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Does Max Effort Method Build Strength or Test It?


#1

The Westside Max effort method.

Does working up to a 1-3RM (90+% of 1RM) build strength or test it?

Ramping up to a top set in a lift and then rotating that lift every 1-3 weeks.

Is this enough volume to build strength?

Or would it be better to build strength by doing more volume at maybe a lower percentage?

So maybe a 3x5 at 85% 1RM for a couple weeks and then a 3x3 @ 90%1RM for a few weeks all done with straight weight.

Thanks


#2

[quote]ANIMAL M0THER wrote:
The Westside Max effort method.

Does working up to a 1-3RM (90+% of 1RM) build strength or test it?

Ramping up to a top set in a lift and then rotating that lift every 1-3 weeks.

Is this enough volume to build strength?

Or would it be better to build strength by doing more volume at maybe a lower percentage?

So maybe a 3x5 at 85% 1RM for a couple weeks and then a 3x3 @ 90%1RM for a few weeks all done with straight weight.

Thanks[/quote]

You can debate concurrent/conjugate vs linear progression vs volume vs what ever other cube juggernugget method you want at the end of the day it comes down to an intelligent plan that you follow and get results from.

If you can’t get results on a conjugate/concurrent model but you get results on something else, then you’ve answered your question.

It also matters if you’re a newbie, intermediate or advanced lifter.

We found a modified triphasic program to be more beneficial to our powerlifting team than concurrent training ever was. That’s not to say the concurrent training didn’t produce results ( because it did ).

What’s your current training like?


#3

In my experience, working in that high of a percentage trained me in how to strain. It’s great for learning all the mechanics necessary for moving a heavy work, to include bracing, breathing, enduring misery, and making corrections under a heavy load. Dave Tate talked about this discussing ME at some point.

I never really felt like I was developing strength during those times. The strength development came from higher rep ranges. However, I was learning how to most effectively bring all the strength together at one time when training in those percentages.


#4

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
In my experience, working in that high of a percentage trained me in how to strain. It’s great for learning all the mechanics necessary for moving a heavy work, to include bracing, breathing, enduring misery, and making corrections under a heavy load. Dave Tate talked about this discussing ME at some point.

I never really felt like I was developing strength during those times. The strength development came from higher rep ranges. However, I was learning how to most effectively bring all the strength together at one time when training in those percentages.[/quote]

I agree. ME days also don’t just involve working up to a max double floor press then calling it a day. That’s only the first 20 minutes of the session. You’ve still got builders and accessory work to do.

In this example the floor press teaches you to strain, then you’d move on to maybe board presses 3x5 shooting to beat the last weeks board press, then get your DB pressing, DB rows and pullup volume in. Granted this is very simplistic and one of many multiple outcomes of conjugate.


#5

[quote]ANIMAL M0THER wrote:

Does working up to a 1-3RM (90+% of 1RM) build strength or test it?

[/quote]

Yes and yes.


#6

[quote]emskee wrote:

[quote]ANIMAL M0THER wrote:

Does working up to a 1-3RM (90+% of 1RM) build strength or test it?

[/quote]

Yes and yes.[/quote]

Agreed

Max effort is not limited to WSBB methods of implementation. There are multiple ways of incorporating it - specifically, working up to a daily max single that is smooth and not necessarily an all time max.


#7

That’s not a very big difference.

I think even 3x3 @ 90% isn’t max effort. Max effort is something like singles and doubles up to 120%.

From all the things I’ve read it seems to me that if ME work doesn’t scare you then it’s not really ME work.

To paraphrase Dave Tate: “Max Effort is a Max set, a PR set, a stupid set and then a really stupid set”


#8

[quote]Haldor wrote:

That’s not a very big difference.

I think even 3x3 @ 90% isn’t max effort. Max effort is something like singles and doubles up to 120%.

From all the things I’ve read it seems to me that if ME work doesn’t scare you then it’s not really ME work.

To paraphrase Dave Tate: “Max Effort is a Max set, a PR set, a stupid set and then a really stupid set”[/quote]
I assume you mean eccentric only if you are going to 120%. 100% is max, there isn’t more than that.


