Everything You Need to Know About The Max Effort Method

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COACH

I did one of these on the dynamic effort method and I figured I should probably do one on the max effort method and eventually get around to doing one on the repetition method.

Some things I want to put out here before getting into the topic is, I’m going to keep this very general. Very simplified. Most of the questions I get in regards to these methods are being asked by beginners, intermediates, or even intermediate-intermediates. I’m not really sure what to call them. So they’re not really advanced lifters that need to know different sequences of max effort exercises or which max effort exercise is going to produce the best correspondence to whatever their sticking point is when it comes to straining in a certain lift.

They just need to understand the basic max effort fundamentals. As with anything in training, the answer always is “it depends.” So, with the max effort method, I can do one of these things for two hours just on advanced principles that deal with the max effort method, or I can do one very simplified, which is going to cover 90 percent of the questions or more than what I see.

 


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First off, the max effort method is a method to develop maximal strength. The name implies what it actually is. There are three ways to increase muscle tension:

  1. The max effort method
  2. The repetition method
  3. The dynamic effort method

That’s why they should all be incorporated into any training program. Regardless of the training program, if you like it or you don’t like it, if you look close enough, you’re going to see they all are included at some point or another.

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Frequently asked questions with the max effort method that I get from the population I’m talking about:

How do you warm up for your max effort day?

I don’t care. I don’t know. I don’t know how you warm up. Warm up as you normally warm up. The only thing I put out there is if you’re a competitive powerlifter, you definitely want to warm up enough to be able to produce the force you want to be able to produce.

I’m very hesitant in saying that warm-ups prevent injuries because when you’re dealing with lifting maximal weights, shit can happen. So, the issue I see with extreme amounts of warming up is sometimes you’ll loosen up a muscle that should be tight — say, your lats, your spinal erectors should maintain a degree of tightness while you’re doing max effort lower body work and actually upper body work, as far as that goes. If you warm those up too much, and it becomes loose, then you’re losing your base of stability and are putting yourself in a compromised position.

The other thing is you might be thrust into a meet where you don’t have time to warm up, and it has nothing to do with you. It’s just how the meet directors are running the meet and how everything is going, and it’s like, “Oh, shit,” you’ve got two warm-ups and you’ve got to go. You have to be prepared for that. Training is a process of preparing yourself. That’s why there are concepts called general physical preparedness and SPP — you know, specific physical preparedness. Training is preparedness, and you need to be prepared for pretty much anything for whatever sport you’re in.

Do your normal warm-ups but don’t be afraid to do more than your normal warm-ups but don’t be afraid to skip your normal warm-ups.

As far as that goes, once you start the exercise that you’re going to use for your max effort exercise, yes, take the bar, take the time to make sure you’re greasing the groove or whatever you want to call it, that it feels good, that it feels right — that’s the best way I know how to explain it. If the bar feels fucked, then keep doing the bar until the bar doesn’t feel fucked. Then when the bar doesn’t feel fucked, go up to the next weight, which might be a quarter per side. Do that. If it feels great, fine! Go to 135. If it feels fucked, do 95 again.

I can remember countless times that one of the exercises we used to do a lot at Westside when I trained there was the cambered bar low box squat. And that fucking thing sucked. It would take me several sets of just using the frickin’ bar before I could feel like I could move up.

But then there were other days where Louie when through a whole fucking phase where a 100-pound plate had to stay on the bar, no matter what. You had to start with 100. If you couldn’t start with 100, then you shouldn’t be in this fucking gym. Now all of a sudden, you had to mentally get yourself ready to be able to start with whatever that is.

From the warm-up standpoint, mix it up. Don’t stay with one specific protocol that’s going to fuck you up mentally if you’re not able to do that.

How many sets should you do as you’re working up?

First, we have to determine: working up to what? And that’s what one of the other questions is: Should it be a 1RM? A 3RM?

Maximal effort implies one rep. If you’re a powerlifter, you’re training for one rep. Does that mean you have to do 1RM on all your max effort work?

I personally would like to see that happen. I would like to see that be the goal of everyone I’m working with, but there are some caveats with that. The reason I would like to see that be the goal is outside of competitions, I’ve rarely ever seen people get hurt doing a 1RM. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen; I have seen it happen.

My quote was, I rarely see it happen. I see more injuries happen on multiple rep sets than I ever have on a 1RM. My theory is you make yourself tighter, you protect yourself more. That’s why I like to see the 1RM.

