Are You Utilizing This in Your Training Program? You Should Be!


Are you utilizing this in your training?

If you are a top Olympic lifter, world class power lifter or an athlete wanting to increase strength then you should be using this table. A.S. Prilepin is a Soviet researcher who took thousands of athletes numbers from the former Soviet Union and based off of quantitative analysis came up with the optimal range for Olympic Lifters, aka weightlifters to train in regards to percentage, sets, reps and total volume.

This approach is beyond reproach and used widely including Westside Barbell and Louie Simmons, Elite Fitness Systems and Olympic/weightlifting coaches. Simply put the numbers do not lie and nor do the results.

When designing programs for athletes this table is my template and this includes Crossfitters. Absolute strength numbers are essential and this table is the root of protocol for understanding how to program to achieve results in all types of strength, including explosive & absolute.

What is it? A.S. Prilepin’s chart gives set percentages of one’s max to be used in training. Here’s what it looks like:

Percent    Reps/ sets          Optimal              Total range
55–65         3–6                       24                      18–30
70–80         3–6                       18                      12–24
80–90         2–4                       15                      10–20
90+             1–2                        4                        4-10

Weightlifting and powerlifting were not meant for high reps under conditions of fatigue. In training especially, one should focus on quality work meaning technique! Train poorly, perform poorly. Therefore use this table to design an effective protocol to increase performance through proper training. For “conditioning” for Crossfitters looking to increase strength endurance, focus on controlling rest periods, example being on the minute work but be certain to not sacrifice technique. (refer to my program design article for examples)

Coach Simmons programming uses the concept of 1 minute rest between sets of work. An example being 12 doubles with 1 minute rest at 70% of 1 RM. and if you are doing this with 315 or more believe the conditioning is built in, you will be worked. The best part is your technique will not be compromised and your performance as a whole will increase.

Do not be fooled, program design is essential to optimal human performance. There is nothing random about an athletes programming. At the highest level of performance any program should take into account a multitude of factors including strengths, weaknesses, competitions, psychological state, nutrition, recovery and of course sets, reps, exercise, rest periods, intensity, etc. In order to continue to see progression one must take into account all these factors/variables and more. Remember you are training and developing more than just your bodies exterior look and the times/numbers you put on the board. The root of everything comes from deep inside your inner circuitry.

There are a number of books & articles worth reading for more info on the Prilepin Table, the list below is a small sample.

Managing the Training of Weightlifters by Nikolai Petrovich Laputin and Valetin Grigoryevich Oleshko


Joe Sarti, M.A., CSCS, RYT, LA.c (student)