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RIR & RPE - Your Training Potential

RIR stands for Reps in Reserve, which refers to the number of reps a person can complete before reaching failure. For example, if a weightlifter is asked to perform 8 reps but after completing the prescription they felt they could have performed 2 more before reaching failure, their RIR would be 2. For compound movements such as squats and deadlifts, having 0-2 reps in reserve (RIR) means that you are working close to your maximal capacity for a given set. This is a great way to build strength and power, but it should not be done for every exercise. It is important to note that when working at 0-2 reps in reserve you should always use a spotter or safety bars, as well as appropriate form and tempo, in order to ensure your safety.


RPE stands for Rate of Perceived Exertion, which is used to gauge how much effort a person is exerting during their exercise. Typically, RPE is measured on a scale of 0-10, with 10 being the most difficult and 0 being no perceived exertion at all. This allows people to measure the intensity of each exercise without needing to count reps or time. For example, an RPE 6-8 is generally used when training for hypertrophy indicating moderate to hard effort. With this level of perceived exertion, you should be able to complete the prescribed number of repetitions, but struggle to do any more. If you are doing a set of 10 reps with a weight that is 80% of your one-rep max and it feels like an 8/10 effort after completing all the reps then you have hit the target RPE for hypertrophy. If it’s too easy and you could have done more reps, the weight may be too light. On the other hand, if it’s too hard and you can’t complete all 10 reps then the weight is too heavy.


These two concepts can be used in a wide variety of programming, from strength training to hypertrophy as a means of creating progressive overload. For example, if a person is looking to increase their strength, they may want to target higher RPEs with fewer RIR. This will allow them to lift heavy weights and get the most out of their workout. On the other hand, if someone is trying to build muscle mass or improve their overall fitness levels, they may want to aim for lower RPEs and more Reps In Reserve.


Both RIR and RPE are important concepts to understand when maximizing the effectiveness of a person's workout routine. They can be used together or independently, depending on what goals you are trying to achieve. Understanding how these methods work can allow you to implement them into your own training program if you have plateaued or are looking to get the most out of your workouts.


It can be tough to understand how to effectively implement these concepts into your training regime. This is where Remote Coaching comes in. Our expert Coaches can guide you through a variety of training methods suitable for your goals and the equipment available to you.

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