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Where does that failure come into play?

Well, first off, with max effort exercises, yes, you are allowed to fail. But you should try not to. That’s the whole goal: to walk away with a little bit of a PR and have a good day and not miss. If you miss, fuck it. You missed. But it shouldn’t be a common occurrence because you’re not training to go to a meet and miss. You’re training to go to a meet and make the weights.

With that in mind, you want to slowly work up, and the way I’ve done it and the way I’ve always coached it and taught it is you want to have bailouts, I guess is the best way to define it. All your sets that are under 40 to 50 percent, and the exercise just feels like shit, it’s just not going to happen — just bail on it. Don’t do it. Go do something more repetition method-wise or something that’s done for time.

If it’s a lower body, maybe it’s a good day to do three minutes times SS Yoke Bar good mornings. If’s upper body, maybe it’s a good idea to do ultra-high reps slight incline dumbbell presses. Just get the fuck out, bail out of it.

The biggest key to success and getting stronger as a powerlifter is knowing when to bail. It’s not knowing when to jam. It’s knowing when to bail. That’s a key point.

That’s the first thing. You get past that point, you’re like, “OK, cool, I’m not going to have to do any high rep shit, I’m cool, I’m good to go.”

The next thing is are you going to end up doing triples? Or are you going to end up doing singles? Well, as you warm up, you kind of know what you should be able to do or at least you should have some basic idea. Once you start to get around the 60, 70 percent mark or a 6 or 7RPE, or however you want to define what your effort is, it feels kind of heavy, however you define that, you should pretty much get a gauge of “Am close to being able to break my PR on this? Or is there just no way in hell?”

What if you don’t have a PR on that?

Well, do you have a PR on something that’s kind of close to it that can give you a common-sense guess? If there’s no way in hell it’s going to happen on a single, then bail and look for a triple and see if you can hit a triple PR. Yes, that’s three times the work. I’m not a big fan of doing it, but I would rather see someone do that and maintain the tightness and the control and get the work in than work up and have some disastrous miss at the very top end of that. That’s where I see the singles come in.

Yes, I do know some coaches will program triples for the first week just to get the athletes acclimated to the movement and then a single the next week to try to break their PR. That’s fine and great if that’s the first time an athlete’s ever done the exercise, but most of the exercises you’re asking them to do max effort-wise are pretty basic compound exercises, and they’re going to acclimate very fast to them. I would rather see them change the exercise every week and use fewer exercises than come back to the exercise every four, five, six weeks or so, to kind of gauge the progress on that as they become stronger and more acclimated to this kind of training and you’re going to come back to an exercise less frequently, maybe eight to ten weeks, but you’re going to be doing exercises that are gauges to know if that exercise is getting better or not.

For example, a close grip floor press compared to a floor press with chains. There should be some mental correlation for you to be able to know, “Yeah, this is good” or “this is not good” from that standpoint.

As you’re working up, again, you want to understand what constitutes failure. I look at weak points, and I look at failure from three different angles:

  1. Mental
  2. Physical
  3. Technical

If your technique is breaking down and it’s a max effort exercise that actually requires more technical skills, then that is failure. That’s it. It’s done.

I made the caveat remark, "if it requires more technical skill" because there are certain max effort exercises, like suspended good mornings, doesn’t matter what bar it is, that can be a cluster fuck. Any way to muscle fuck the thing up is fine because it’s more of a chaotic type of max effort exercise. Technique kind of gets thrown out the window unless it really looks really fucked up, like someone’s going to get hurt. That’s not going to have the technical skill as, say, low box squat with SS Yoke Bar, and you start to notice that the upper back is rounding way too much toward the top to where that is a good thing because it will strengthen the traps and it will strength the upper back, but that can also be a bad thing if they’re actually not contracting to try to utilize the muscles involved in completing the lift under that.

The physical failure. That’s the one you want to avoid at all costs. But sometimes — been doing this a long time — that shit sneaks up on you. It’s feeling good, it’s feeling good, it’s feeling good, then what the fuck just happened? If that happens, and if that’s the case, it’s probably OK to repeat it because you probably fucked something up. Your elbows turned out too soon or you did something funky with your setup, maybe your breathing got off, something got out of whack, and then you get shit right and you come back and you can do it.

