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How Often Do You Max Out?


I'm always reading conflicting information regarding testing you 1RM. You have Louie Simmonds preaching that if you use max out on a particular lift for over three weeks you're max will so to speak stall if not drop, and then I hear of people maxing out, for instance, bench press every two weeks.

My mane purpose is to gather a general consensus on how often each of you max out on a particular lift, and if so does that constitute for your training of that day or do you add in work sets afterwards?


Not very often. Maybe 2 times per year per lift when I feel like trying to set a new PR. But I'm not a competitive lifter and I do a bulk of my training at home where I don't have a spotter for max effort singles.


if you don't mind me asking, what are your goals as a lifter, strength, size, being healthy etc.


I do triples for 3 weeks of a bench variation then I'll either max out on the last week or I'll just start doing triples with another bench variation. I cycle Floor Press, Bench Press, Incline Press, and Weighted Chins right now. I'm aware that Weighted Chins aren't a bench variation. I never max on these. I only go for triples. I don't use boards or close grip because my weakest point is at the start.


what ever my program calls for


I think this is an excellent question, and I hope more people post on it. Personally, right now, I'm not at all sure, going more by instinct and feel. I try to be sane about alternating heavy and lighter, volume workouts, and probably try popping a 1RM for a PR once a month on powercleans, deadlifts, and squats. I can't bench right now, but since it is less of a compound exercise, perhaps slightly more often is possible.

I realize there are strict training protocols that address this issue with periodization, utilizing a precise schedule for when you should attempt your next 1RM. That requires not only strict discipline but the assurance workouts will not be missed. Sometimes, if I miss a workout or two, (due to injury or work) the rest can make me feel either stronger or weaker, and if it's stronger, I go for it.               Doc


I'm a competitive powerlifter so take that into consideration...

I used to max twice a week on a different exercise a la Westside, one bench max and one squat or deadlift max. That worked well for quite some time, but like anything I needed a change. When it comes to the squat and deadlift it is clear, I max out every third week after doing triples and doubles the previous weeks. On the bench day it is not so clear as I go more by feel. I would say I max at least once a month though on the bench.


I usually only max out on dead lift and that's about once a month. I lift so close to my max on other lifts that I can predict what my max is. For instance, I do heavy sets of triples on full squats, so I have pretty good idea of where my max is.


As always it depends!

As a competitive Powerlifter I max out on the competitive lifts about every 4-6 weeks.

I train using the westside template so my other max effort exercises are chosen to help my weaknesses.

Eg, for Bench Press max effort work might look like this-
Week 1 -Bench
Week 2 -1 Board
Week 3 -Bottom up bench
Week 4 -2 Boards
Week 5 -Reverse band Bench
Week 6 -Bench

Then I would re-assess my weaknesses and select exercises as required.

Hope this helps


I used to max out on 1 upper and 1 lower exercise every week when I was a newbie. Now I do it when I feel really good or at the end of a training block to see where I am, so about every 3-4 weeks. I don't do less than two weeks between maxing out, and I don't max out on the deadlift very often, taking 2-3 months and sometimes more between a true max.

I found that maxing out very often killed my accessory work and a lot of the volume I'd otherwise do on the main lifts, as well as exacerbating problems with my form because I wasn't handling heavy (80%+) weight for as much volume as I needed.
Bear in mind though that I compete in powerlifting, so there's board work and equipped lifts.

Also, I have a very large discrepancy between what I can do for 3 reps versus singles which probably exacerbates any issues regularily maxing out may cause.


All of the above, I suppose. When I started lifting I was 155 lbs @ 5'11" and now I'm up to 210. So for now I'm interested in gaining more lean mass and building a solid strength base and in another 18 months or so I'll give a powerlifting comp a shot if I can find one close enough.


I know this wasn't to me but I'll respond to this and your original question.

Number one goal is size. I train for strength(for reps) in the gym but that's a means to an end for me, not what I necessarily am after.

So for me I don't max out singles ever at this point. I will max out a lift for say a 6-10 rep max every single time it comes up, but never any reps lower than 4 currently.


I am trying an idea I got from Chad Aichs and alternating a max week with a speed week. This has been great for me and allowed me to recover better overall. On the max week, I only have to get psyched up for two main lifts (one upper and one lower) and on the speed weeks I can either take it easy or work up if I feel good. I also do recovery workouts (very easy) in between to speed recovery and strongman on the weekend.

Overall, I would say I max about 4 times a month. I am of the belief that you should always be working on setting PR's. I don't like to estimate where I'm at; just because the math works on paper doesn't mean you'll lift it at the meet. Plus, it gives me a great psychological boost.

Oh, and if you train solo, get a power rack with safety pins. I did this and it allowed me to max out safely for only a few hundred bucks. Worth every penny.


ok so besides speed days and max days how many days do you do regular training so to speak, or do the max days count as training days? Last, when you max out 1 upper and 1 lower per week is it usually the same exercise or different varitions of a particular exercise?


I do one upper body day and one lower body day per week, either speed or max effort, plus the recovery workouts and a strongman session. I have one main exercise that I max out on and it usually changes each week to two weeks. Upper-Bench press variation
Lower-Squat or Deadlift variation


4 times in a 4 week cycle I lift for a maximum single. Usually once for a squat, deadlift, and two presses. The rest of the time I am working with heavy triples/fives, and one week is a deload.


I only max at contests and usually do my openers for doubles before an event. I never leave a max on the gym floor. I try and compete 3-4 times a year. I do however try and push max triples, 4s each 3-4 week cycle. If my max 4 in squat is 475 and I am going to train 4s for the next 4 weeks, I will do 455 week 1, 465 week 2, 475 week 3 and new max at 485 on the last week. If you are hitting a new PB in a lift every 4 weeks, success should come your way.


Not very often. Maybe once every eight to 12 weeks, if that. But I do work to get rep PRs on a pretty weekly basis. Having just started 531, that’s going to drop even more. I’m not going to be approaching a max weight for something like 18 weeks. Still weekly rep PRs though. I used to max out way more often when I was weaker. I think the very general continuum is that the stronger you get, the less frequently you’ll max out on a given lift (hence the Westside three week wave idea).

I’m a powerlifter, BTW, so a bigger total is pretty much the be all and end all for me. Plus (recently) improving my press because why not.


I used to max all the time but have found that as my training experience increases, the less I can. As far as a true all out max, two times, max of three times a year if that. I typically go at or a little above 90% when peaking for a powerlifting meet 4 times in a 6 week period and hit something a little under/over my second attempt depending on how my training is going. I’ve found that other than giving you something to brag about to your friends, it is better to just save maxes for the meet, they don’t mean anything in the gym and do more harm than good for your progress. I am also a powerlifter though, also running more of a linear program training history, so that biases my point of view.


I personally don’t really do singles or lifts above 90% until 2-3 weeks out from a competition or the end of training cycle. I spend the majority of my time in the 70%-85% range.