If you’re reading this, you’ve probably done some weightlifting programming before. Have you ever wondered where rep/percentage relationships come from, and if they really work?
One size doesn’t fit all with programming and today I want to give you just one of the variables that we take into account when determining if a program is appropriate for a given athlete. This variable is neuromuscular efficiency.
Say you have two athletes, Joe and Bill. For the sake of this example let’s imagine that these two individuals are completely identical including the fact that they can both front squat 300 pounds. What’s different however is that even though they have the same 1 rep max, Bill is able to perform 5 reps at 90% where as Joe is only able to perform 2 reps. Given that these two athletes are similar in training age, biological age, gender and all other factors, the cause is likely neuromuscular efficiency.
This ability to do higher or lower reps at different intensities in relationship to your max makes a huge difference in regards to your results and how you should pick programming. For example, a person who has a high neuromuscular efficiency benefits mostly from lower volume training protocols. The opposite could be said about someone who has a low neuromuscular efficiency where they may benefit most from a high volume-training program.
In practical terms, lets go back to the example of Bill and Joe. Remember that Bill is able to perform 5 reps where as Joe can only perform 3 at the same percentage of their 1rm. This would mean that Bill has less neuromuscular efficiency than Joe and should therefore be on a higher volume program. For example, lets say both individuals are doing some squats. Bill may do a rep scheme such as 4x6 where as Joe may do 5x4 and both athletes can get similar benefits. This concept of neuromuscular efficiency is why assigning a rep scheme such as 5-3-1 or 5x5 works well for some, but not for others.
It’s important to know and understand your neuromuscular efficiency and how it relates to your programming. By taking it into account you can ensure that you get the most bang for your buck when finding a program that fits your individual needs.
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By nickstram / Administrator, bbp_keymaster on Aug 30, 2017