I was wondering, to get stronger, is it necessary to max out?
For example, let's say I go to the gym today, and bench 220 x 1. Is it necessary for me to do like 225 x 1, if i wanted to get stronger?
Would I still get stronger if instead I did 195 x 1 x 3 or whatever, as opposed to maxing out?
It all depends, if you want to get strong in your 1 rep max, then you would want to max out often, but not necessarily every week. You can do singles 1 week, heavy triples another week, it all depends. There's never only 1 way to do something.
Depends how new you are. I am very new to powerlifting and I'm currently maxing out bench every week and either squat or deadlift each week. So far so good, but when my gains stop I'm going switch it up.Originally Posted by LouPac
A more experienced lifter can max out every week, they just make sure it's a different lift. For example you might max out on flat bench one week, narrow grip the next week, incline the week after and you could start again with flat bench. Or you could try maxing out on various assistance exercises. So you could max on flat bench, then military press, then skull crushers and start again.
Doing reps still builds strength. Mix it up.
Try rep outs. Try taking a weight that you can do 10 comfortable and do 20 with it.
As long as you are putting stress on the body it will become stronger until you over train and collapse on the floor.
Doing reps will build strength, yes. Doing sets of 20 will not do a lot for your 1RM - there's not much need to do such high reps unless you are doing it for general conditioning or for a change of pace.Originally Posted by Sleepy Guy
You don't need to do singles all the time either to increase your 1RM. Doubles and triples will build up your strength too.
A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and make the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost. -Gray Cook
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It doesn't have to be max singles. Low reps (1-6) to failure with an occasional 1-2 week break for the CNS is definitely the way to go for strength improvement.
My rule of thumb is if your training 80% or greater your going to increase in strength.
Doing 20 reps or even 10 reps is a whole new ball game and will not do much for maximal strength gains in lower reps.
Thanks for the replies guys.
I fairly new to PL training (6months) and I've been maxing out almost weekly, with great success (newbie gains I spose). I was just wondering if, now that I'm over the newbie hump, maxing out less often would be reap better progress. I might try 2 and 3RMs for a few weeks
My simplest answer:
You do not need to max out to get strong; you DO need to lift heavy.
Stats: Age: 34 Weight: 205 Height: 5'6"
Gym PRs: Squat:635 Bench:560 Deadlift:495
Meet PRs: Squat:575 Bench:520 Deadlift:510 Total: 1605@220
Exactly.Originally Posted by drew
i max out about every 3 weeks, after rotating exersizes, you can also try a new 2 or 3 rep PR. eat alot and train heavyer each session and expect huge gains.
2000 or bust
I do not agree with maxing out all the time to get strong. As you the body will adapt to that style and stick to it. Rotating a workout will help build over all strength and conditioning.Originally Posted by drew
A friend was doing one rep maxs all the time and placed well in a junior power lifting championship.
After he started having all kinds of joint pains and general issues. He started training with us doing cycles of reps and one rep max. Now he is lifting better then ever and stronger overall.
I am just saying mix up the work out.
From Macows Training Primer. It's long, but I think it sums up newbie gains to pro lifter gains pretty well:
Typically a beginner will have a very simple program and can progress workout to workout for a decent stretch. This might be adding 5lbs to the back squat 2 to even 3 times per week or maybe it's 2.5lbs to the bench on the same frequency. Essentially every time or most times he goes into the gym, he's a different lifter. Simply the rate of adaptation is high, the time between personal records is low, and the necessary complexity of the programming to elicit these progressions is low.
An intermediate may ramp up to his records over a few weeks and then get decent stretches where he'll set new records on lifts on a weekly basis. At first he might get 12 week runs, later on only 3-4 weeks, but nevertheless he is making fast progress and adding weight to his lifter weekly or almost weekly. Within a week lifts and stress on the body will generally undulate. If 3 full body workouts are used it's typically Heavy, Light, Medium with the work geared to getting that next record the following week. Rate of adaptation is still medium, time between records is medium, and complexity of the program is medium.
An advanced lifter gets to the point where weekly progress isn't really viable. He may ramp up and get 1 record or he might not be able to go anywhere with that structure and to get that kind of progression he has to train so far from his core competency that the training fails to carryover well and even cause regression in ignored core. For example dropping the back squat and training the butt blaster machine or working in the 25 rep range on lifts or some other oddball thing. Sort of like a 100m sprinter working on his 3000m times because easy progress is available to him there (unfortunately his 100m doesn't really move much if at all). I have a post on properly using benchmarks to evaluate progress here. Programming here is characterized over larger blocks of weeks in a micro, meso, macro cycle format for planning. He may work very hard and only make a single increment of progress at the 4 or 8 week point. This type of training is indicative of periodization and what goes on in advanced athletics and it gets longer and longer. One could almost say for a top world lifter, he may be training an entire year for a single increment of progression at the world championships and he might have a 4 year plan setup to hit his best at the Olympic games. Obviously adaptability is low, time between records is long, and complexity of the program is high (and for the world level lifter add "very very" before each of those but it doesn't have to be that way for everyone at the simple advanced classification I'm talking about).
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