Part V: It’s A Numbers Game
1 Rep Maxes are flashy. It’s really exciting when I open up my weekly programming text and I see, “snatch – build to a heavy single.” No hangs, no pauses, no complex, and no drop sets. Just load up the bar, catch it overhead, celebrate with your preferred PR celebration move, and load up the bar again. Tunes are blasting, tights are, well, tight, and the phone is set at the perfect angle for a good Instagram video.
It all leads to either an a.) super fun 1 RM day, or b.) super frustrating 1 RM day if things don’t go as planned.
The unfortunate part is that, unless you follow the Bulgarian approach, 1 RM days are not what makes you a better lifter – percentages do.
Coach Nick and I talk a lot about percentages as it relates to practice versus training. Most days we are working in the 80-85% range (the training percentage range). This way, as I get more comfortable and consistent hitting higher percentages, suddenly that 1 RM attempt doesn’t represent such a huge jump, but instead seems more like just another day at the office. My goal is to hit as many lifts in the 85% range as possible. Being consistent in the 85% range is the key to a successful competition because it is generally the weight that I will select for my opening attempt. More on competitions and strategy/prep in a couple of weeks.
Incidentally, 85-90%, which is where most of my days on program design lead me, is also right about where it starts to get scary. I know for a fact that, when I walk up to a 69kg (152 lbs) barbell for a snatch, I’m going to hit it, whether it’s the cleanest rep or not. As we move the needle towards my current 1 RM of 82kg (180 lbs), however, that is when it becomes more of a head game – more of a grind.
If the form is right, and if the belief is there, then I have plenty of strength to hit that weight. But if one of those components isn’t in place, the bar will be forward, and it will fall to the ground. The connection between strength, form, speed, and belief is very evident in my current battle with a body weight snatch. Thus far, my attempts have landed pretty solidly overhead, only to fall forward as I go to stand up.
The point to remember is, as you’re working towards your goals, it’s going to be scary. Most days I look at the programming in program design and know it’s going to be a grind. 80-90% breeds results and strengthens a lot more than just the muscles required to put the bar overhead.
34 days until the LVB open. Keep Grinding. Until Next week…