I'm probably going to get an awful lot of flack for this and I encourage your comments.

I am currently convinced that we are getting better results than we ever have with our latest experiment in programing.


We've been running an Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) system on the main lifts (Squat, Press and Deadlift) in the Total Performance Method for almost 8 months and it is working.

It is working well.

It is working better than any other programming we have ever used.

In the last log, I talked about how I had reservations on using this system and I'll get into that in a minute.

First, let me go over some things and stuff.

Our program the Total Performance Method is a semi-private personal training group with about 65 members in it at any given time.

They all have pretty much the same goals: LBN.

LBN is look better naked and it is what 99% of your personal training clients want.

We, as coaches also know that they want to be:

  • stronger
  • in better shape
  • feel better
  • move better
  • and so much more even if they don't verbalize it or realize it.

What separates our program is that we focus on getting them brutally strong.  All work and all progress is based off of your limit strength.

If you client can't do a push up or hold a plank for 10 seconds, they are not very strong and they won't make a lot of progress.

Murph abs

Advanced Plank in TRX



Well, this is easy. as they get stronger, they can handle more work (load-volume-intensity).

(NOTE:hahahaha I said load)

When they do more work, they get more results. Sure this sounds simple but it is lost on many. They over complicate it.

We are not creating a legion of 900 pound squatters here, it's not powerlifting. We are making regular people as strong as they can be on 7 Foundation lifts for the level of fitness they are currently at. This allows them to work at their own ability and  avoid injury.

With that said, we have tried a number of different types of programming and we always get good results.

Good results are not good enough for me.

When a client gives you their money and their trust, they are not paying for good enough. They want the best you can give each and every day. With that in mind, we are always trying to improve our product and service at TPS.

We used a percentage based system for the main lifts for a long time. This worked great and for the most part was a success.

Occasionally we had people have bad days, especially on the higher intensity days.

As lifters, most of you know that some days you come in and are supposed to hit, say 675 for 3 sets of 3 in the squat and as you start to warm up, 135 feels like 405 and it's not going to be a good day. This can be due to many reasons including but not limited to external stressors like:

  • lack of sleep
  • the boss ripped you a new one
  • a fight with your wife, husband, boyfriend, insert relationship of your choice
  • financial issues
  • you got ripping drunk last night
  • and 1000 other things.

When external stressors affect your training and you don't hit your numbers for the day you feel like crap at best, and  at WORST a failure.

We never want out clients or athletes have a feeling of failure. That is not why they pay us. They pay us for results and success.

After a while of running percentage based training we knew we had to change.

I was very curious to see if RPE adapted to group training, especially with beginners. I had reservations but after about 10 weeks I knew this was what we needed to do.

We were seeing smiles on everyone's faces, PR's left and right, bodies changing quickly, a higher level of compliance with training and nutrition and more.


RPE is auto regulatory.

When we explained the system to everyone and how it is supposed to work, the stress of hitting a certain weight for a programmed number of sets and reps was eliminated.

We had a revelation!

Our percentage based programming was stressing our clients out! We were adding to the stress of their lives.

Once we took hard numbers away magic happened.

No longer was a number required to be hit in the squat, press or deadlift. It was by how you feel today.

This is  a drawback of percentage based training, if you feel crappy, you still are supposed to hit numbers. If you feel great and 455 feels like 135, you stick to the program.

RPE allows you to back off when you are feeling less than optimal and get after it when you are feeling AWESOME.

It is the coaches job to determine, just as much as the client if they should go up or down to follow the RPE for the day.

OK, I'll go over this more in future installments.

On to training.

I've been playing around with the new elitefts Shoulder Saver Pad and it is pretty awesome.

Here a few shots of me and the World's Strongest Granny Jane Stabile using it in our training.

She's 62, lifts in the 148's and is badass.

2015-02-25 13.23.13

2015-02-25 13.27.25

I'm pretty much out of time right now, so I won't go too much into my training except to say  I went to 275 with the Shoulder Saver Pad on the 2 board side and had no additional hip pain this week.


Next installment:

How RPE works, what my lifters are doing and more.

Thanks for reading.

Total Performance Sports
Ask me a question-Be sure and Type to Murph in the header

Find me on Google-search for Total Performance Sports Everett, Mass. The Best Gym in Boston, Facebook too.

Oh, yeah, follow us on Instagram too. TPSEverett

Vincere vel mori