T Nation

Thoughts on Max OT Training?


What are your thoughts on Max OT training? Anyone have any good or bad experiences with it? Ive been training like this for 4 months so far and I've been making the fastest size and strength gains I've ever seen.


I just saw this type of trainin on a documentary. i thought it looks pretty cool and i might try it.


In it's original version, it only really works great for a few outliers.

With a few modifications it's a very damn solid system.


Well, this guy used it:


cc, could you explain what problems/modifications you were referring to in your last post please?


I believe max ot is a solid training program that uses many of the principles that I implemented when I had just began my serious training. Skip la cour and Jeff Willet created the max ot system with the idea that people should push themselves to the limit for a minimal amount of sets, taxing the muscle just enough to cause a growth response but not enough volume to exceed your capacity to recover. I like the idea behind this training because I believe a lot of people focus more on the quantity of their training rather then the quality, in this program since the volume is so low you can really put a lot of focus into these 2 or three sets per exercise. I also like the fact that your time is spent using basic compound lifts that build a strength base rather than a lot of fluff that other programs put in. But after a time I think people began to reach a point where they can benefit from more volume. After a long period of a high volume approach I always like to go back to these mentzerisc heavy duty hitt type programs for a little while for a change of pace.


Who cares. Its giving you great progress so keep doing it.


Tcannon--Is that you in your avatar?

Those are some solid looking legs (and overall physique).

Maybe some of you guys should inquire about some of his philosophies about training and nutrition??


Max-OT training doesn't seem like anything groundbreaking.

How does it really differ from most bodybuilding routines?


It seems to me like a lot of other bodybuilding routines have way more volume, and in order to allow for this increased volume, the routines necessarily call for lighter weights. Other routines also have super sets, drop sets, pyramid sets, forced reps, and so on. Max OT incorporates none of these things. The Max OT philosophy is also against the use of machines and isolation exercises like leg extensions and hamstring curls. According to Max OT each body part should be trained only one day a week, and trainees should take a one week break from training every 8-10 weeks


I followed Max OT way back about 7 years ago. It worked very good for my strength and I built up a very good base while doing this type of workout. I followed it for about a year. I remember getting burned out on the heavy lifitng though and aslo wanting to add higher rep volume to the routine...


I only started using this method around a week. Way too soon to see or notice any kind of progress.

The only slight change i have made to the set and reps is:

  1. Ramp the weight, once i hit 6 reps, up the weight until i hit a 3rm. 90-120 seconds rest.

  2. Once i hit my 3rm on said exercise i start strip sets.

  3. I use the same weights that i ramped with just in reverse without any rests.

Don't know what results of this will be and i'm just experimenting.

By the end of the workout i feel the muscle has been really worked and this method uses a lot of energy and gets me pumped, breathing heavy etc as i'm bulking at the moment i feel this is really guna help.

I'll let you guys know how it turns out.


so...not really Max-OT Then...


Max-OT has been working pretty well for me over the past 2 years. Sessions usually last in between 45 mins to an hour, cardio is usually only done on off days, and eating is a year round carb cycling approach. You choose weight by something you can only get 4 reps with. then eventually as weeks go by, when you hit 6 reps you increase the weight by smallest increment and lower the reps down to 4 again. Progressive Overload.

4 set warm-up including 1 weight acclimation set, usually 10 light reps 6-8 med light reps, 3-4 moderate/heavy reps(about 20 lbs less than your working weight), and1 weight acclimation rep with about 5-10 lbs away from your working weight.

6-9 sets for big body parts
4-6 sets for small body parts

A weight acclimation rep between each exercise.

Heaviest Pressing movements first in the lineup of exercises usually. IE: On chest day, you'd do flat bench before something like flyes.

It's almost no isolation movements either, such as 1 arm preacher curls or conc. curls any type of movement where you're taking complete body motion out of the picture.


Interesting post, thanks. I don't really understand what one of these are. Could you give some specific examples please?


Sure. A weight acclimation set:

A set of 1 or 2 reps with a heavy weight, usually about 10-20 lbs less than your working weight. These sets are executed in order to prime the muscles for the heavier weight to come. All sets have 2-3 minutes rest in between them.


Lets say your working weight on the bench press is 300 lbs for 3 sets of 4 reps. Your chest warm-up would look something like this:

Rest 2-3 mins between each set:
10 reps with 180 lbs
6 reps with 225
3-4 reps with 275
1 Weight Acclimation rep with 285 lbs, concentrate on good form.

Then go on to 300 lbs for 4 reps


And a weight acclimation set in between exercises is just the weight acclimation set, no warm-up:

Lets say you just finished all bench exercises and are finishing up with weighted dips @ 100 attached lbs. You would rest 2-3 mins after your last set of bench, load up the dip belt with 80 lbs, do 1 or 2 strict reps, rest another 2-3 minutes, and move on to your X amount of sets with 4 reps @ 100 lbs.


No offense dude but thats not Max-OT anymore once you do all that stuff. You're never gonna rest under 2 minutes or under 4 reps for a working set... or ramp weight either.


Old topic but thought I’d relive this a little as I’m a huge fan of Jeff Willet. Jeff didn’t create the routine but Paul Delia of AST Sports Science did. I modified the routine into a push > pull > lower (training 5 days) whilst dieting down. Kept 95% of my strength, 95% muscle naturally (based on dexa scanning) and felt great.

BUT, have decided to move away from max OT to more volume based training, as I did feel that it started to impact on my joints and tendons around my shoulders. Also I felt really lethargic, possibly to do with the CNS response to all of the overloading, although I think I stuffed this up by modifying the program and doubling up on muscle groups and adding to many exercises (it’s hard to leave a session at just 5-7, 6-9 sets per muscle group). Overall a great program that I prescribe frequently, especially for those looking to gain strength and size or at least maintain strength whilst dieting down.


i don´t know whats so special on Max OT. A SOLID system???

Its a split with 4-6 reps and 6-9 sets to failure/ muscle group. I don´t regard this low volume either. Also periodization is lacking.

In other words: Its a 3 or 4 day Bodybuilding split in the lower rep range taken to failure. Mindbreaking!!! Really WELL-THOUGHT out!

I already hear my joints begging for mercy when doing Barbell Curls in the Squat rack rep for 4 reps.

Want a solid System?

531/DC/PHAT/HST/Myo Reps