The Purpose of a Training Max
This is from a discussion about training maxes on the Jim Wendler Forum.
The whole purpose of a training max is to establish a baseline for where you are USUALLY at. The reason I grade sessions like I do (80%, -10%, +10%) is so that I don't try to make my "big boy pants" my everyday pants, because I had a kick ass session. This is a very common mistake made by most guys. They have a brutally good session, then start revamping their training based on a single factor. Lifting is not done in a vacuum, i.e. single session events. It's something you build over time, brick on top of brick.
You pick a low(ish) training max to account for the ebb and flow of recovery which will mean there will be down days as well. If you have a shit day should you also lower your training max because of that? No. You understand it comes with training. The training max is the equilibrium in your training. You can do all sorts of things with your volume and bar speed in order to compensate for overhauling your training.
This is another reason I don't like autoregulation. Because guys can't go into the gym without having a dick measuring contest with their self. No one REALLY down regulates the intensity because well, that's pussy. Right?
Picking a proper training max to let your programming revolve around is one of the most important factors in training. What you should be asking yourself is how low HOW LOW, can you program the training max and still get fucking strong with it. That's the proper question.
Thank you Paul. This is something I have preached (obviously) for a long time; you have to account for the ebb and flow of training/life. If you have a good day - do a rep record, work up, hit your TM for reps...the possibilities are endless. Have a bad day? Do the required reps and move on with your life. This is a great answer. (and I ALWAYS win a dick measuring contest with myself.)
Classic periodization and autoregulation are shit storms for reason. Periodization attempts to tell someone that you can program out a 4 year cycle and know/predict that you can "X" weight in a year and "Y" weight 185 days from now. But only if we follow the plan. It just doesn't work like that. And people start way too heavy and have ridiculous goals.
Then you have auto regulation and you have two types of people: You have those people that, no matter whats on the damn bar, they know they can add 50 pounds (even if they miss). Then there are those who put 95 lbs on the bar and they say "That's too heavy!" Then you put on 135 and you get the same response. The same goes for 185, 225, 275 and 315. You get the picture.
You do need a plan and weights that will push you. But the weights have to be smart and reasonable and well within your bounds.