Template FAQ 1.) What if my sets of the day are zero or NEGATIVE? A: This means that you’ve been rating the training as consistently very hard and the volume has been adjusted very low. If the sets are negative or zero, just don’t train that exercise at all on that day, and your fatigue should drop very quickly. This occurrence is going to be very rare in any case. 2.) How do I enter in the reps for a workout? A: Type in the reps into the “Rep Results” column with commas. For example, if you got 3 total sets of 8 reps then 8 reps then 6 reps, type in “8,8,6” into the “Rep Results” cell for that exercise. 3.) How do Deload reps work? A: Do half the reps that you did in Week 1. So if you got 8,8,6 reps in week one on an exercise, you’ll do 4,4,3 reps on the deload for that exercise. If the resultant number is not a whole number, round DOWN and use that number, for example; 7 reps in week 1 means 3 reps in the deload week. 4.) Can I pick the same movement for both Movements 1 and 2 in a program? A: Yes, but using two different variants is highly recommended. It will prevent fatigue accumulation from occurring as rapidly and possibly enhance the total amount of muscle grown. However, if you’re confident you can survive the monotony and benefit from it (if you’ve done “squat every day” style programs recently and benefitted from them, for example), you can choose the same variants within the week. To be clear, we advise against this for most lifters. 5.) What is “3/fail, etc…” and what does it mean? A: As described in the “how to” document, x/fail means you stop the working set as soon as you reach x number of reps away from muscular failure. Another way to put this is that you should rack the weight and end the set when you have x reps left in the tank. For example, if the instruction is 1/fail, that means that you should be lifting until you only have one rep at most left in the tank, with good technique. Typically, 3/fail will see a significant slowdown in bar speed towards the end of the set, but is not usually perceived as very difficult to crank out. 2/fail is where straining and shaking may occur and is going to feel very tough. 1/fail is very close to all you have to give and is going to feel like a near maximal effort. Remember that failure means when your form fails, not all out failure as in when you can no
longer perform a rep altogether. Good form/technique should always be used for safety purposes. 6.) I can’t lift in the exact days specified in the workout. Can I switch the days around to meet my needs? A: You can, but we’d highly recommend that you stick to the scheduled pattern of days already in the routine. Shifting is an ok idea, but the more you shift, the less we can guarantee the safety and effectiveness of the program. Shifting a day or two occasionally out of necessity is ok, but consistency with the training days and times will ensure similar conditions for each training session and better results. 7.) Which exercises should I pick to train with? A: In general, you should do the lifts that focus on the muscles you need to grow the most. For beginners, this will be a wide variety of basically all the muscles involved heavily in powerlifting performance. For intermediates, mostly strong points will be trained (those with responsive quads should train their quads more), and for advanced lifters, the focus should be mostly on weaker or lagging areas. Extensive detail for this system can be found in the powerlifting book. If you don’t like any of the exercises listed, you can feel free to simply type in your own into the mesocycle sheet itself. 8.) I don’t know my 10RM (or 5RM or 3RM) values to enter, how do I find them? A: While there are some good websites for calculating 10RM’s from maxes, they are only a rough guess. The good thing is, a rough guess is all you need for the program to work well. Just estimating your maxes works, but you have to be honest with yourself. Don’t put what’s really your 7RM as your 10RM, or you’ll be in a world of hurt and less than the best training. The less ego you bring in, the better, and if you’re not sure on your maxes, erring on the conservative side is usually a good idea. 9.) Why does the weight jump more from week 1 to week 2 than any other weeks? A: In essence, you get much more used to the movement in the first week so we need to really blast it to keep up with adaptation and your new MRV (maximum recoverable volume). When you first do a new move you haven’t done in a while, the novelty of the angles of force can cause quite a bit of muscle damage and adaptation. This is a good thing and allows us to get away with great results on an easy first week. On the second week, your physiology has already adapted significantly to the different exercises, and the bigger weight jump (occurs in some
templates but not others) promotes a continued overload stimulus and progress toward bigger muscles. 10.) Where can I find videos of the exercises listed? A: In this first main release of the hypertrophy templates, we chose not to link exercises directly to their videos. Our reasoning was that there are many different body types and many different ways to properly execute the movements, and we didn’t want to constrain lifters to just doing it “our way.” If you’re interested in the way we recommend the movements on average (there are many exceptions and nothing beats in-person teaching and coaching of the lifts), here is the video library of most of the lifts you’ll see in the template. 11.) Why isn’t this program for novice lifters? A: What we term “novice” is between 0 and 6 months of training in powerlifting. Because there is a tremendous amount of technique involved, we HIGHLY recommend you do this through a powerlifting coach in your area. Relying on a computer program such as ours is not sufficient to develop technique. In addition, our templates for hypertrophy are quite high in volume, and the needed volume tolerance (work capacity and recovery ability) need to be built with a developmental program first before jumping into even our beginner program. 12.) I feel fine and don’t think I need to deload. What should I do? A: Deload. If by some chance the program was way too easy for you and even the 4th week was a breeze, you can always come back next mesocycle and raise the week 1 set numbers to your liking (the autoregulation formulas will adjust by themselves), but you’ll need to be at your best to survive that program, so make sure to take the deload even if you feel “ok.” The idea after a deload is to feel GREAT, not just OK. Making sure you’re using the autoregulation ratings correctly can go a long way in keeping the training close to your maximum recoverable volume (MRV) and not too hard or too easy. 13.) When can I test my maxes? A: Training in high volumes and for high reps will add tons of muscle or keep your muscle on while you lose fat, but it won’t raise your maxes directly. In order for that to happen, you are best served by going through a strength phase and then a peaking phase. If you want something to test, take a look at your best rep results and see if they improved from some months back. Then when you are peaked for 1RMs later, you can test those. 14.) What do I do if the volume is not rising fast enough and I think I can do a lot more work?