Very rarely do you want to come back and do missed lifts over and over again, even though they do make for very good funny stories later down the line, they usually cause more damage than they did forward progression in movement.

The mental aspect... you either mentally have it or you don’t. That’s a whole other conversation in itself.

I like to tell people when it comes to those aspects, I’ll help with the physical, I’ll help with the technical, but there’s not a whole lot I can do with the mental.

Maximal exertion method

Parameters

  • Load: 90% plus
  • Movements: 1
  • Warm-up Sets: ≥80% off all sets
  • Warm-up Reps: 3-5
  • Sets: 1-4
  • Reps: 1-3 (should not exceed 4 total reps over 90%)
  • Rest: 2-5 minutes
  • Frequency: 1-2 total sessions per week
  • Movement Rotation: 1-3 weeks with 1 being optimal

Benefits

  • Intramuscular coordination
  • Intermuscular coordination
  • Reduction of CNS inhibition
  • Maximal time under tension threshold is increased
  • Teaches the ability to strain
  • Teaches the ability to think under load
  • Increased awareness of body in space under maximal load
  • Increased joint stability
  • Enhanced proprioception under load
  • Increased focus with maximal loads
  • Great way to find all weak points: mental, physical, and/or technical
  • Best method for increasing absolute strength

Note: While I understand many things on this list that are the same, but there are many who do not.

Negatives

  • Recovery if movement is not changed frequently
  • Injury if method is used past technical breakdown
  • Poor application will yield poor results
  • Can be problematic if intensity and duration is progressed faster than adaption
  • Poor movement selection
  • Not backing down when needed.
  • One of the most misunderstood methods in strength and conditioning

There are two traits of conjugate style programming that most lifters are familiar with: you train multiple strength attributes (dynamic effort and max effort) each week, and you use a variety of specialty exercises to build weaknesses. The second part often leads to confusion — what specialty exercises are good for max effort work? Do you need to change the max effort exercise each week? What if you don't want to do specialty exercises at all and instead want to do the competition movements as your max effort work? Will the program still be effective?

Instagram user @pudgypwrlifter asked:

"(What are your) Opinions on using a conjugate style template but on max effort days using the competition lift and attempting rep PRs as opposed to a heavy single with a variation? Accessory work will be used for weak points."

Here are my answers with several specific points about max effort work:

  • When you do max effort work, you have to strain. This means working at over 90 percent of your 1RM. You can't do this week after week with the competition lifts.
  • Beat your PRs, but don't go balls-out every session. If you beat a PR by five pounds on a max effort lift, move on and beat it by more another day.
  • You have to win the mental game with training. This won't happen if you start missing competition-style lifts.
  • Max effort movements should have a certain degree of correspondence to the competition lifts, but they don't have to be identical. Sometimes you can do max effort exercises that are far away from the competition movements.
  • Good mornings are better for triples than they are for singles.
  • When cycling max effort exercises, strategically progress your workload throughout the training cycle. This isn't easy, but it is possible.

Has the max effort method been forgotten?

Why should a lifter use the max effort method?

  • Enhance capacity to recruit fast-twitch muscle fibers (Bompa, Tudor. Periodization of Strength, 1993)
  • Enhance ability to successfully synchronize all muscles involved in the movement (Bompa, 1993)
  • Enhance ability to eliminate central nervous system inhibition (Bompa, 1993)
  • Enhance maximal concentration and motivation (Bompa, 1993)
  • Enhance ability to teach one to strain and think at the same time
  • Enhance ability to strain longer
  • Enhance ability to recover if lift begins to break form
  • Teach lifters how to get tight and "grounded" at the start of the lift
  • Avoid getting stale and over-reaching (assuming movements are rotated)
  • Increase skill development through segmented development (teaching segments of the lift and then linking back together)

How do I cycle the max effort movements?

You have to always remember that with this style of training, every movement has its own life cycle. In other words, each movement cycles independently of the others. Also, each day cycles independently of the other days.

For the max effort day, the first movement (max effort movement) will rotate in a one-week to three-week cycle. There are several ways to accomplish this. The more advanced the lifter, the faster the movement has to change. An advanced lifter will need to change this movement every week. An intermediate will change every two weeks while a beginner will change every three.

How do I know if I'm a beginner, intermediate, or advanced to the max effort method?

If you have to ask this question, you're a beginner. Everyone new to this style of training should treat themselves as a beginner. There are checks and balances (C&Bs) throughout the program, so you'll know when to change the C&Bs for the max effort movement, whether or not you're breaking records.