#9

[quote]corstijeir wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
In my experience, working in that high of a percentage trained me in how to strain. It’s great for learning all the mechanics necessary for moving a heavy work, to include bracing, breathing, enduring misery, and making corrections under a heavy load. Dave Tate talked about this discussing ME at some point.

I never really felt like I was developing strength during those times. The strength development came from higher rep ranges. However, I was learning how to most effectively bring all the strength together at one time when training in those percentages.[/quote]

I agree. ME days also don’t just involve working up to a max double floor press then calling it a day. That’s only the first 20 minutes of the session. You’ve still got builders and accessory work to do.

In this example the floor press teaches you to strain, then you’d move on to maybe board presses 3x5 shooting to beat the last weeks board press, then get your DB pressing, DB rows and pullup volume in. Granted this is very simplistic and one of many multiple outcomes of conjugate.[/quote]

Couldn’t agree more, so often I think people come in and hit like a heavy triple on their squat for example then leave. You have to look at the big picture of things, doing the appropriate accessory work, following a concise plan, not always going too heavy etc. So many variables are involved that its hard to give a one size fits all answer.


#10

I just have to parrot some of the great info you guys have already pointed out.

-You learn a “different” technique under the heavy weights. I know that I really can’t get tight for a set of 5 like I can for a single.

-Everybody forgets about the 4:1 assistance/main lift guideline from Louie. High rep dumbbell presses, upper back work, 2 exercises for tricpes, shoulders, etc. One of the main strengths of the conjugate system is that the whole gym can do the same program, at the same time, whole peaking for different meets. If you’re on your own, you can periodize however YOU like.

-If you’ve been doing higher reps, and lighter weights switching to more singles can have a more dramatic impact on building strength. If you’ve been doing lots of heavy, low rep work, your max effort really does show how strong you are. Like the ultimate demonstration.

-If you’re going to lift a lot of heavy weights, concentrate on making the majority of lifts “smooth,” not ggrrriiiinnnnnnddddssssss. Build good technique, don’t deteriorate your technique one grind at a time.

-85% and 90% are pretty close. The percentages are just guidelines to get you in the right ballpark. You gotta develop a “feel” for it, based on exertion and bar speed.


#11

Good points.

Say you want to work up to a 3RM on a lift. I like to make small jumps in weight for the most part (20lbs) while ramping up. I feel that any sets over about 70% 1RM help to build that strength too even though they may not be max sets.

So if your 1RM on a lift is 300 lbs, than any set over 210 has a training effect.


#12

[quote]ANIMAL M0THER wrote:
Good points.

Say you want to work up to a 3RM on a lift. I like to make small jumps in weight for the most part (20lbs) while ramping up. I feel that any sets over about 70% 1RM help to build that strength too even though they may not be max sets.

So if your 1RM on a lift is 300 lbs, than any set over 210 has a training effect.

[/quote]

According to Fred Hatfield, maximum force (and therefore muscle fibre recruitment) occurs with weight at 78%+ or 1rm. The other way to achieve this is by going close to failure (1-3 reps short, for example.) So work over 70% can build strength, but you will have to do more reps to get any effect.

As for your original question on max effort work, there is no doubt that it builds strength because otherwise the Bulgarian weightlifting team (and others who used their methods) would never have had any results to show for it. Every exercise, every day, was max effort for them. That’s not to say that it’s the optimal way to train for everyone, but it has been proven to work. For an example of a powerlifter using this method, look up Damien Pezzuti - #2 on powerlifting watch if I’m not mistaken.


#13

You’ve just got to be careful that your sets between 70-90% are warmups, and not where the volume comes from. Don’t tire yourself out before you get to the truly heavy stuff.

I’ve been reading routines from the 60’s and 70’s. Lots of those guys did the warm up, the really heavy stuff, then after the singles or triples dropped the weights back down to do 5’s, 6’s, or 7’s.

Westside uses all those “secondary exercises” to build volume in that range, not the warmups for the max effort.


