T Nation

Max Effort


For max effort lifts, how do I determine the number of sets of warmups and the progression of it, like how many pounds do I add each set. I have a 187 bench press, how would i use the max effort method for my bench press training, for example if I want to work up to a max rep of 3-5 reps.


well everyone will do this somewhat differently but i like to warm up and work up slowly, if it were me it would be

bar x 30
rest a few minutes
rest a few
185x3 to 5


Are you sure it's not 189, or 184? :slight_smile: And is that 1-rep max, or 3-5?

Generally, I wouldn't do more than 5 reps or so per set, no matter the weight. No sense in fatiguing yourself beforehand. You won't get much benefit from it, and it may hamper you max ability. So, I'd consider something like:


That gives you 3 decently heavy sets altogether. So, if you're training for strength, it should work nicely. If you were looking to test your 3-5 rep max though, I'd just drop one of the 175-sets.)

The biggest thing is to start out not too heavy, but also not too light. And just increase according to how it feels. Do a set, evaluate how you think it went, add a bit more weight, repeat.


I agree for the most part. But because you're a weak, skinny bastard, you may want to get in more sets than what is listed above. Possibly like this:




Holy crap, you guys all do a bunch of warmup sets.

I find that two warmup sets is all I need, and is frequently overkill.

If I do as many as MichaelMr reccomends, I would be exhausted by the time it actually came to lift the weight. I'd be bored if I did Minotaur's.

So if I was trying to hit 190 on the bench, it would be:

135 x 3
(2-5 minute rest)
170 x 2
(2-5 minute rest)
190 x 1

But that would be working up to a max single.

If you're looking to go 5x5, I would just start with 135# and when I could get that 5x5, take it up 5 pounds. When you hit THAT, take it up 5 pounds. You should make pretty good progress for a while. Once things slow down after a few workouts, and you hit, say, 170, but you can't get the 5x5, take a few days off, and test for a new max the next time you hit the gym.

But I think this question is a question for the WSB guys, and I have no idea how they structure their ME days. I'm still making good progress on the "compounds heavy, not to failure" program. When I stop making progress on that, I will look into WSB.

Dan "JMO" McVicker
(Edit for Clarity)


I just reread the thread, and I have a question:

Is your goal strength, or mass?

Dan "Because that would change things" McVicker


For me, I nearly always go up near my max. The rest depends on what kind of volume I want to train.

One example might be:

265x8 (pump set)

I might decide to do mostly sets of three, and then I'll end up with 8 or 9 sets. Or I might decide to do mostly sets of eight, and then I'll end up with 4 sets.