If you chose two-board presses and hit 315 on Week 1, 320 on Week 2, and 335 on Week 3, then you should use a three-week rotation. Now, if you hit 315 on Week 1, 320 on Week 2, and then can’t do 315 on Week 3, you should switch every two weeks. The longer you use the method, the sooner you'll be changing every week.

There are a few alternative approaches worth looking into:

  • Many coaches have found it best to use a two-week cycle with their athletes, where Week 1 would be an intro week to the movement. Here they may use a percentage-based scheme for a week (such as 70 percent of their best with the same movement for two sets of five reps or 80 percent for three sets of three reps). These coaches have found the athletes do much better on Week 2 (when they hit the 1RM) when they use an intro week.
  • Another approach similar to the first one is a three-week cycle based on 70 percent for five reps on Week 1 followed by 80 percent for three on Week 2, and then 100 percent of more on Week 3. I personally don't like this, as I feel the chance of injury is too high with the higher reps when compared to the singles.
  • Another approach told to me by a very successful lifter overseas was to cycle the down-sets of the max effort movement. This lifter would work up to a 1RM and then hit a down-set of a prescribed percentage. He'd use 70 percent for two sets of five reps on Week 1, 72 percent for two sets of five reps on Week 2, 76 percent for one set of five reps on Week 3, and 80 percent for five reps on Week 4. The max effort movement would change every week, but the down-set percentage went up for the fourth week. Then the cycle would start again.

Do you do the max effort movement every week?

This answer depends on what you're doing on all the other days, as well as the individual. If you're hitting it very hard with bands on the dynamic day, then you may find you can’t hit the max effort movement every week and may have to take it easy one workout of the month. If you find you're not recovering, then you'll want to take it easy one of the workouts each month. When you take it easy (which is not a day off), you'll replace the movement with higher rep work using a movement intended to train the same muscles.

How do I know if I went heavy enough?

If you have to ask this question, then you're totally missing the boat. This movement is about straining as hard as you can. If you make the weight and have something left then you need to add more weight and go again. When using the max effort method, you must strain to gain!

Different Methods of Max Effort

Multiple Exertion Method

This method involves multiple sets of one or two reps with strict rest periods. Much like the dynamic effort method, this method uses the same load for multiple sets. Jim Wendler employed this method in the training of his bench press and deadlift. Jim would work up to 70 to 80 percent and perform 10 to 15 singles with two minutes rest. This is a great method when you feel you need to get away from weights in the 90 percent range. While the weight is lighter, it is important to note that when the sets increase, so does the tension. As you get tired, the weights get much harder. That is why this becomes a maximal effort method.

You may already be using this method without knowing it. Many people get this method confused with the dynamic effort method. I talk to many people who say they are doing speed deadlifts and then find out they are using 90-second rest periods training with loads between 80 and 90 percent for singles. When the tempo becomes very slow and the strain becomes very high, you leave the dynamic method and cross over to maximal methods.

Many have found when they use these high exertion methods for their so-called “speed squats” that they are no longer doing dynamic method work but max effort work. When this is the case, there is a very strong need to make alterations to the max effort work you are also doing during the week.

Maximal Concentric Method

This method is just as it sounds: you lift the weight and do not lower it. This is pretty much how most Olympic lifts are completed. As powerlifters, we can also use this method for various movements such as deadlifts, pin pulls, pin presses, Zercher squats, pin squats, suspended squats, suspended good mornings, and suspended bench presses. While your gym owner will hate your guts for doing this, it does have a purpose. The negative phase of the lift is what causes the greatest muscle soreness and damage. If you speak to many lifters, they will tell you that this also is where most injuries happen. By cycling in more maximal concentric movements, you build in a way that allows more recovery.

Let me explain further. Say you have a hard time recovering from max effort training. You may choose to do a four-week phase of max effort work such as:

  • Week 1: Board Presses — Work up to 1RM
  • Week 2: Close Grip Bench Press — Maximal exertion method
  • Week 3: Chain Suspended Lockouts — Concentric only
  • Week 4: Rest

With this example, you have one week of partial range eccentrics (board presses), one week of full range eccentric contraction (close grip bench presses), one deload eccentric week (chain suspended lockouts), and then one week off. Out of four weeks, you have only stressed the eccentric phase maximally for two weeks (and one of them was a partial range). This will allow for great recovery while still allowing maximal effort training.

