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Thread: Triples for Females

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Triples for Females

    Hi Mark,

    My wife has started lifting with me and I'm doing my best to help her do the program. Her form is really good, but I'm wondering about something I read you say a while back re: reps for females vs. males.

    About a year ago there were a couple of threads that touched on the idea of using sets of 3 for female lifters instead of 5's. Basically what came out of those threads was that you were looking at making this the standard protocol for women, and there were a number of members that were going to start following said protocol to see how it worked. I think the topic sort of died from there, at least a search didn't turn up any updates.

    2+1/2 questions:
    1) Any updates to your thinking on this, or from the lifters who've tried it out?
    2) What about deadlift where there's only one set? Or press, where the weight is relatively light?

  2. #2
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    Several people tried it. Let's see what they say.

  3. #3

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    My training partner is having better luck with 5's for TM volume and intensity days. We tried triples for the reasons explored in that thread.

  4. #4
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    I have coached two women >50 yo and one in her 30s who have made excellent progress with triples on the squat and the pressing exercises. In the case of my two older ladies, I moved one of them (50 yo) to 3s after she had repeated failures and setbacks in the last rep or two of sets of five. Moving her to 3s allowed her to continue LP and make serious progress. The other one (64 yo) I started with triples. I continue to have them all do a single set of five for the deadlift workset, and 5 sets of 3 for cleans and/or snatches.

    Obviously, this is entirely anecdotal and purely pragmatic. YMMV. I'll be interested to hear what others have to say.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamesCurtis View Post
    My training partner is having better luck with 5's for TM volume and intensity days. We tried triples for the reasons explored in that thread.
    Is your training partner a female?

  6. #6
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    Ive had good results with this. I use triples with my female clients when 5's get too much for 5lb jumps each week/session. So far it has it has allowed progression to continue without any stalls. I only use it on the bench and press as so far I've seen little sign that it needs implementing for the squat and dead.

  7. #7
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    My daughters, ages 10 and 12, maxed out quickly on 5 rep sets, even with microloading just 1-1/4 lb. increases. Changing over to 3 rep sets allowed the weight to go up much more often and at 2-1/2 lb. increases.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    I'm pretty sure 3s or 5s is an individual thing. We train a lot of ladies and I have see 250 pound squats on 17 year old girls on 5s and I have seen the same success from on 3s. We use both. We always start out with 5s and will look at 3s somewhere around the transition to intermediate phase.

    Don't drive anyone into the ground with 5s if progress stalls and all other factors are accounted for. 3s will kick start progress again many times.

  9. #9
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    I had my girlfriend switch from sets of 5 to sets of 3 half-way through her linear progression, and this seemed to help her make better, i.e. more consistent, progress. She initially tried 3 sets of 3, which proved inadequate in terms of volume, so she then did 5 sets of 3, which hit the spot. I had her stick with a set of 5 for the deadlift though, as she had always been able to consistently progress on this lift. She recently transitioned to the Texas Method after reaching work-set weights of 87.5 kilos for the high-bar squat (I just couldn't help her with the form problems she experienced with LB squats), a 48.7 kilo bench press, a 31.2 kilo press, and 87.5 kilo deadlift. She is 5 foot 7, weighs around 68 kilos, and is 30 years old.

    For the Texas method, she's going to stick with 3s, but up the volume to 8 sets on volume day. She's just completed her second week, so it's early days yet, but this does seem to be working for her so far.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    Is your training partner a female?
    Yes. 20 years old. I guess that's relevant, eh?

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