Almost Maxing On A Regular Basis

I’ve been in the gym coming up on almost 6 months now and have made some pretty solid progress (I feel anyway) in both strength gains and physique.

The ‘problem’ is I have kind of bastardized my program in the search for lifting as much as I can. It’s not really ego lifting as I just really enjoy the feeling and my gym is quiet so no ones sees me.

I lift a 4 day split comprises of the big 4 compound lifts. I have been slapping on new weight whenever I feel like it going for heavy singles or doubles every time I’m in the gym even if I can’t manage a single. I usually lift 3x5 warm up sets and 1x5 heavy set then go balls out and throw on another 10kg for the challenge.

This seems to be working well for me, but I just wondered if this could be detrimental in any way, should I stick to lifting lower weights with better form and sticking to 4x5 or is there method in my madness? It seems to be working, but the only big guy in my gym (Korean national champion) only squats and then does tons of volume.

For reference, I’m 5’8 and 160lbs (target is 160-170 at around 10% bf for now)
Main Lifts:
DL 405 x 2 (with straps)
Front Squat 255 x 1 atg (I haven’t back squatted for a while, but I got 305x1 before switching)
OHP 160 x 3 (more of a push press)
Bench 176 x 3

The best idea would be to do this while cycling your rep range >> I think you would enjoy 5/3/1, it caters to your kind of mindset.

Thanks man, I’ll take a look. I feel I’m getting to the point where I’m close to a plateau after 6 months of increasing weights easily so this may keep me moving up.

I’ll try to hit this thread again later this morning whe. I have some time, but the short short answer–for me anyways–is that if you ha been progressing regularly with top weight and size/looking better, then it is working for you and there is NO need to just lift lighter weights. If you’re adapted tk training this way then it can work for you (and seems to be). might consider changing HOW you do it, but gotta get back to that later.

Questions come to mind here:

  1. how long have you been doing the near max every training day thing? The whole 6 months? If so, it’s doing ok for you. If you’ve started recently might not be the best idea for you.

  2. It sounds from what I read like you’re doing mostly 5x5 with one heavy single or double at the end (but not a true max, more like a single with a 3RM weight). This isn’t too bad IMO, as long as you stay away from the grinders and keep the speed up.

  3. You have good lifts for your size. front squat and dead is good, bodyweight overhead push press is pretty good. These are not beginner weights at your body weight, so you are doing well on this so far.

What is your current workout in detail?

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
Questions come to mind here:

  1. how long have you been doing the near max every training day thing? The whole 6 months? If so, it’s doing ok for you. If you’ve started recently might not be the best idea for you.

  2. It sounds from what I read like you’re doing mostly 5x5 with one heavy single or double at the end (but not a true max, more like a single with a 3RM weight). This isn’t too bad IMO, as long as you stay away from the grinders and keep the speed up.

  3. You have good lifts for your size. front squat and dead is good, bodyweight overhead push press is pretty good. These are not beginner weights at your body weight, so you are doing well on this so far.

What is your current workout in detail?[/quote]

Thanks for taking the time.

  1. I’ve been training like this from pretty much day one with no problems at all. I’ve been out of the gym for almost 3 years so I just started doing a similar routine to what I was doing last time. I’ve gained around 10lbs and my abs are showing stronger than the were when I was lighter. My diet is pretty good as I have little access to processed foods, just lot’s of chicken, beef, eggs, milk and veg, I eat rice once I’m full with everything else.

  2. After I do my heavy set (yesterday was 2x410), I usually drop down to a manageable weight and do a killer set. Yesterday I dropped the DL to 220 and did 15 reps, I had more in me, but I wanted to save some energy for other exercises. I feel I need some volume for endurance as I do zero cardio.

  3. Thanks, I feel comparatively weak in my pushing, but my chest isn’t bad as I have always had some development there, even without any lifting.

