T Nation

MAX - OT Training

I have a question regarding a specific training program entitled MAX-OT. The program is put out by AST Research and the program is followed by supposed natural body builders Jeff Willet and Skip Lacour. The premise behind it is straightforward. Basically you work each muscle group once a week using basic exercises, low reps (4-6) and adequate rest. The whole premise behind this training program is why make training more difficult than it has to be. This low rep theory would be similar to Ian King’s theory that somebody who has been training for a long period may acheive better results from a lower rep range. I guess my question is at the end of the day this program seems to make sense in that in order to make gains you must overload the muscle. What do you guys think?

What does it mean to “overload the muscle?”

And what does it have to do with percent 1RM
chosen as the training weight?

I’m not trying to knock your points, just to try to raise clarity in that particular thing.
I mean, it’s fine to have a theory that “to gain muscle, one must X,” e.g., must overload the muscle, but we need to be clear on what X actually is and whether it really is true one must do X.

I myself don’t think that to gain muscle it’s necessary to
train to failure, train with over 100% 1RM,
cause muscle strain or tearing, or whatever
overload means.

I agree that you don’t have to tear or strain or even train to failure in order to build a muscle up. However assuming a particular individual gained strength and size quickest by using a weight on most basic exercises equivalent to a 80% - 85% of a 1RM, what is the point of cycling in higher reps during a planned training program. It would seem that doing things like preexhaustion techniques, drop sets and supersets would do nothing more than fatique a muscle. It’s just a question. I bring this up because it seems at times like we make training more complicated than it really is. If you look at programs by Charles Poliquin, Ian King and Pavel Tsatsouline they all recommend heavy weights (rep ranges between 4-6 not done to failure. It would seem like this would be ideal for a bodybuilder interested in increasing size and strength. During a cutup phase you would just increase your cardio and lower your caloric intake while keeping your protein high.

I don’t make any real point of trying
to memorize what Poliquin or anyone else
recommends, but if the current trend is
to always train at the same %1RM, e.g. 80-85%
as you mention, I disagree with that method.

What I find is that if you keep the weight
the same all the time, the reps you achieve
wind up being the same all the time too (e.g. 5 reps) and you stagnate. Whereas if you drop down in weight and increase reps, and build back up,
you can build up to a higher weight for that number of reps, e.g. 5 reps. Besides this
there may be benefits so far as at some times providing more optimal training for some muscle fiber types and other times for other muscle fiber types; or benefits to tendons, ligaments, or joints. In any case I’ve tried
both approaches and cycling weights works far better for me, and for all that I’ve advised on that, I don’t know one who decided it sucked and preferred to go back to training at the same weight all the time.

Most of my best gains came from relatively low sets of 4-7 reps with most sets done at or close to failure. Also kinda hard to argue with the results of LaCour, Willet,and company. Aren’t many of of the weight class winners and high placers at the TU following a similar regime? One thing I don’t agree with is not doing a warm up set when starting a new movement. For example, I don’t see how Willet can jump into a super heavy set of lying tricep extensions without a set lighter warm up to get a “feel” for the weight and range of motion. Also, I always wondered why they would recommend starting a back workout with 50 reps on the chin. This seems very anti-max OT and would just serve to fatigue the biceps/forearms prior to other heavy back work.

MAX-OT is the best training program i have ever come across!!! It makes so much sense, your workouts go for 35-40 minutes of eye watering intensity, you are building up strength every single week and you are doing compound movements. I said this a while back, it is so much easier to put in 110% concentration into 4-6 reps than it is in 10-12. Trust me the whole program is a blast, its great fun and to tell you the truth i cant see how i will ever go back to training 8-12 repetitions, i dont want to go back to 8-12 reps. The ONLY exeption is maybe for squats every few weeks. Sure you could get great results from doing higher reps, but to get to those results in the shortest amount of time definately use maximum overload. I am sorry if i am being to enthusiastic about MAX-OT, but this is how effective MAX-OT has been for me.

I echo SLAINE’s sentiments exactly. My srlf and many others at my gym have been training with MAX-OT for over 2 years, and each and every one of them have had impressive results. Bill Roberts, you can throw around your complaints about the not exact science of it or the lack of an exact definition of “overloading the muscle”. Guess what- I bet if you read the actual protocol, you’d know what the deal is. And, I’d be willing to go 12 weeks head to head with you or anyone else trying another system, juice free. Thats how much faith I have in the system. This said, it of course IS possible to gain and get great results with other programs and rep schemes etc… but the focus here is 1- results, 2- efficiency. Not only will you get the best results from Max-OT, but it’s the most efficient. And thats what sets it apart.

I am, and will continue to be, wary of any program that bills itself as “THE” program instead of “A” program that works. I am also wary when there is inflexibility of both the Preachers AND the Disciples. This is especially true when the followers of a program didn’t build their muscle foundation using the program. This is all NOT meant to say that “Max-OT” is not a good program. Sounds like it may be. But experience has taught me that it is probably just one among many that will work.


Something I learned recently from J.B.: ALL programs must be tailored to your individual body and it’s subsequent responses. There is no “one size/program” fits all, NOR is any one program that is the answer to “Physique Nirvana”.

Mufasa: the voice of reason in the T-mag jungle! :slight_smile:

I agree, I’m sure Max OT is a nice change of pace and will work for a while because of the “newness” factor, but some of the proponents of it sound a little like the HIT zombies.