T Nation

Max-OT Training?


I am considering trying Max-OT training. I have done traditional and HITT training recently with success but my body needs to be mixed up a bit or nothing happens.


Have you or do you know of anyone who has tried Max-OT? Did they have success with it?

Thank you!


No I haven't. But why don't you try a few cycles and report to us how it works?


yeah i used it for a little bit. it was great until i hurt my shoulder...should of deloaded a week sooner...also be sure to balance your horizontal pressing with horizontal pulling and you should be fine.


Yeah, I've tried it out. Lays out guidelines for a simple and sensible program. It helped me get stronger and gain a few pounds... but I ended up getting hurt while deadlifting and having to lower the weight. The biggest complaint you will hear about this program is that the low volume/low reps/heavy weights will do a number on your joints.

I say try it out. If anything, it'll teach how to warm up properly, about progression, and how to push yourself to failure.


What's funny is the people complaining about the program seem like they never actually read the program as it actually very extensively covers adequate warm up


Ok, a bit confused. Everyone who tried it got hurt! Yet you still recommend it?

I don't want to sound cynical but that's 2 for 2 in the injury column.

Anyone use this Max-OT without getting hurt?


Look, max-ot is a solid system/philosophy, the only real problem is that
a) they use the 4-6 rep range to failure on stuff like extensions... So you better have cyborg-elbows and knees...
b) it's actually quite a bit of volume (in work-sets) compared to standard bb training and almost always for 4-6 to failure on each set (occasionally 6-8 on very few exercises etc)... And you may end up doing deadlifts/backsquats and RDL's in the same week with those parameters... Not a good idea imo, doesn't matter how well you warm up then...

Of course you can simply use a higher rep range on extensions and make sure you don't do too much low-back stuff in the same week and you should be ok...
Imo using 4-6 exclusively isn't exactly the best way to get big either (for quads, especially, as well as bis and tris).. I'd use a more open range (like 4-10 or 6-10) and less sets, but oh well.

If you want an alternative, read through the "professor x: a request" thread and the ramping thread to learn about standard modern bb training.
That "system" is overall more geared towards keeping people injury-free...
Though of course if your technique/setup sucks, then no program can save you from injury.


I have tried MAX-OT along with the cardio. This is my feedback on it.

1.Great method of training to get back into
heavy lifting.

2.Rest breaks between sets are a little to
long for such low volume. ie 45 min for
12-14 sets.

3.With the low volume you recovery alot

4.I dont belive it is effective using there
6 month plan, I think it works well for
short periods
8-10 week period.


i did it for a few years, had good results and no specific injuries that could be attributed to this program that training hard in general wouldn't cause. i do have some elbow issues, always have always will.

it was a bit different back then though, similar but different.

the way i remember it, using chest for example was,

1 flat/ incline: 2-3 (working) sets 4-6reps
2 incline/ flat: 1-2 (working) sets 6-8reps
3 decline/ dips: 1-2 (working) sets 6-8reps
4 flye/ pec dec/ cable cross: 1-2 sets 10-15 reps

you wouldn't do all max number of sets, if using 3 working sets for the first exercise, i'd only use 1 (working) set for each of the remaining exercises.

only take the sets to positive failure, no forced reps, if you can't get at least 4 by yourself (and that means your spot does not touch the bar at all) the weight is too heavy. i'd try to only take the last set of each exercise to failure

the biggest (& hardest) part of this program is leaving the gym (reletively) fresh. do not do just 1 more set, because you can, less is more (but get at least 5-6 working sets in).

the deloads are also vital to keep you fresh, if doing this program properly, you will burn out very quickly, i disagree with Pologazz, that you will revocer faster. but that may be an individual thing.

you'll need to know your body, i personally prefer a greater variety for my back less sets per exercise but more exercises, while for other body parts, i prefer mutliple sets and a rotatation of exercises week to week.


If that's you in the photos, then I say DON'T try the program.

In my opinion - I'm with Dave Tate - if you don't even have enough muscle to flex a muscle group, don't even bother with split routines and low reps (<5; probably <8 would be considered low for a guy with little muscle mass).

You're very thin. I say stick with a TBT or A-B or upper-lower split. Learn how to lift weights and gain enough muscle mass to be able to even flex what you have. At the point you're at (beginner status), you don't need much change - at all!


And dude (I'm NOT asking this to be a dick), at your level of progress (which is little muscle mass), how do you know what works and what doesn't?

I'm with CT; one has to "learn" how to use their muscles with an AB split or a TBT program before they venture off to a 5-way split. A guy with little strength or muscle mass can't even make a big enough impact on a bodypart to make it require 5 to 7 days of rest.


Great program

Used it without any injury

This was the main program i used to put on 19kgs in a little over a years. Im going back to max-ot training this next week. For 5 years ive been trying the whole more sets and higher reps and while ive put on 5kgs at best i look nothing like i did when i was training max-ot style.Higher rep training for me took away from hardness in my muscles.

I dont know why i ever stopped training max-ot way.I assume it was because it can get boring if used for extended periods of time plus i caught a few colds while heavy lifting.

Pm me if u want more details


i got quite a few colds as well from pushing (too) hard, for too long, it's very easy to overtrain on this program, and your immune system will let you know that very promptly.

it gets very hard and draining overall on your body very quickly, hence the emphasis on the de-loads in my above post.

remember it's Max-OT (maximum overload training) not max-fatigue training:

  • the rest periods are part of the systems philosophy of never (or at least limiting) training in a fatigued state.

  • this is also the thinking behind why if you ever (and you will more often then not) ask yourself ?just 1 more set?? that you know it?s time to leave the gym, even if it?s against your instincts.

Your goal is maximum muscle overload not maximum muscle fatigue.


Im using max-ot right now, but im an Intermediate/advanced lifter, so never needed to "learn" how to lift again.

It is very taxing on the System, mostly because of HOW you lift and ALWAYS being heavy. But thats why you should be eating nutritious food and supplements (like superfood) while on ANY lifting program.

I don't think 2 mins is too long to rest between sets, and I also think that you were supposed to get the workout done in between 30 and 40 mins, not above 45.


I'm starting MAX-OT next week when I'm done deloading. I've heard a lot of good things about it, sounds pretty solid. Although I do agree with what has been said, I'm going to switch some of the rep ranges (leg press, raises) because it sounds useless to go low reps on some exercises


I really dislike the rep ranges of this program. Tried it when I was just starting out and did ok with chest and back progression but that's about it. I could probably get more out of it now but even then it would just stress the fuck out of my joints without much return.

Thumbs down in my book, 8+ reps is where it's at for injury prevention and control of the target muscle. If you want to get good with low reps use a PL routine with %'s and variation so you aren't pounding to failure every session.



I think max-ot training is great! I have progressed tremendously in the off season using it... my strength levels went through the roof compared to when I was using a higher volume program. After transitioning out of my first show last fall, size and strength increased tremendously with legs, even more once I finally dropped cardio completely. I think high volume programs are great if you are the type of individual who responds well to them and can recover quickly. I've noticed that I respond better to lower volume training followed by a longer recovery period.

I'm 7 weeks out from a show in July and have continued using max-ot. It does take a great toll on you mentally and physically, especially when cals are really low. But, when hitting the gym after incorporating proper refeeds, I've noticed I've been able to preserve all of my strength as a continue to lose fat.


Ditto what jmogill said - I've been doing MaxOT for a few months now, and I haven't experienced strength gains like this since my newbie days. Mind you, I have a knee injury right now, so I can't train legs at all (could hardly even do stairs up to a couple weeks ago), so I'm probably not the person to talk to about the need for recovery...