Full routine is as follows:

Back
DL’s as stated (+ lower weight high volume finisher)
Weighted Pull ups 4x5 +10kg (last set to failure, I usually drop the weight and grind out a few more)
Seated rows 4x10 (dropped weight to 50kg’s to focus on form)
Face Pulls 4x10 (I have mildly winged scapula so I’m working on this)

Chest
Incline Bench 5x5 (+ lower weight high volume finisher)
Weighted dips 4x10 +16kg
Tricep push downs? and biceps on the cable machine, no rest supersets? 8x60kg
Incline DB 4x8

Legs
Front squat 5x5 (+ lower weight high volume finisher)
Hamstring curl, lying down? 4x10
Leg press 4x8
Leg Extension 4x8

Shoulders
Push Press 5x5 (+ lower weight high volume finisher)
Lateral raises? 4x10
Flap like chicken with weights in hand? 4x10
Seated DB press 4x8

I lift with low rest periods and almost die after every work out (around 45min-1hour)
I lift as heavy as I can possibly handle and go to failure on compound lifts and DB lifts.
I throw in biceps if I have energy.

How is your OHP and your bench almost identical?

[quote]chobbs wrote:
How is your OHP and your bench almost identical? [/quote]

I don’t know either man. I feel so weak when I bench compared to my other lifts, I can’t figure it out. I’ve been working on form, but nothing seems to work. Any tips?

I db press 25kg per arm x8 for both bench and seated ohp, so they are exactly the same for those lifts. All my other lifts are shooting up apart from bench.

You have a fresh body in the sense that you only recently started lifting seriously. I ended up similar to you. Maybe not for single rep maxes everytime but I was going very heavy all the time. I am still guilty of it. A year and half to two years of this sort of lifting is going to leave your body banged the fuck up. I speak from experience. I used to slap three 45 lbs plats on a chain and bang out as many dips as I could. I was deadlifting to max every week. Doing heavy squats every week. It fucked me up. It is part of the game naturally.

If you lift seriously you will have aches but I feel that it is just not worth it. Once you start getting really strong I would refrain from this sort of lifting protocol. You’er deadlift is already pretty decent. Although you need to lose the freaking straps man. Get some chalk. Now everytime I lift I literally have to find the sweat spot angle for all my reps to avoid tweaking and fucking something up. Its not fun. But you know your body best. Listen to it.

If you are lifting mainly for appearance sake then find a good rep range to work decently hard with and go heavy/max once a month dare I say even one every 5-6 weeks.

[quote]A-rod wrote:
You have a fresh body in the sense that you only recently started lifting seriously. I ended up similar to you. Maybe not for single rep maxes everytime but I was going very heavy all the time. I am still guilty of it. A year and half to two years of this sort of lifting is going to leave your body banged the fuck up. I speak from experience. I used to slap three 45 lbs plats on a chain and bang out as many dips as I could. I was deadlifting to max every week. Doing heavy squats every week. It fucked me up. It is part of the game naturally.

If you lift seriously you will have aches but I feel that it is just not worth it. Once you start getting really strong I would refrain from this sort of lifting protocol. You’er deadlift is already pretty decent. Although you need to lose the freaking straps man. Get some chalk. Now everytime I lift I literally have to find the sweat spot angle for all my reps to avoid tweaking and fucking something up. Its not fun. But you know your body best. Listen to it.

If you are lifting mainly for appearance sake then find a good rep range to work decently hard with and go heavy/max once a month dare I say even one every 5-6 weeks. [/quote]

Frankly, bodybuilding can potentially be a pretty boring pass-time, so striving for PR’s keeps me hungry at least in the compound lifts. What you said is partly my worry that this king of routine could have problems down the line. I think I’m going to try and get my bench and squat up to more respectable numbers and then focus on a strict form focused routine with higher reps. Like the guy said before 5/3/1 is probably suitable, but for now I’m having success with newb gainz.

I’m going to stick up some pics once my 6 months comes up for my contract, I need some accountability.

This reminds me of a quote I heard. I don’t remember it exactly or who said it maybe Wendler or Tate and it was about people who start power lifting and how they are out of the sport within two years or maybe it was three years. This sort of lifting really strains your body.

