Three things before I dive into this post:
- I am breaking the “Methods of Strength Training” posts into 3 content rich posts. I think that will be easier for everyone to read since they will be packed.
- Don’t forget to get on the newsletter in the sidebar or here. Huge bonus coming out soon (webdesigners working on it right now). I want to include everyone but I can’t if you don’t get on board!
- DOMINATE 2010
Now let’s get rolling and ==> POST YOUR FAVORITE MAX EFFORT LIFTS IN THE COMMENTS! <==
Strength Training Methods
It is helpful to trainers and trainees if strength training is classified according to methods of attaining maximal muscular tension (ref 1). There are three primary ways to achieve muscular tension:
1. Lifting a Maximal Load – Max effort method (this post)
2. Lifting a Non Maximal Load Until Failure – Repetition Effort
3. Lifting A Non Maximal Load at The Fastest Speed Popular – Dynamic Effort
Keep in mind this is a discussion of “Strength Training Methods.” You can certainly lift submaximal weights for warm up or recovery, but we aren’t going to classify those as strength training. Also the submax effort method is a supplement to the primary categories above.
Max Effort Method
The central nervous system (CNS) adapts to the load placed on it. Max Effort method uses heavy loads to yield the largest adaptations in strength.
To perform the max effort method progress to heavy weights for 1 to 3 repititions per set.
The heavy load (near max weight) recruits the most motor units. The lifter will learn to fire these motor units in a more efficient and improve motor coordination (your body’s “wiring” for using muscle).
During max effort we are primarily training muscles rather than movement. I will clarify. The purpose of an agility ladder is training a movement. Heavy squat is for training muscles.
Limitations of Max Effort
Despite what I’ve seen on some funny YouTube videos – heavy squats won’t cure cancer, poverty, or anything else like this.
Also, more seriously, the max effort method is not for beginners. Instead, they should start with General Physical Preparedness. (<== explained here).
Beginners will not have the technique, required muscle strength, or the muscle coordination to perform the lifts. The side effect of using the max effort method too early will be a high risk of injury.
So, for all the young lifters here, make sure you complete your GPP and basic training BEFORE you even attempt max effort lifts. Not only is there a high risk of injury, but you will not see the gains since the lifts will not be performed efficiently.
I see people looking for “beginners weight training programs” all the time in forums, and other new people recommending heavy deadlifts and so forth. Dangerous and inefficient…but I digress.
For more advanced lifters, the Max Effort method is very fatiguing both mentally and physically which may lead to burn out. This is common when Max Effort is used too much (daily).
This also depends on which Max Effort lifts are used – a power clean or snatch is more fatiguing than the bench press. Take this into account when creating your program.
Sample Max Effort Workout
Try this workout on for size your next lower body day! The primary lift represents the max effort movement, while the rest is repetition and GPP.
Only 3 leg exercises? Yes, Max effort workouts are especially taxing during the primary lift. Notice that is 6 sets so do not just look at the number of lifts, but at the volume of sets and reps.
Try that one out next workout and post up how it went!
I find Max Effort essential for strength development in both athletes and for real world strength development. This method must be used properly to see continuous results as fatigue or form issues could become limiting factors.
Before I sign off I wanted to share some feedback on Bull Strength that I received way back in Sept from Jerry C. and I haven’t posted it. This program will set up your entire program, including Max Effort into a PROVEN WORKOUT!
“I am a Chief Warrant Officer in the MS Army National Guard. One of my NCO’s and I stumbled across Bull Strengthon the internet. We LOVE your book and program. The exercises are Damn Amazing!!!!!”
Thanks Jerry, I’m always humbled to receive feedback on how many people love this program.
Max effort success often does with mind set and concentration. You have to get UP to lift big weights!
What’s Your Favorite Max Effort Lift?
==>Post them up in the comments!!!<===
J. Hashey, CSCS
PS. If you liked this post please share it with your friends! Also, when you see people asking about Max effort send them over!
Double PS. Bull Strength.
Zatisiorsky, V. and Kraemer, W. Science and Practice of Strength Training. 2nd Edition. Human Kinetics 2006.