#14

[quote]FlatsFarmer wrote:
You’ve just got to be careful that your sets between 70-90% are warmups, and not where the volume comes from. Don’t tire yourself out before you get to the truly heavy stuff.

I’ve been reading routines from the 60’s and 70’s. Lots of those guys did the warm up, the really heavy stuff, then after the singles or triples dropped the weights back down to do 5’s, 6’s, or 7’s.

Westside uses all those “secondary exercises” to build volume in that range, not the warmups for the max effort. [/quote]

I do those ramp ups with usually around 3 reps per set so they don’t tire me out.

So after benching i will then hit dips, DB presses or pushups for more volume in the 6-12 rep range. I also know that doing back off sets with the main lift is effective as well.

Sounds like those old time routines utilized back sets. Do you have link to them? I’m interested to see them.


#15

-“Doug took 135 for 100 reps as a warmup and then went to singles with 225, 315, 405, 485, 505, and 520. He then dropped back to 405 for 8 repetitions and 315 for 15. Not bad, seeing as how he had just lost weight down from 260 in an effort to stay somewhere near the 242-pound class limit.”

-"Remember: What we are trying to do is to work the particular exercise movements with a series of single repetitions with a weight close to your maximum. Ninety or ninety-five per cent is more than heavy enough. There are various ways to incorporate this principle into your lifting and I am going to list a few of them for you here and now.

One way is to pick a particular movement and do that twice per week. On the heavy day, you would do a set of 10 reps with 50% of your one rep limit. You?d then go to around 75% of your one rep limit and do a set or two of between 3 and 5 repetitions. These are the necessary warm-up sets. Now jump to 90% of your maximum and perform 5 single repetitions with this weight. Do each single as strictly as possible. Be sure to have a spotter or two in case you need them.

After 5 singles with weight, drop down to around 60 to 70% and gut out 2 or 3 sets of all the repetitions you can possibly handle. The key to progression here is to key to add a single or two to the heavy attempts with this 90 to 95% limit weight. It is then time to take a few days off and go for a new personal record in the lift. After doing so, simply adjust the training percentiles according to the new strength level and begin once again. On the other training day, I?d adjust the strength level to around 60% maximum and do between 5 and 7 sets of whatever repetitions are possible with this particular weight."

from

-“That inspired me to look up the half-forgotten Hepburn bench routine I saw in Starr’s book. The routine as outlined by Starr was simple. Ramp up with about five sets of warm-ups, then hit five singles at about 90-92% of 1RM. Then do 5x5 across back-up sets at about 75%. The back-up sets should be a wee bit lighter than what you would do 5x5 without the singles or else it may get to be too much. You get some high intensity singles but also some fives for volume and some hypertrophy mixed in.”


#16

[quote]FlatsFarmer wrote:
-“Doug took 135 for 100 reps as a warmup and then went to singles with 225, 315, 405, 485, 505, and 520. He then dropped back to 405 for 8 repetitions and 315 for 15. Not bad, seeing as how he had just lost weight down from 260 in an effort to stay somewhere near the 242-pound class limit.”

-"Remember: What we are trying to do is to work the particular exercise movements with a series of single repetitions with a weight close to your maximum. Ninety or ninety-five per cent is more than heavy enough. There are various ways to incorporate this principle into your lifting and I am going to list a few of them for you here and now.

One way is to pick a particular movement and do that twice per week. On the heavy day, you would do a set of 10 reps with 50% of your one rep limit. You?d then go to around 75% of your one rep limit and do a set or two of between 3 and 5 repetitions. These are the necessary warm-up sets. Now jump to 90% of your maximum and perform 5 single repetitions with this weight. Do each single as strictly as possible. Be sure to have a spotter or two in case you need them.

