If you search online, you'll find templates for circa max training. You'll find straight weight percentages, band percentages, chain percentages, reps, sets, and even duration of rest between sets. Everything will be taken care of for you to feel like you can go into the gym, do your work, and be ready for big PRs at the meet.

But it's not that simple. Even if you are ready for a circa max phase—which Dave believes is unlikely—knowing how to design the training is complicated. What should you do for supplemental movements? Should accessory exercises be reduced or increased? What happens to max effort days? Should you remove all other heavy training from your program?

In today's Table Talk, Dave answers a question about max effort training during circa max:

What do you do with your max effort workouts during a circa max phase? How do you keep maxing with the different variations?

Dave begins by sharing the disclaimer that the information he presents about Westside training is exclusively about the 90s and early 2000s. He cannot answer what happens at Westside now because he's not there. What he can do, however, is share the years of experience he had as a lifter at Westside, and how those experiences shaped the understanding of training he has today.

With than in mind, if you're going to use a circa max phase, the key thing to remember is that you're training with weights that are in the 90% and higher range. This means that your training on your max effort days has to be dialed back a bit to accommodate the intensity. During Dave's time at Westside they accomplished this in multiple ways, such as doing circa max every other week instead of every week, or using movements that were easier to recover from, such as good mornings in the three to five rep range (one of Dave's favorite methods at the time).

Dave says that the key here is to not completely abandon the max effort work. You can adjust the weeks that are "up" weeks and weeks that are "down" weeks, which Dave explains in the video. In his case, he eventually reached what he found to be the optimal max effort training wave, which was three weeks up and two weeks down in the progression. The first week would be normal max effort work, with week two and week three being altered movements. They would then normalize in week four and remove max effort work in week five.

As an additional general point of advice for approaching a circa max phase, Dave suggests considering the reason you believe you need a circa max phase. Are you qualified for it? What makes you believe you will perform better after a circa max phase than a normal peak? If you can't answer these questions, you're better off using a standard peaking cycle.

WATCH: Table Talk with Dave Tate — Balancing Your Life