[quote]HiFiBoy wrote:

[quote]A-rod wrote:
You have a fresh body in the sense that you only recently started lifting seriously. I ended up similar to you. Maybe not for single rep maxes everytime but I was going very heavy all the time. I am still guilty of it. A year and half to two years of this sort of lifting is going to leave your body banged the fuck up. I speak from experience. I used to slap three 45 lbs plats on a chain and bang out as many dips as I could. I was deadlifting to max every week. Doing heavy squats every week. It fucked me up. It is part of the game naturally. If you lift seriously you will have aches but I feel that it is just not worth it. Once you start getting really strong I would refrain from this sort of lifting protocol. You’er deadlift is already pretty decent. Although you need to lose the freaking straps man. Get some chalk. Now everytime I lift I literally have to find the sweat spot angle for all my reps to avoid tweaking and fucking something up. Its not fun. But you know your body best. Listen to it.

If you are lifting mainly for appearance sake then find a good rep range to work decently hard with and go heavy/max once a month dare I say even one every 5-6 weeks. [/quote]

Frankly, bodybuilding can potentially be a pretty boring pass-time, so striving for PR’s keeps me hungry at least in the compound lifts. What you said is partly my worry that this king of routine could have problems down the line. I think I’m going to try and get my bench and squat up to more respectable numbers and then focus on a strict form focused routine with higher reps. Like the guy said before 5/3/1 is probably suitable, but for now I’m having success with newb gainz.

I’m going to stick up some pics once my 6 months comes up for my contract, I need some accountability.
[/quote]

[quote]HiFiBoy wrote:

[quote]A-rod wrote:
You have a fresh body in the sense that you only recently started lifting seriously. I ended up similar to you. Maybe not for single rep maxes everytime but I was going very heavy all the time. I am still guilty of it. A year and half to two years of this sort of lifting is going to leave your body banged the fuck up. I speak from experience. I used to slap three 45 lbs plats on a chain and bang out as many dips as I could. I was deadlifting to max every week. Doing heavy squats every week. It fucked me up. It is part of the game naturally. If you lift seriously you will have aches but I feel that it is just not worth it. Once you start getting really strong I would refrain from this sort of lifting protocol. You’er deadlift is already pretty decent. Although you need to lose the freaking straps man. Get some chalk. Now everytime I lift I literally have to find the sweat spot angle for all my reps to avoid tweaking and fucking something up. Its not fun. But you know your body best. Listen to it.

If you are lifting mainly for appearance sake then find a good rep range to work decently hard with and go heavy/max once a month dare I say even one every 5-6 weeks. [/quote]

Frankly, bodybuilding can potentially be a pretty boring pass-time, so striving for PR’s keeps me hungry at least in the compound lifts. What you said is partly my worry that this king of routine could have problems down the line. I think I’m going to try and get my bench and squat up to more respectable numbers and then focus on a strict form focused routine with higher reps. Like the guy said before 5/3/1 is probably suitable, but for now I’m having success with newb gainz.

I’m going to stick up some pics once my 6 months comes up for my contract, I need some accountability.
[/quote]

The issue is that what you’re doing is working… For now. You’ll pretty soon hit a brick wall and, trying to hunt down new PRs, will try to push through it. It may even work for a little longer but pretty soon either your connective tissue or CNS will go down. Muscles are actually your strongest link; it’s all the other stuff you need to worry about. So if you really must, keep doing what you’re doing but please listen to your body. If you don’t, you won’t have a long lifting career. Learn from other people’s mistakes.

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:

The issue is that what you’re doing is working… For now. You’ll pretty soon hit a brick wall and, trying to hunt down new PRs, will try to push through it. It may even work for a little longer but pretty soon either your connective tissue or CNS will go down. Muscles are actually your strongest link; it’s all the other stuff you need to worry about. So if you really must, keep doing what you’re doing but please listen to your body. If you don’t, you won’t have a long lifting career. Learn from other people’s mistakes.[/quote]

Yeah, this is the reason I made the thread as I don’t have anyone to talk to about these things as I live in Korea and train alone so I don’t know people with any experience. It’s just that lifting heavy shit is addictive, but I may need to re-evaluate. That said I feel totally fine, so it’s more of a future concern.

