Monthly Archives: October 2015

Critical drop off/Minimal effective dose/Prilepin

There is a concept called critical drop off.  It’s is the idea that there is a certain volume of intensity that is sustainable before the volume becomes less than optimal for recovery.  I think the late Charlie Francis was the individual that coined the term, Charles Poliquin is the author, I believe who adopted it, but I also believe critical drop off parallels what Tim Ferris refers to as the minimal effective dose (MED).   While (MED) can demonstrate the minimum dose critical drop off demonstrates the end of the spectrum where volume can tax recovery.  Prilepin I think brought this idea forward earliest by examining optimal volumes at certain levels of intensity.

                                                                        PRILEPIN’S CHART
Percent Reps Optimal Volume Volume 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 10

A friend of mine led me to the idea of using power clean as a marker for critical drop off.  The concept for me works a lot like this.  You ramp up to a load where you are able to maintain technique at.  I typically use 95% of my one rep max of the power clean. The goal is to demonstrate technique @ 95% or greater without going to the hole for as many reps as you can sustain.  Once you go to the hole 3 times you have hit critical drop off.  The nervous system has potentially been taxed to the point where it can no longer generate enough power to maintain technique above or at parallel.

There a multiple other ways to measure critical drop off, and I am not saying that this way is any more effective than other versions.  I am using it as an example for people to build upon their understanding of of critical drop off. In some instances you will get a false positive due to technique and mental readiness however this could also demonstrate that the nervous system has yet to recover from previous training.