have i got it down right?
Yeah, pretty much.
You definitely don't want to go past triples. That would be pointless. It's all a learning process. You get to know how much is enough and how much is too much. Sure it's a lot trickier than "formulas" based on rigid numbers but in the end you make more consistent and better progress.
That is one of my biggest problems with the percentage based plans. You will never learn what you can and can't do. Everybody knows I am all for playing it safe. And I think it is "safe" to say that most of us are better off doing a little less than we think is necessary. But you gotta also be creative and color outside the lines sometimes.
Like recently, as you know, I got this really bad stomach virus. Really violently ill. There is nothing like a GI virus to sap your strength. So when I got back to the gym I had about 2 or 3 really bad workouts where I was just sluggish as hell. What sucked is right before that I had just got a great PR on deads. Then bam, that same night I'm puking my guts out.
So when I get back to deads I can barely pull 80 percent of that max I had established. But I managed to do a couple of sets of 5 of it and basically called that workout done. The reason I knew that I could get away from doing as much as I did, even though it took so much out of me is because it ain't the first time I'd gotten sick and it wasn't the first time I'd felt that weak coming back. I know from past experience that I hadn't really actually lost much absolute ability. My body was just fatigued from the illness and I knew that I had to basically send a message that the game was back on. Besides it was a "light" weight. For another person it might have been too fatigueing and been a mistake but for me I knew it was just the ticket. My body tends to want to shut down it I don't continually let it know that there is business to be done.
That is actually reason why I little "active recovery" workouts on my off days.
Next deadlift workout sucked too BUT I didn't feel like my body was made of jello. It was basically the same workout though.
Then after a few more days my stength basically rebounded and I set a PR on box squats and some other stuff. Then deads came around and ALL that seemingly lost stength was back as if it had never left. And I knew it would be. My plan then was to repeat that PR I had made before I got sick.
I took my time and worked up to it carefully. Really feeling everything out. I got the PR and it was sorta difficult but I could tell that it wasn't the weight. The fact was my body wasn't yet completely ready. I knew I could actually get a new PR that day and the old max was all I needed to get that last bit of acclimation. So I rested up about 4.5 minutes and got and unbelievable 10 additional pounds! And I WAS actually being conservative. The PR was better and easier than the old PR which had kinda went to my back more than I'd like. That is a really good day for me. REALLY good. And my back even felt great the next day.
The question is, how can someone get a max that feels like a MAX but know that they can lift more? You just know because you know you. That is the kind of thing you've got to discover for youself and you'll never discover it if you never break from the "plan". That thiry percent can make all the difference.