Prilepin's Table for ME

your exercise order could be better, so do u just cycle from 3x6 to 4x3?

I would like more info. on whether these percentages are applicable to ME lifting. My research on the table suggests so.

In the past we set records and tried to break them for our ME lifts.

I thought maybe using the chart and %s would give us more quality time under tension.

if you wanted to do 3x6 i would use 70% or 3x5x75 then bump the 4x3 to 5x3x85%. i think ur %'s would be just ok also

On squat yes. When they plateau, I will probably switch to dead lift for a while.

We usually rotate ME bench lifts between flat, incline, and now board press. We have been doing 3X6 only here in an attempt to pack on mass.

As far as order goes, what in particular do you mean? This is the first time I have put the ab / core work at the beginning (another experiment). I thought it might enable us to cut the warmup to a bare minimum (only 47 mins to workout and shower). I have also heard people swear by core before the main lifts although I have never done it. In real life, the kids will do what they want and can do since we are working in a very average room - equipment is not always easily accessed.

Keep the critiques coming.

if u want to pack on mass most people do 8-12reps or 10x3x75%, yeh i always do core work after bc done before is kinda risky to the lower back etc. if you are doing squats, cleans, sprints, throws you really dont need core work if u r pushing for time.

Yes, Westside actually uses them more for ME work than DE work.

Some food for thought from CT (T-Nation):

"The thing about Prilepin’s table is that it was designed by AS Prilepin after studying the training journals of the elite Soviet Olympic lifters. It was designed by counting the number of reps and sets in the competitive lifts (snatch, clean & jerk) performed in training. He based his table on the record of a super high number of athletes as record keeping was obligatory in the USSR and these where all sent to the “central office” for analysis.

So the table is kinda like a poll… it gives us a very good average but gives us little clues as to the extreme.

Another important point, which I’ve made before is that the table is based on the competitive OLYMPIC lifts which are very different structurally to the power lifts and more traditional lifting exercises. First of all the competitive olympic lifts are very complex and involve the CNS more so that any other lifting exercise. In the competitive OL the whole body is involved at the same time whereas in the “power lifts” only a certain region of the body is used. The “conclusion” is that the olympic lifts are more neurally and physically draining than the power lifts so it is not surprising that less total reps can and should be performed.

Another important point about the table. Note how the sets are not performed to failure. For example with loads of 80-89% it is recommended that one performs sets of 2 to 4 reps. The average lifter can get around 6-8 rep at 80% of his maximum. With loads of 90-100% sets of 1-2 reps are performed. This backs up the point I was making about motor learning earlier: strength is a skill… to improve you must perform more quality reps… as Pavel Tsatsouline said: “to gain strength you must perform as many reps as possible while being as fresh as possible”. So the Prilepin table recommends doing MORE SETS of LESS REPS to maximize repetition quality.

For example, the table recommends 4-10 lifts at 90-100% and sets of 1-2 reps. So we’re talking about performing anywhere between 5 to 10 sets here.

If you are training in the 80-89% zone the table recommends between 10 and 20 reps divided into sets of 2-4 reps. This gives us anywhere from 3 to 10 sets.

When you are performing max effort work you should not go to failure. Every rep should be challenging but flawless. You should not have to “grind it out”. The only exception being when you attempt a PR.

So you decided to use the Prilepin table for your ME work… which is okay… it’s not perfect but its certainly a good starting point. However if you decide to use it, use it 100%… do not take only one variable into account (total number of reps per lift) and disregard the reps per set recommendation. "

Also, from a David W post from 6/17/04 here:
Prilepin’s Charts

If the number of lifts (per exercise) is significantly above or below the range specified the training effect decreases:

70%: 12 to 24 reps
80%: 10 to 20 reps
90%: 4 to 10 reps


  1. Assuming that the threshold for developing strength is 70%, the chart implies total repetitions should not exceed 24.
  2. When performing reps at different intensities:
  • 1 rep at 70% counts for ~0.4 reps at 90%
  • 1 rep at 80% counts for ~0.5 reps at 90%

This is the link to David W’s site:
David W’s page

That’s what I was looking for. Thanks, Ryan.

To expand on the bold part…

I’m not sure if this is totally true, with WSB lifters at least.

I say this because at the lower end percentages (50-60%), WSB/Louie Simmons sometimes use/used a higher number of total lifts than the “optimal” guideline. i.e. 9x3 and 10x3 is sometimes done for their DE lifts. This is if they are using straight weight/chains and more so for the bench press, if not solely for the bench press. This might be due to the squat having more motor units, system links, etc. involved in the lift compared to the bench, so less total reps are needed. It’s also hard to tell because for the most part squats are done with bands for 8x2.

At the higher end (90%+), they do 2-5 lifts which is below the optimal total lift number. And only recently (last year or two) have I read posts/articles by EliteFTS guys recommending doing even more than 3 total lifts. And for a long time (at least to my knowledge) the WSB-method lifters just worked up to a new 1RM. This can mean as little as 2 lifts over 90% which is often the case.

This part is exactly what Christian is saying, since the ranges are based on the O-lifts, you could probably do more total lifts when training the powerlifts than training O-lifts. I’m not sure of the ME total reps.

Yes, that is exactly what he is saying for the DE lifts, which is why I said it’s not totally true. As in, it is true for the DE lifts but for ME lifts it is the opposite.

When having HS kids perform a ME workout, do you agree that having them attempt a record of 4 sets of 3 is better than a record of one set of three?
They are getting more quality reps at a high tension, even though it might not be as close to their 1rm. They would still be improving max strength while being under tension for a long time (hypertrophy).
We have worked up to a 3 or 5 rep max for a long time, but it seemed like maybe we weren’t getting enough quality reps.
I am thinking about rotating between 4 X 3 and 3 X 6 for ME squat and dead lift, and rotating between 3 X 5 for ME bench and incline on upper body days. Will working with sets of 6 still improve max strength adaquately for these guys?
We would also perform RE on the flat bench once a week if possible.

No, I wouldn’t do that. 3 rep max is generally 90% of max. This would put you above Prilepin’s recommendations (12 reps at 90% vs. 4-10 reps per Prilepin). I would only work up to one max set of 3 or 5 reps. This is what Joe DeFranco does with his athletes and he uses a form of Westside. He trains exclusively athletes (mostly football players from high school to NFL level). You might want to check out his stuff for more info. His Westside for Skinny bastards program gives a very good outline of his system. There are 2 articles on it, the second includes conditioning work. Go to his site to find out more. Look under articles.

DeFranco’s Training

We follow Defranco’s stuff. I have read the articles and have 2 of his videos. I am looking for ways to improve it. Maybe I should just work up to one max set. That just didn’t seem like enough heavy lifts to me.
For instance, for a 230 pound record attempt of 3 reps, we might do sets of 3-5 at bar, 95, 135, 185, 205, then the record attempt.

There’s a reason he only does one max set. You don’t want to totally fry the athlete’s CNS. Don’t forget powerlifter’s don’t have the other stresses (conditioning, speed work, etc.) that athletes have.