[quote]HiFiBoy wrote:

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:

The issue is that what you’re doing is working… For now. You’ll pretty soon hit a brick wall and, trying to hunt down new PRs, will try to push through it. It may even work for a little longer but pretty soon either your connective tissue or CNS will go down. Muscles are actually your strongest link; it’s all the other stuff you need to worry about. So if you really must, keep doing what you’re doing but please listen to your body. If you don’t, you won’t have a long lifting career. Learn from other people’s mistakes.[/quote]

Yeah, this is the reason I made the thread as I don’t have anyone to talk to about these things as I live in Korea and train alone so I don’t know people with any experience. It’s just that lifting heavy shit is addictive, but I may need to re-evaluate. That said I feel totally fine, so it’s more of a future concern.[/quote]

I get that. I REALLY do because I used to be like that. And if it is still working for you, keep doing it for a bit longer. Just make sure to know when to change things and get used to the idea that day-to-day improvement will vanish pretty soon. If you keep chasing it then by adding weight no matter how you’ll get injured or burned out. Find other aspects that motivate you to train.
Remember, slow and steady wins the race.

[quote]chobbs wrote:
How is your OHP and your bench almost identical? [/quote]
Considering he says the OHP is actually a push press, I wouldn’t say that his ratio is really very weird.

[quote]HiFiBoy wrote:

[quote]chobbs wrote:
How is your OHP and your bench almost identical? [/quote]

I don’t know either man. I feel so weak when I bench compared to my other lifts, I can’t figure it out. I’ve been working on form, but nothing seems to work. Any tips?

I db press 25kg per arm x8 for both bench and seated ohp, so they are exactly the same for those lifts. All my other lifts are shooting up apart from bench.
[/quote]
I’m not the man to ask lol but it sounds dumb but all I do for assistance is triceps and my pressing is alot better proportionally wise…than my squat and deadlift

[quote]HiFiBoy wrote:

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:

The issue is that what you’re doing is working… For now. You’ll pretty soon hit a brick wall and, trying to hunt down new PRs, will try to push through it. It may even work for a little longer but pretty soon either your connective tissue or CNS will go down. Muscles are actually your strongest link; it’s all the other stuff you need to worry about. So if you really must, keep doing what you’re doing but please listen to your body. If you don’t, you won’t have a long lifting career. Learn from other people’s mistakes.[/quote]

Yeah, this is the reason I made the thread as I don’t have anyone to talk to about these things as I live in Korea and train alone so I don’t know people with any experience. It’s just that lifting heavy shit is addictive, but I may need to re-evaluate. That said I feel totally fine, so it’s more of a future concern.[/quote]

Couple quick thoughts:

  1. If you feel fine, make the most of it mate. I am a firm believer that whether or not something “should” be ok for you based on some sort of mythical biological or CNS ‘rule’, if it’s working and you feel good–you keep doing it man. Go hard. If it’s working and you feel like shit, you need to seriously reconsider your “addiction” and consider backing off to 1x-2x a week heavy singles or doubles (ala Westside ME days), or something else like Sheiko or whatever…and if you’re not getting stronger then it doesn’t matter how good or bad you feel–shit ain’t working so you better change it ASAFP.

  2. I do tend to agree with some of the guys here that this daily stuff may be too much down the road. On the other hand, soft tissue and mobility RELIGIOUSLY applied can seriously change the recovery game (ask CT about voodoo bands lol), and

  3. “almost maxing” is much different than “actually maxing” whether or not you actually miss a “true max” attempt. “almost maxing” is much less strenuous on the CNS and recovery mechanisms, and many very successful lifters do it in the olympic lifting game, or even powerlifting game (Jamie Lewis comes to mind).

