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Time to build some Maximum Strength

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After reading the last few articles you should have spent some time analyzing your activity, sport or physique. The mechanics of your sport define the muscles and thus the exercises that are critical to success. Conversely a bodybuilder will scrutinize their physique and define the Prime Movers by other factors; symmetrical imbalance, or a need to develop strength in an area to allow for increased training volume. Either way, take those exercises to the weight room and test.
Using the information provided in the article “The Benchmark Test; Pushing Your Limits”, test for 1, 2, 4, 6 or 10 repetition maximums and convert the results back to the appropriate 1RM (one rep maximum). For example a 10 rep max is equivalent to 80% of your total potential 1RM which of course represents 100% of your strength.
Now that our numbers are in hand, make sure you break down each max to reflect the load in percentage value we will be lifting at throughout the upcoming program. For Maximum Strength (MxS) we will use 80, 85, 90, 95, 100 and 105% of your maximum lift.
Use the following example as a guide; Squat Max (1RM) = 100 lbs we then multiply 100 x 0.8 to find 80% of our 1RM or 80 lbs, this repeats with 100 x 0.85/0.9/0.95 and of course x 1.05. At this point you will have your exercises, 1RM test results and the appropriate percentages of each exercises max.
The next factor is training frequency; for athletes who are in the Preparatory Phase complete your MxS program every 48 hours. For a beginner or intermediate approach to this phase train three times per week one day on, and one day off.
For athletes we will use a full body workout, and for bodybuilders we will work on a two day on one day off system with an A and B workout. To simplify the program we will use a pushing and pulling differentiation for workouts A and B:
Pushing days will include exercises such as Bench Press, Triceps Push-down, Bar Dips, Shoulder Press, Anterior Deltoids, Nautilus Press, Pull-overs, Squats, Leg Press, Leg Extensions, Calf Raises, Tibialis Anterior and weighted abdominal work.
Pulling day B consists of; Lats, Traps, Rhomboids, light back Extensors work, Medial/Posterior Deltoids, Biceps, Reverse Curls, Hamstring Curls, Adductors/Abductors, Forearm Extensors and Flexors.
Important: Only use the Prime Movers specific to your needs. The load will suffice to innervate more tissue that the Prime Movers you have chosen either way.
For athletes the program uses a circuit, filled with intense Prime Mover work every 48 hours. For additional exercises add them in as individual sets post circuit.
Athlete Workout Day 1, 3, 5, 7… for example; Squats, Incline Barbell Bench, Deadlifts, Military Press, Seated Row, Dips. Complete 3-4 circuits of a determined rep range for that day or week, then if so desired add no more than 3 additional exercises in individual set format post circuit. Additional exercises could range from Pull-overs to Bicep Curls.
MxS training calls for maximum speed of contraction. This can be deceiving as the reps are usually hard to complete at all let alone in high speed, but what that is actually asking for is maximum muscle contraction throughout the lift. Control the eccentric portion (negative) of the lift and then explode through the concentric portion.
During this phase you are working to increase the number of fast twitch muscle fibers which are recruited each contraction. You cannot make more fibers you must convert them from slow twitch endurance fibers, this takes extreme loads and lots of hours in the gym. Later on we will work on Power and in that phase we work to increase the speed of recruitment/speed of contraction.
Recovery periods will vary but fully recovering before embarking into a set is important due to the maximum force requirements. Typically 3 to 5 minutes rest between sets is recommended but 3 is okay if time is a factor in your planning. During this time stay warm, wear sweats instead of tank tops and make sure to be drinking your water as well as electrolyte additive. Also take in some carbohydrates after 90 minutes if you are still training.
Percentage: The amount of weight depends on the week. We will use the word pyramid in theory only, but throw out everything you have heard before about this term. Percentages basically change at the end of three consecutive workouts. Therefore we begin by completing our circuits on day 1, 3 and 5 with sets of 10 reps @ 80% of max. Week two or days 7, 9 and 11 will be 6 reps @ 85%, then week by week this will continue; 4 reps @ 90% and 2 reps @ 95%. Usually I like to work one or two sets of 1 rep in on week 4 with the 95% sets just to give myself a good idea of what to start my testing at the following Monday. Bodybuilders will follow a similar protocol, however using a three workout cycle before changing percentage.
This is obviously a guide and each program and each athlete will have various needs and abilities. To increase intensity make sure you test regularly. Also try adding a 5th circuit on your stronger exercises near the end of the 3 day training cycle and make those sets at the upcoming percentage, thus 4 circuits @ 85% and 1 circuit @ 90%. Also focus on depth and range of motion, speed of contraction as well as breathing technique. Other points of focus include adding some plyometric and ballistic exercises in between sets and/or using the gym sauna after you warm up to assist in your dynamic stretches (that is if no one else is using it, getting kicked by a leg swing as your relaxing in the sauna isn’t ideal).
In conclusion take what you have compiled, don’t think too much about it, just lift heavy and dynamically and keep your goals in mind. Also remember quantifiable results are the only ones that matter so make sure you track your progress.

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