You could then add more eccentric loading into the next phase of training. Eccentric loading is very important and should not be taken out of the training for extended periods of time.

Maximal Isometric Method

Okay, I admit it: Isometrics suck and have limited value. But I did say limited value because that's different than no value. This means there is value in certain circumstances. Before we get into the method, let's examine when this could be used and why.

I strongly feel that a lift is increased by bringing up those muscles that do the work in the lift. I feel you can increase your bench press without benching, your squat without squatting, and your deadlift without deadlifting. This is not how I always felt, but after being around Louie Simmons for so many years, I saw that this is the main factor behind all of his training. The proof is always in the results, and I have seen the results. Now, with that being said, I would be stupid to not look at all angles when addressing a sticking point. The best way to do this is by using an example.

Lifter A has a bench press of 465 pounds and always gets stuck about five inches off his chest. This would represent the halfway point in his bench press. While it is not my intention to make this a bench press sticking point article, it is important to point out that I feel all sticking points are some combination of mental, physical, and technical problems.

We determine that this lifter has a technical problem right at his sticking point. He presses into this position very strong and then stalls. After a split second, he flares his elbows out as he keeps pressing. The bar does not go up, but his elbows flare out.

There are always multiple solutions but one would be to increase the strength of his rotator cuff muscles and lats. This would keep his body position tighter and allow him to push through the sticking point. He should also increase his overall body strength since this has a great effect on all lifts. Finally, he should increase his bar speed when going into the sticking point. This will allow him to bust through this barrier.

There is one other thing we could have him do: the maximal isometric method. To do this we would set the pins up in a power rack with one set of pins one inch below his sticking point and one set right off the chest. The lifter would press an empty bar into the top pin and press and hold as hard as he can for three to five seconds (or whatever his average max lift takes). This is a very demanding method that can sneak up to kill you. You need to keep it to only a few sets and no more than once or twice per four-week phase. I would also suggest no more than three pin positions per session.

Here are some other ways to use this method:

  • Nine sets with the empty bar for holds from three to five seconds with a 30-second rest and performed at the same pin.
  • The same as above but using three pin settings for three sets each.
  • The same as above but instead of an empty bar, load with 50 percent of the lifter's 1RM. You will know the weight is too heavy when you find you are holding the bar against the pins, not pressing it. It is important to press against the pins.

This method will accomplish a couple of different things. First, it will develop position-specific strength within a 10- to 15-degree range. This may give him the edge he needs to break through the sticking point. Second, it will allow a “check” for technical positioning during a time of crisis. In other words, he will be able to see what his body does when it strains, and be able to make the required corrections needed to finish the lift. Third — and I feel this could be the most important — is that sticking points are very mental.

If you always fail at the same point, you will begin to program yourself for this and will not drive past it. You will press into this point knowing you will miss. Without knowing it, you are programming yourself to give up too soon. You may press for a split second and say, “Damn, there it is again.”

With the pin press, you will be able to re-program yourself to strain for that extra split second past where you would normally stop. One split second is the difference between a missed lift and a lifetime PR.

Maximal Eccentric Method

I should call this the high school method because that is when we used it most. Why? We were all too stupid to know better. You can call it maximal eccentrics, negatives, droppers or whatever you want. The results are still the same: pain, injury, and soreness. The bar is loaded to 130 to 140 percent of our best 1RM and then lowered slowly. After it touched our chest, the spotter would pull the bar off us, and we would either rack the bar or do another one. ("It’s all you!")

There are valid reasons to do this, but in its purest form, the risk-benefit ratio is too high for the intermediate and advanced lifter. We can get much of the same effect with weight releasers and bands while not having to take the barbell weight up to 140 percent. The more advanced lifter has a harder time lowering 140 percent than a beginner.

I have seen this work very well for a lifter trying to break in his bench shirt. These sets are doing more than they think. The supported eccentric loading is building the muscles and tendons to handle heavy loads. The shirt helps protect the body from the abuse and is also the reason many lifters complain of sore elbows and forearms with heavy shirt work. The lifters do not feel the effects in the supporting muscles (chest, shoulders, and lats) because of the shirt.

I have also seen this work very well with top-down deadlifts. To do this, the lifter loads the bar in a rack at the top position. He then stands up with the weight and does an eccentric deadlift to the floor.

