Max Effort Week

As a training phase concludes, you will have the opportunity to see your strength in a number of lifts. Those lifts consist of: Back Squats, Bench press, Deadlifts, Chin ups, and Push-ups.

Max Effort Week can be a lot of fun, however, it is imperative that those that are planning on participating follow the guidelines listed below. As always injury prevention and your safety in the weight room is priority and although, we as coaches are prepared to help you hit those high numbers, we also need your help when it comes to listening to your body and keeping us posted on that.

For those of you that are not quite ready to max out or do not want to participate (Max Effort Week is ALWAYS optional), we will always have an alternative program that follows our normal setup so you can continue to get your workout in on your regular days/times.

Max-out Guidelines:

 Warm up is key.

The warm up we will be implementing is going to be slightly more strenuous than normal warm up to prepare the body for heavier lifting. The more prepared the body is for stress the better the out come. We need to activate muscles and make sure they are firing at a high rate, increase joint viscosity, increase range of motion, and increase neurological response—basically, we need to make sure we are well awake and energized and we do this with the warm up.

Never Max-out on your first set.

It almost seems more intuitive to go heavy when you feel fresh so you don’t wear yourself out before you get to a max set, however, that is not how our body’s physiology works and your risk for injury significantly increases if you do that. To explain a little further, our bodies have several protective mechanisms built in and specifically, one of these is called a Golgi Tendon Organ (GTO). GTOs sense weight in the muscles, and if the body experiences too much weight, it will essentially stop firing the muscles and the body will go limp. Our goal is to avoid that all together, which leads us to our next guideline.

Build up to your max.

This process, in combination with a good warm up, activates and coordinates the muscles to work together and fire at higher rate as we build. This will also prepare the GTOs in the body so they do not immediately shut down. Unfortunately, this mechanism is not stored in muscle memory and must be worked up to EVERY TIME, so please do not attempt max effort lifts without professional assistance and supervision.

Listen you’re your body.

If you are feeling shaky, weak, or generally off, do not attempt heavier lifts and decrease your weight. If your back, knees, or shoulders are not feeling up to heavy lifts, go light and live to lift another day.

It’s okay to not hit a PR.

Yes, in a perfect world we all hit a PR (personal record) on all of our lifts, however, life happens. Stress, busy work schedules, poor nutrition, etc. all affect our workouts and lifts; especially if you weren’t able to make it into the gym as much or eat like you should have been. Just remember, it is ok! We will have many more Max Effort Weeks to comeJ.

Lastly, share your results with us! Use #slcstrengthmax so we can follow your progress. Please reach out to Steve, Sese, or Alli via email or in class if you have any questions.

If interested in any topics discussed above, please check out these articles, they are great reads!

  • Woods, K., Bishop, P., & Jones, E. (2007). Warm-up and stretching in the prevention of muscular injury. Sports Medicine, 37(12), 1089-1099.
  • Fradkin, A. J., Zazryn, T. R., & Smoliga, J. M. (2010). Effects of warming-up on physical performance: a systematic review with meta-analysis. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 24(1), 140-148.
  • McGowan, C. J., Pyne, D. B., Thompson, K. G., & Rattray, B. (2015). Warm-up strategies for sport and exercise: mechanisms and applications. Sports medicine, 45(11), 1523-1546.