multi-joint compound movements like bench press, deadlift, squat etc. 

The Optimal column provides a number which is the total number of reps that can be used for a specific exercise. If you are new to using Prilipen’s Chart you can simply use the Optimal numbers as this will eliminate any guessing or confusion. 

The total range column can be used to dictate the overall volume of a session. By staying between these ranges you can ensure that your workout progressing will not be overly taxing. 

Putting It All Together

At this stage you should be able to use a 1 rep max or training load chart as well as Prilipen’s Chart for your own training programmes. But let’s use an example below. 

Let’s assume you have the following 1-RM’s

  • Bench press – 100kg
  • Back squat – 150kg

Your training maxes (90%) are the following

  • Bench press – 90kg
  • Back squat – 135kg

You could do 

4 sets of 6 reps of Bench Press at 55% of a training max 

  • In doing so I am at the top row of the chart where optimal reps is 24 and reps/sets recommendation is 3-6. This should feel light and explosive. 

In contrast, you could work at the higher end for back squat. You could do 

3 sets of 4 and 1 set of 3 of Back Squat at 90% of a training max

  • In doing so this would be at the higher effort and intensity end. 

This is just one example that can be used for Prilipen’s Chart. By reducing the guessing and sticking to a system that has been shown to get results you can get stronger and increase your performance without hurting yourself, missing weights or feeling like the weights are too heavy each session. 

Get Everything Laid Out for You

As an athlete you can’t copy what your friends are doing in the gym or what pro bodybuilders are doing in their off-season. You need to focus on developing a long-term strategy that complements your sporting calendar. 

If you’re struggling to put all of the pieces together and are constantly burned out, wondering what days you should be training each week or feel like you’re no longer making progress in the gym – we can help. 

We offer remote coaching through Teambuildr. We’ll build out a custom strength and conditioning plan that accounts for your training sessions, big sporting events and other activities you need to accomplish each week. Send us a message HERE if you’d like to explore that option or need more information.