Maximal Forced Repetitions

I am sure you all remember forced reps from high school. There are several ways to utilize this method for many different applications. Leaving bodybuilding aside, we will focus on the pure strength aspect.

One way to use this method is also one way I do not suggest. I will still include it because there are many others who think this application has great strength training properties. This is a very simple application composed of one or two assisted reps after failure has been reached. Since this is max effort training, you will still need to keep your percentage over 90 percent and perform one to five reps.

Another way to use forced reps is by using a method many have been using over the past few years. This method has also become known as the "lightened method" or "reverse bands." To use this method, you simply hang your barbell from bands so the bands help to lift the weight. This is used on the squat, deadlift, and bench press.

Unlike the above application, this method provides help from the beginning of the set. I feel this makes this a much safer method. This is also a great method for those who are looking to increase the middle to endpoints of a lift.

Maximal Restricted Range Method

This is another one that has been hot for quite a while. Some examples of this method include:

  • Rack presses
  • Pin pulls
  • Board presses
  • High box squats
  • Squatting off pins
  • Partial leg presses
  • Arch back good mornings
  • Overhead pin presses
  • Pulling off stands

This method allows for maximal overload of very restricted ranges of motion. This method has been very popular over the past 30 years for one reason: it works very well. If you are looking to get strong then you need to include this method in your training.

While I am also not a big proponent of cheating, I do feel there are certain movements where cheating can make a huge difference. One of these includes a chain suspended good morning. This movement is performed by hanging a barbell from strong chains at a mid-waist position. The lifter will then duck under the barbell and arch the bar to the top position. With this movement, the strain is the most important thing. Just getting the bar up is more important than if you are doing a good morning or squat.

I also feel a slight sink and drive on board presses can do wonders for those who need extra work at the top; it will, however, hurt those who are weak at the middle or lower position because they are cheating where they need the work. This cheat will allow the weak-lockout lifter the opportunity to train with heavier weight.

Once again, it is very important to know your weaknesses.

Circa-Maximal Method

This method has many crossover applications. It has been used as a three-week wave in place of straight dynamic method training for some time with great results. While this method can be viewed as dynamic or max effort, it really depends on how it is used. Here are a few examples of the max effort:

  • Squats with multiple bands for a 1-3RM
  • Deadlifts against multiple bands for 1RM
  • Bench press with chains and bands for 1RM

The key thing to understand with this method (regardless of application) is to make sure the weight at the top of the movement exceeds 90 percent of your 1RM. This is what makes this circa-maximal. The best way to accomplish this while avoiding over-training and acute training injuries is to use chains and/or bands with your barbell weight.

There is not a magic percent of weight to bands or weight to chains with this method (this is very different when used as a dynamic method), so all you really need to do is load the bar up to around 50 to 60 percent barbell weight and add bands or chains.

Here is one example of what I mean for a 500-pound bencher using the close grip bench press:

  • 3 x 45 pounds
  • 3 x 45 pounds plus double light band
  • 3 x 95 plus double light band
  • 3 x 135 plus double light band
  • 3 x 185 plus double light band
  • 3 x 185 plus double light band plus one chain per side
  • Continue adding one chain per side per set and work up to a 1RM

There are several other examples and combinations of how this method can be applied. Don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works best for you.

Maximal Holding Method (Yielding)

This is one that you see from time to time. I am also not a big fan of this one, but it is very popular with a very large number of lifters. This method is great for what I call "strength stabilization." Strength stabilization is how well you can stabilize maximal loads. It really does not mean shit if you can stand on a stability ball if you can’t stabilize maximal weights.

Many of you have heard of (or have done) walkouts for the squat. This is exactly what this method is. Many lifters who do walkouts or stand-ups will set up the weight and hold it for a certain count. This may be three, five, or ten seconds. I feel the best time would be one to two seconds more than the exact amount of time it takes the lifter to finish a maximal lift with the same lift being trained.

For example, if it takes you six seconds to perform a 1RM squat then you will hold your walkout for seven to eight seconds. Remember to keep your body tight!

Here are a few other examples of the maximal holding method:

  • High pin deadlift holds
  • Very high pin squats
  • Very high rack lockouts
  • Bench press holds
  • Very high board presses

If the exercise has more movement than the setup and hold (very high board presses) then you will do one rep by holding for a couple of seconds at the top, lowering and pressing the bar, and then holding for two to three seconds at the top again.

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