T Nation

Maxing During Workouts


I'm coming off a program right now, and before I start the next one I want to spend a week testing my maxes.

I'm gonna test max bench press, max bent-over row, how much I can dip/chin with (won't be 1RM though), max squat, and max deadlift.

I just have a simple question: if I work out 4 times next week, grouping bench press/bent-over row, dip/chin, and have a seperate day for max squat and max deadlift,

AND I warm up thoroughly (first two sets at 50% 1rm, 1-2 sets at 65-70%, rest, then attempt max)...

what can I do after the max reps to get a good workout but not overtrain? I figure that max reps are more taxing than a normal set, and I was just wondering what you guys do when youre maxing on every lift in a week. I want to get the most out of my workouts but I wanna be fresh to start a new program.



First of all i don't really think it is necessary to 1RM your bent over row, just use it for reps, max out on other lifts. go to www.elitefts.com and read the articles on the conjugate method, max effort method and repition method, gives a good example of exercises for supplementing and accessory for max day


What exactly does testing your max strength achieve?

IMO if your numbers are going higher with any nr of reps, you are growing. Why do you need to prove it by doing something as potentially risky as a 1RM?


I cant answer your question, however, while im by no means an expert i believe your max warmup is FAR from thorough. Actually it isnt enough for a good, quality max attempt. If you were gonna go for a 300lb dead for example...2 sets at 150, and 2 more at 210 is all you'd do? Thats a 90lb jump to 300! I would build up more to your max weight, like with 20 lb increments or something. After 3 reps at 210, start doing singles and work up.


Warming up is tricky. I have read that if you are warming up you are doing ONLY one of two things. You are either -activating your muscles- OR -getting used to the weight-.
Therefore the first couple sets could/should be at low weights just warming up. 2-3 sets is fine at low weight. You want to be ready for your set as though it was a sport and you dont want to go in cold. Then, proceed to low rep sets where you are getting used to the weight. Sets of 1 or 2 is fine for this and you can slowly go up towards your weight. Jumps of 20-30 is fine starting at where you ended your warming up phase.

Also, light cardio(i cheat and do 3-5 minutes) is good because it will activate your nervous system somewhat.

Test deadlift, squat, chest and possibly military press.

as for your question, work up to your max, and then try doing singles at that weight until you cant do anymore. Then go home. You dont want to stress your nervous system on bench day because you have squats and deads later that week.


1.I hope you have a spotter
2.I don't see a reason to do them,espeically if my old 1RM is now my 5RM after a few weeks
3.Don't let your form slip while maxing
4.you need to start your warmup with 60% of your old max(as long as its close to the one desired)and go up to 80% then rest,then max

my words of wisdom after many failed max attempts,learn from your mistakes


Maxing out is basically for powerlifting, you don't have to max out if doing anything else.


There's nothing wrong with hitting maxes every week or so, just don't go all rediculous with it. Read the stuff on elitefts about max effort work, as someone suggested, it's a good start.

Basically, I like to take a big lift, like a jerk press, pin press, squat or deadlift and start with something like 75% of my estimated 1RM. Then I add weight until I hit a lift that I either just fail on or just barely grind out. Then I know that I don't need to go any heavier that day. You have to play it by ear and use common sense. Learning how to gut out a heavy single is important for strength gains.

Just know the difference between hitting concentric failure or being very, very near it and just demolishing yourself with concentric and eccentric failure. I like to just brush con. failure and be done with it.


IMO Weight lifting is hugely psychological and i find if there is a number in my head that i want to pass and i 1rm it it gives me a huge boost and i feel more confident,


It serves two purposes. First, most programs I use (Chad Waterbury's) advise that you lift a certain percentage of your one rep max.

Second, I enjoy lifting not only for looking good nekkid, but strength. I'm not a power lifter, I don't really give a shit about sanctioned power lifting, but it's fun as a goal. How is it less legitimate to enjoy gaining strength if you're not participating in competitions? I like knowing my maxes. I don't see a problem with testing them every 2-3 months.


I'm testing the bent-over row to see how it compares to my bench press, hoping they'll be pretty close; last time, my bent-over row was about 40 pounds under the bench press.

I have seen some Westside stuff before, looks good. I like the idea of maxing every week and rotating the lifts by 3 weeks. I understand max/dynamic/etc as well. Useful.

I dunno how anyone got the impression I don't know that I need to have a spotter, etc, but I'm just doing this in order to know how much I've progressed strength-wise. I don't see anything wrong with lifting this way one week out of every 2-3 months.

I know to keep good form, etc; I asked because I was wondering what you guys do when you're checking your max lifts (if you do that) and you want to get the most out of your lifting that day.

Thanks for the responses.