A: If after the first week you really think that the volume of this routine will be too low, it’s likely going to be more than enough work in the later weeks, especially if you’re properly rating the workouts as “easy” and giving them 1’s on the rating scale. We’ve designed the program to move up to VERY high volumes in the last week if you consistently feel unchallenged. Keep your eyes down the road and remember what may seem easier now will get much harder in the subsequent weeks. Leave some gas in the tank. If you go through a whole mesocycle and find it’s too easy, feel free to run another one with different exercises and manually increase the first week numbers. This will make the routine as tough as you want. 15.) Should I be gaining weight, losing weight, or maintaining weight on this program? A: Depends on what you’re going for. If you’re looking to gain muscle, you should be looking to increase your bodyweight by between 0.5% and 1% per week. If you’re looking to improve your work capacity without as much muscle gain or any weight gain, just keep your weight stable through the program. If you’re looking to lose fat to possibly drop a weight class or just get leaner, you should be losing weight at 0.5% to 1% per week. How can you go about these goals in a logical and informed fashion? Take a look at our diet book, diet auto-templates or diet coaching for a more detailed approach. 16.) Why aren’t there any low bar squats or pulls from the floor or any of the competition moves? A: In order to promote rapid adaptation and prevent injuries, it’s best to stay mostly away from the competitive powerlifting movements during the hypertrophy phase and save those for the strength and especially peaking phases. Please feel free to check out the powerlifting book for a detailed explanation of these concepts. For a much shorter explanation of the principles involved, check out this article. 17.) Do I have to do the exercises in the order presented? A: No, but it’s highly recommended. Exercise volumes and intensities were programmed with the original orders in mind, so switching them significantly can impact results. If you have to switch exercise orders here and there, it’s no big deal (like when the rack is being taken up by people curling in it for too damn long). But if you’re always benching before you squat even when the program says otherwise, it’s not recommended. 18.) For bodyweight exercises like pullups and dips, what exactly is the instruction on putting in 10RM weights? A: When entering your 10RM for pullups, you add in your bodyweight (initial data entry sheet of the excel document), then when you read the results from the assigned weights in the mesocycle sheet (the actual program), you need to subtract
your bodyweight. For example, if your 10RM on dips is your 150lb bodyweight plus the 45lb plate you hang on your belt, you type in 195 into the 10RM entry cell. When you read the weights off from the actual workout, subtract your 150lb weight from the result and you’ll get the weight to put on your belt. Something like 25, 35, 45, 55 lbs by the weeks 1,2,3,4. 19.) How do I warm up? A: As mentioned in the “how to” document, this is not a program for lifters completely new to the sport. A previous 6 months of training (ideally with a coach from any local gym) is required, and along with technique and work capacity development, proper warmup techniques should be learned. Warmups differ from person to person, but generally involved using a very low weight for a set of 10 reps, then a moderate weight for around 5 reps, a heavy weight for 3 reps and the working weight for a potentiation single, after which the working sets begin. To your liking, you can warm up more extensively than this for the first lift of the day and less than this for all subsequent lifts. 20.) What do I do if I feel a sharp pain or get hurt during training? A: In all cases, stop the routine and avoid physical activity for the rest of the day. If the pain is intense, seek medical attention. When in doubt, consult a medical professional. Injuries are NOT worth pushing through, and there is no shame in calling it quits ensuring your long-term health and success. 21.) Do I have to train 4 or 5 days a week like the template says? A: We’d love to make training templates that incorporate other training splits down the line, but these first products are only 4 and 5 day options. This is not simply due to these templates just being a first design. In fact, training 3 days per week or less is likely not enough to get better in many cases and for most purposes, training more than 5 days per week is not worth the extra gym commute. 22.) What does the rep range have to be? A: Anywhere between 6 and 12 reps on the first set of an exercise is just fine. If you enter in the 10RM values properly and stop short of failure at the recommended amount, this should be the result nearly all the time. 23.) What if the training is too hard? A: In most cases, rating the exercise as -1 will lower the volume progressively until you’re well within your ability to recover. If you feel very overwhelmed and the volume isn’t dropping fast enough, please take half a week off and manually lower the volume (set numbers) for the later weeks to your abilities. 24.) What if I’m not sure what the exercises are?
