T Nation

How Much Heavy Work is Necessary to Gain Strength?

How much variability is there between individuals and the amount of 90+% work needed for optimal strength gains?

Personally, I seem to be very easily stimulated by high-intensity work and experience negative side effects (anxiety, poor sleep, skin breakouts) when performing more than a low volume of heavy work, especially in the same workout.

Some of my best deadlift progress came when just doing 1 top end set per week, but at the same time, I also made great gains on a squat every day program.

Does anyone else have a similar experience?

CT, do you have significant programming differences for your athletes based on how easily they are neurologically stimulated?

90%+ work is very heavy. Most powerlifters rarely use over 90%, and they are going for strength as the main goal. In fact, many programs use 90% as a training max, and take percentages off of the training max.

I would say I only train over 90% when peaking for a meet. These are usually 1 to 3 rep sets, for 2-3 sets a workout. I probably do a month of this type of working out every 8-9 months.

I get all of those side effects if I go to heavy, or go very excessive on the volume. The anxiety and insomnia are the worst. I do get skin breakouts (blood vessels breaking under the skin), and occasionally I get a bloody eye (blood vessel breaks in the eye), which is unsightly to people who have to look at me.

I should’ve said 85+% really.

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