Understanding your one rep max is a natural consideration from your first day within the iron game. It is only human nature, particularly for those driven with a competitive streak, to understand your limits but equally as common few are properly prepared for a max effort test.
Prior to any thought of a testing day, it is crucial to consider the broad training paradigm as it relates to technical performance. This point needs to be highlighted as many training environments unfortunately do not place sufficient emphasis upon technical form which will invariably lead to a greater risk of injury. This point needs to be clear as greater weight should never come at the expense of technical form and safety should always be a priority.
Secondly, there is a direct relationship to improving technique and output and the rationale behind many classic Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting theories where individuals train a certain lift more frequently than in bodybuilding. This creates a situation where one is more technically efficient in the movement and has been groomed to execute the lift at greater level of intensity without technical failure.
With that said, preparation is crucial in developing and testing a one rep max and for the beginner to intermediate level lifter I suggest a long-term plan of at least two months. This will allow the individual sufficient time to systematically accommodate to greater training intensities, review potential ‘weak links’ and taper down before testing.
Two of the most important concerns that influence technical form are mobility and core pelvic stability. Each training session should include a proper warm-up (see Modern Warm-Up) that activates the core musculature to assist with optimal movement patterning and reduce the risk of injury.
Any discussion of optimal performance is without merit unless the individual has properly addressed muscular recovery. It truly is as simple as you can’t train if you’re not recovered; hence the dedicated make use of the following recovery measures on a daily basis:
• Contrast showers, Epsom salt and Ice and baths, massage therapy and the appropriate amount of sleep
• No training plan can overcome a poor diet (see the Modern Diet for Recovery)
• A supplement plan that includes Modern BCAA+, AminoLIFT, USPlabs PowerFULL® and SuperCissus®.
Regarding programs the two typical flaws I note are managing a near maximal load on the shoulders, partially a sheer confidence aspect and coming out parallel position. Quite obviously, these should be the focal point of general training and addressed as follows:
Assumption; this general plan is for a individual at a non-competitive early to intermediate level. All training is performed generally raw, without the use of a weightlifting suit, the extreme use of wraps and involves walking out a squat cage (or forks) COMFORTABLY with the weight.
Week 1, Day 1
** there will need to be latitude with the starting percentages given individual characteristics regarding torso stability and unilateral strength. Be patient, err on the side of caution and any differences will self adjust within three weeks.
Week 1, Day 2
Week 1, Day 3
Week 1, Day 4
Week 1, Day 5
Week 1, Day 6
Week 1, Day 7
Week 2, Day 1
Week 2, Day 2
Week 2, Day 3
Week 2, Day 4
Week 2, Day 5
Week 2, Day 6
Week 2, Day 7
Week 3, Day 1
Week 3, Day 3
Week 3, Day 4
Week 3, Day 5
Week 3, Day 6
Week 3, Day 7
Day off training but engage in general physically activity. Rust doesn’t settle
Week 4, Day 1
Week 4, Day 2
Week 4, Day 3
Week 4, Day 4
Week 4, Day 5
Week 4, Day 6
Week 4, Day 7
Weeks 5 and 6 should repeat the two prior weeks (3 and 4) and at that time the individual should review whether technical form is adequate under greater intensity loads (this naturally can occur earlier as well). In the case where diagnostic review suggests questionably stability under greater duress (easily seen within performance of the Good Morning Squat), therefore concern for a possible injury, I suggest returning to ‘week 1’ and shoring up weak spots. Furthermore and it should be noted, in situations where there is greater preparation time allowed or required exercise choices would be expanded. In this situation there would be a broader use of chains and bands as well as movements such as Jump Squats but only after a full diagnostic review of the individual.
In the two final weeks work volume in the form of supplemental exercises and ‘off day’ technical training, would drop considerably out of the equation with greater focus upon high intensity short duration (‘explosive’) sets. By the end of week eight and assuming diet and recovery measures have been fully implemented the individual will be ready for a maximal effort test.
Prepared by John Davies
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