View Full Version : Is Maxing Out Unsafe for Beginnners?

12-21-2007, 11:50 AM
So my dad started lifting again after taking 12 years off. He asked for my advice, talked about his goals, etc. After he did 3 months of full-body workouts with semi-high reps (mostly 8-15 stuff for 2-4 sets), I told him to just do the CrossFit WODs. He was worried about lifting really heavy weights, especially for deadlifts.

Is this an issue that he should be concerned about? He has the form down on everything really well, and he is about as strong as me. He is like 48 years old, and he thinks he could pull something in his back or mess up a disc or something by jumping into heavy deadlifts.

So, what's the deal? Is there something inherently 'unsafe' about maxing out? Can all beginners warm-up, get the form down, and jump into an intense 1-rep max? Can my dad?

12-21-2007, 12:03 PM
Why not get him to do Rippetoe's Starting Strength program - its tailored for beginners with a setxrep scheme of 3x5 for just the basic compound lifts.

Why max out right away? Its not like the numbers are going to be mindblowing.

Probably safer to have your PRs come from sets with reps of 3-5.

12-21-2007, 12:07 PM
Well, he started at 265 lbs and he was fat. He's down to 229 and he's up to something like 335 bench and 365x5x5 on deadlifts. He wants to continue to lose weight/fat and he really wants to get better conditioned while at the same time increasing his all-around strength. I figured CrossFit would work well for him, but I didn't think about the fact that it requires you to max out fairly often. We're debating whether it's inherently dangerous or not. If we decide it is unsafe, it's easy enough to make the minimum # of reps on dead/squat variations 5.

12-21-2007, 12:12 PM
Don't max out while dieting. It's counter productiive and is certainly a greater risk for injury. Your dad is right and this is why.

12-21-2007, 12:21 PM
Sort of hypothetically, what if he's not dieting? Still unsafe?

12-21-2007, 12:58 PM
Let me rephrase.

If he is losing weight he is in a catabolic state.
means he is eating less than he is burning= Dieting. Whether intentional or not.
It's a great way to hurt yourself.
He may be fine but 100% max effort should be avoided unless he's competing.

12-21-2007, 01:07 PM
The reason I say sort of, is because he is doing a modified version of galileo's old diet. Protein only day (rest day), refeed day (workout day), repeat. Basically.

Basically the same as carb cycling I guess. Since he's been on this, he has gained at least a couple pounds of muscle while losing weight. So I don't think he's in a catabolic state, basically.

12-21-2007, 01:35 PM
Ugh. Ud2.0?

That's a great way to overcomplicate things when almost anything will work to a certain point of leanness. (as it says in Lyle's book.)

Then tell your dad that... he may or may not hurt himself and hope for the best.
He'll probably be fine.

If it were me I wouldn't bother maxing out for what he's doing. That's essentially ego lifting and that's when **** goes wrong. If he reaches a point where he is comfortable with a weight then go for it.

It's just that as we age poor form can do a number on you.

make sure his form is perfect.

12-21-2007, 01:47 PM
Heh, I know that it's an overly complicated diet system, but he has made pretty impressive progress. 265 @ ~33% BF% to 229 @ ~20% BF since September. It works pretty well for him, and he wanted to stick with a variation of what he was doing. Whether he could do CF was questionable. I understand what the issue is, though, and we'll make some changes.

Do powerlifters not max out when dieting?

12-21-2007, 02:47 PM
That's why I put the "competition" clause in there. And it's still a risk.

If you are dieting HARD it's rougher on you.

12-21-2007, 03:02 PM
As long as he's been training and acclimated to lifting heavy, it shouldn't be dangerous. If he hasn't done anything close to a 1RM in a long time, you should probably start doing heavier triples and doubles first so that #1)he isn't overly stressed about doing them and, #2)he can learn how maintain form and exertion on a heavy, slow grind-it-out lift.

12-21-2007, 03:12 PM
Do powerlifters not max out when dieting?

Most powerlifters don't diet. Guys that are really good, generally aren't going down in weight but always up. You have the occasional exception like Mike Wolfe, but in his case, he didn't have to do anything real drastic to lose all that weight. He had to just work harder and think about eating cleaner. (I'm very impressed by what Mike has done. I hope that statement doesn't sound like I'm trying to take away from anything he's accomplished.) That's what most people tend to forget, it's not that difficult if you're consistent. It's just natural that most people will get lazy.

Most competition (bodybuilding anyway) diets are too extreme for any type of true 1RM increase to take place. If you're trying to get into the single digit bodyfat percentages, chances are you aren't really powerlifting. (Again, there are exceptions so don't go tossing them around.)

12-21-2007, 05:17 PM
I agree with Sensei. If he gets used to going down to 3's and 2's with good form, he should be fine with the max as long as he has very good form.

01-05-2008, 08:31 AM
Maxing out and heavy singles are different things.

i se no reason o not do some heavy singles to see what near maximum is.

I know 6x1 singles with 352 felt vastly different to the gut wrenching ordeal of 401.

01-05-2008, 05:47 PM
Most competition (bodybuilding anyway) diets are too extreme for any type of true 1RM increase to take place. If you're trying to get into the single digit bodyfat percentages, chances are you aren't really powerlifting. (Again, there are exceptions so don't go tossing them around.)

Most olympic weightlifters under superheavies at any real level are in single digit body fat percentages, though. I think you can diet/cut and still max out well. My squats usually don't suffer when I am losing weight. I think it really is just dependent on diet and workout quality.