Breaking – it’s a good thing!

The term “breaking” generally has a negative connotation, particularly in the world of athletics.  But when it deals with strength training, it is a different story.

If you recall, the workout template that I have shared is based on doing various sets and rep combinations in your four “core” lifts – Bench, Squat, Push Press, and Clean.  All of these sets and reps are based off percentages of your estimated one-rep maxes on these lifts.

After we teach each lift, we test the athlete to find their multi-rep max.  The multi-rep max is the most weight the athlete can do at least twice, but less than ten reps.  We then convert this to an estimated one-rep max (using either a chart or various conversion calculators on the web) and enter them here on the card.


This is a starting point for their workout program.

If this amount were never changed, the athlete would eventually hit a plateau and not get appreciably stronger.  Therefore, it is necessary to, at some point, increase the load that they are lifting.  So how and when this is done is what we term “breaking”.  In our program, when an athlete “breaks” it is when they have increased (or broken) their one rep max.

So how does an athlete know, without you having to tell them, when they have broken?  It goes back to the weekly workout cycle.  If you recall, each day we have our athletes complete on of the four core lifts at a heavy intensity, one at a medium intensity, one at a light intensity, and one lift is not done.  For instance, Monday is a heavy Bench day, medium Squat day, and light Push Press day.

If an athlete makes it through their heavy day lift, completing all the sets, and all the reps, using correct technique, with no assistance from the spotter, then they have BROKEN!  This is a good thing!  It means that they are stronger than the one rep max that is showing on their card and it needs to be increased – we increase by 10 lbs every time they break and change the numbers here on the card.


This, in turn, increases the workout weights below, which are based on this max.  This increases the load they are lifting, making their workout slightly more difficult.

We only break on one lift a day – the heavy day lift.

  • Monday – Bench
  • Tuesday – Squat
  • Wednesday – Push Press
  • Friday –  Clean

If an athlete gets through their workout on their medium and light day lifts, no changes on the card are needed or made.  We only break on our heavy day lift.

Any questions?  Just comment or email

Jeff Floyd –

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