After 5 singles with weight, drop down to around 60 to 70% and gut out 2 or 3 sets of all the repetitions you can possibly handle. The key to progression here is to key to add a single or two to the heavy attempts with this 90 to 95% limit weight. It is then time to take a few days off and go for a new personal record in the lift. After doing so, simply adjust the training percentiles according to the new strength level and begin once again. On the other training day, I?d adjust the strength level to around 60% maximum and do between 5 and 7 sets of whatever repetitions are possible with this particular weight."

from

-“That inspired me to look up the half-forgotten Hepburn bench routine I saw in Starr’s book. The routine as outlined by Starr was simple. Ramp up with about five sets of warm-ups, then hit five singles at about 90-92% of 1RM. Then do 5x5 across back-up sets at about 75%. The back-up sets should be a wee bit lighter than what you would do 5x5 without the singles or else it may get to be too much. You get some high intensity singles but also some fives for volume and some hypertrophy mixed in.”

[/quote]

Thank thats awesome.

Yup its basically doing backs after the heavy set. Wendler and Paul Carter recommend this as well. I believe Derek Poundstone has a training video where he talks about this.

I think the Westide guys do this on max effort day but I have never seen them mention it too much.


#17

I have various thoughts on this. If you’re doing 3x3 @85% with a straight weight, and you only get one set of 3 at 90% after jumping up from 75% when you’re doing the Westside style ME days, then possibly not enough volume to build strength. If you’ve spent a while at higher rep/higher volume stuff previously to that, then the Westside style will help you peak and be more efficient and display strength better, but not “build” it so much.

On the other hand, if on Max Effort Day you do something like 80% x 3, 85%x3, 90% x 3, then you have now got a total of 3x3 at an average intensity of 85%, but with a higher peak intensity. Same working volume as the straight weight idea, but more intensity.

Generally I count anything above 80% as “working sets”, so if I did 80% x 3, 83%x3, 86%x3, 89%x3, and 92% x3 I have a total volume of 5x3 above 80%. That will almost surely be enough to build strength. Or if you did something like 80%, 85%, 90%, 85% as a “back off” set.

You can do the same calculation with sets of 5, or singles.

Obviously as the peak intensity gets higher you have to watch more closely for signs of nervous system fatigue, but in general yeah it works. The problem that I notice some people have with Westside style max effort days is that they are taking waaaay too large jumps to work up to their 3 or 1 rep max set.

The other thing that gets most people is that you have to remember if you’re in a squat suit you might work up to 85 or 90% of your raw max before suiting up, then working up to a suited max. So essentially 1) you’ve come close to “maxing” twice and 2) all the sets with the suit represent an overload set compared to your raw squat.


#18

The more you make the ramp ups “count” the less energy you will have for the true, heavy lifts.

If you do lots of work in the 75-85% range, you are starting to just duplicate the effort you will shoot for on “speed” day. Westside has two days that are like TOTALLY opposite. One is heavy and slow, one is light and fast. One is low volume, one is high. The frequency is high (twice a week) so they days have to be radically different. Heavy day is supposed to be like 50% of the volume of fast day. If you just do a bunch of work around 80-85% both days you are kinda muddying up the 2 days.

-In my personal experience, if I am gonna combine heavy/light in the same workout, the light weights are much more effective after the heavy weights, not before. They just move different after the heavy stuff.


#19

And like Strider points out, there is more than one way to do the max effort.

Tate has mentioned working up to a heavy triple week 1, beating that number week 2 and then hitting a new 1 rep max week 3.


#20

[quote]Ecchastang wrote:

[quote]Haldor wrote:

That’s not a very big difference.

I think even 3x3 @ 90% isn’t max effort. Max effort is something like singles and doubles up to 120%.

From all the things I’ve read it seems to me that if ME work doesn’t scare you then it’s not really ME work.

To paraphrase Dave Tate: “Max Effort is a Max set, a PR set, a stupid set and then a really stupid set”[/quote]
I assume you mean eccentric only if you are going to 120%. 100% is max, there isn’t more than that. [/quote]

Tate wrote in his Iron Evolution series that he would go for 110/120% and that he would fail the first several attempts before finally hitting it.

I am also assuming it isn’t your true max. It is 120% of your previous max.

Then again, your body is only limited by your mind…

I found it it’s called Iron Evolution Phase 6, great read on Westside style Max Effort work.