A: If you’re not sure what an exercise name refers to, please search for it in our video library. If the exercise is not in the video library or you’ve never seen it before once you watch the video, please don’t do that exercise and pick another, even if you have to type in a new one manually. Experimenting with new movements is ok, but please be careful and consider consulting a more experienced lifter or coach to look at your technique. 25.) What if I don't have time to finish the workout? A: If you can’t come back later that day, just scrap it and move forward without making the lifts up. When you block off training time, make sure it’s enough to complete the workout. 26.) What if I miss a day? A: Push up all the rest of the days of that week and get that day in the next time you train. If you miss more than a day, just train light the rest of that week and restart your current week next week. 27.) What about cardio? A: The more cardio you do on this plan, the worse the results are likely to be in many cases. If you do cardio, try to do as little as you can get away with and do it as far away from your training as you can (6 hours apart is a good start). Detailed reasoning here. 28.) I do another sport as well, how do I integrate that sport training with the templates. A: Other than splitting the training apart as far in the day as possible and making sure to manage fatigue well, we can’t give you much specific advice. Hiring a coach or a consultant can be a big help in such scenarios. 29.) Can I do the competition lifts anyway for fun? A: If you decide to do the competition lifts for your main lift volume (low bar squats, paused competition benches, competition deadlifts), that’s ok. We don’t recommended it for reasons of periodization structure, but if you feel strongly about the matter, please go for it. 30.) What if I'm not getting stronger every week? A: You shouldn’t be. Because of the rising fatigue with the rising volumes, you’ll feel more and more beat up and possibly weaker as the routine progresses from week 1 to week 4. After the deload you’ll be much stronger, but neurally and metabolically adaptive for higher reps and not singles. Our recommendation for strength testing is to keep it to the strength and peaking phases only, not the hypertrophy phase.
31.) What if my gym doesn't have or I can't perform this lift at my gym? A: Please only choose exercises that are possible for you to do, and write in new ones if needed. 32.) Can I add more exercises? Shrugs, curls, lateral raises, etc...? A: You can, but the more exercises you add, the less we can guarantee program outcome as the extra fatigue from the added exercises will begin to interfere with your core powerlifting training. 33.) What if my coach doesn't agree with the program? A: Please don’t do any programs your coach does not agree with. If you train under a coach that does not agree with the programs you’re running, he should be writing your programs or pointing you in the right direction to get approved programs. 34.) Can I do Olympic lifts in the before my workout? A: We’d recommend against it if your powerlifting performance is very important to you. If you’re ok with not progressing very fast, you can try training the weightlifting movements before your powerlifting workouts, but results are not likely to be very impressive and your chance of injury may go up quite a bit. 35.) Can I use bands/chains/box squats? A: At certain times, this may be a very good idea, but hypertrophy phases are unlikely to benefit from the use of such modalities, with details in the powerlifting book (final chapter). If you are convinced you’re going to benefit from these moves, feel free to manually type them in and do them. 36.) Can I lift in my gear? A: This program is designed for lifters engaging in raw training which is limited to belts, wrist wraps and knee sleeves if needed. Even if you compete in gear (knee wraps included), your hypertrophy training will be most beneficial raw. You can use straps for high rep deadlifting and other such needs, but please only use them if your grip is very limiting, don’t just use them out of laziness. 37.) What if I can't do a certain exercise? A: Please only choose exercises that you can do with no pain or orthopedic limitations. 38.) Should I do core training?
A: Abdominal training of your choice can be done multiple times during the week, as noted in the mesocycle sheet itself. You can look through the RP video library for some suggestions. 39.) Can I do my WOD after this? A: You can, but that will severely impede your recovery and adaptation and we cannot promise results in any form. The less work you do outside of this plan, the better, so the more you can cut out of your other training, the better you’re likely to do in growing muscle and all of the other benefits of this template. 40.) Who can answer more other questions not covered here? A: Because this is a template and not a coaching service, RP’s consultants unfortunately don’t have the resources to answer individual questions. However, the Facebook group “RP Clients “has lots of clients and template customers (over a thousand) that are excited about sharing their experiences with others and helping new group members on their way. Please feel free to join this group and post your questions. Sometimes even the RP consultants reply to the questions, especially if none of the other group members can help.