“almost maxing” gives a lot of gray area as well–you could be going up until you hit a slow rep and call it. You could be going up until you hit a rep you fail on with a technical fault. You could be going up until you feel that the next rep will be a maximum grinder. Or you could grind out slow and straining reps until you think you’ll miss and get crushed by the next one you try. Depending on how often you do it and under what circumstances you do it, any or all of them could be the best or worst idea for you.

Generally speaking, “grinders” and “maximum grinders” are really damn hard on the CNS and tend to be much more a “true max” thing, to not be done so often because of the recovery debt. The others can more or less be done a lot more often (CT is squatting heavy 6 days a week, I’ve done the same in the past, etc etc). The big caveat here is you really have to listen to your body and put the ego at the door to make it work long term at even heavier weights.

That’s why I’m not telling you to stop what you’re doing. The answer is “it depends”. And right now you feel great and it’s working.

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:

get used to the idea that day-to-day improvement will vanish pretty soon. If you keep chasing it then by adding weight no matter how you’ll get injured or burned out. Find other aspects that motivate you to train.
Remember, slow and steady wins the race.[/quote]

This bears repeated mention. Strive for weekly improvement and daily. But at some point it stops, so you have to modulate your weight increase goals from daily to “weekly” or “monthly”. If you do that successfully you’ll be ok for the most part–accumulate volume for 2 or 3 weeks at one week, drop volume week 3 or 4, then attempt the new “almost max” PR week 4 or 5.

Of course, “almost maxing” can be done almost daily if you’re used to it and depending on which one of the gray areas you’re in I mentioned above. Trying to remember which guy it was on here that wrote an article about maxing in the squat every day of the week…turns out he increased his raw powerlifting total by something like 200 lbs in a year (to 1700?) doing it and felt fine. He was “almost maxing”, not “true maxing”.

Giant gray area :slight_smile:

[quote]HiFiBoy wrote:

[quote]chobbs wrote:
How is your OHP and your bench almost identical? [/quote]

I don’t know either man. I feel so weak when I bench compared to my other lifts, I can’t figure it out. I’ve been working on form, but nothing seems to work. Any tips?

I db press 25kg per arm x8 for both bench and seated ohp, so they are exactly the same for those lifts. All my other lifts are shooting up apart from bench.
[/quote]

maybe painfully obvious question here, but is that listed max in your first post your incline press or your flat bench? Because a push press and an incline bench can be very close in weight.

You are almost certainly a shoulder dominant presser if you are doing identical weights for a shoulder press and a flat bench.

[quote]Aragorn wrote:

[quote]HiFiBoy wrote:

[quote]chobbs wrote:
How is your OHP and your bench almost identical? [/quote]

I don’t know either man. I feel so weak when I bench compared to my other lifts, I can’t figure it out. I’ve been working on form, but nothing seems to work. Any tips?

I db press 25kg per arm x8 for both bench and seated ohp, so they are exactly the same for those lifts. All my other lifts are shooting up apart from bench.
[/quote]

maybe painfully obvious question here, but is that listed max in your first post your incline press or your flat bench? Because a push press and an incline bench can be very close in weight.

You are almost certainly a shoulder dominant presser if you are doing identical weights for a shoulder press and a flat bench. [/quote]

Thanks for taking the time to respond.

Flat bench and incline are the same. I do feel that a lot of my pressing is hitting my shoulders more than my chest (I think my posture may have a role to play in this as I have a ‘gamer lean’ from years sat in front of a computer, my shoulders naturally sit forward and have maybe taking over some of the chest muscles).

For what it’s worth, I feel very strong when doing dips, which I hear is a great chest exercise and my chest doesn’t look too bad. I’ll try and take a pic today, I feel like a massive idiot taking pics in the gym, but if the locker room is empty I might give it a go.

The issue is that I feel like I’m pretty strong in other lifts (for my training age), but all these guys seem to be benching massive numbers, not really relevant to bodybuilding I guess, but it seems that 220 is a basic lift for every American older than 16.