Strategies for getting the max 1RM

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KenDowns
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Strategies for getting the max 1RM

Post by KenDowns » Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:01 pm

I don't do 1RM efforts that often, and when I do I'm happy with a "safe" number that proves a gain over last time. So I've never given much thought to what might be possible to ensure the greatest chance of the highest 1RM.

Reason I ask is that my partner and I have a friendly rivalry over bench. I've gone from 25# behind (150 vs. 175) to tying him at 215. Before the end of the year we'll do a competition, and I'd like win clear.

If we did this today, I would size it up like so:

220: safe
225: target
230: reach (will almost certainly get me the win)

Normally I'd do the 220 to be safe, then try for 230 and be happy with either result. But if we're competing I'm wondering:

1) Does doing the 220 tire you out for 225?

2) Kind of the same question again, if I make 220, then make 225, will I have burned myself out and reduced chances of making 230, when I might have better chances if I skip 225?

3) If I miss a rep and drop the bar immediately to avoid wasting energy, is there any chance of making the rep on another attempt if I feel that form was loose and I might tighten up and try again?
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Re: Strategies for getting the max 1RM

Post by Dub » Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:34 pm

For my two cents(And mind me, I'm not a pro powerlifter), you should usually play it very safe at first. You do some weight you could do for atleast 2 or 3 reps. Then the second attempt is the record you are chasing. If you miss it, you can lower it a bit, and if you beat it, you can try to get heavier. I think there is a logic behind there, even tho there is a risk of your systems going crazy because of the failing lift. Make sure to rest enough between the attempts and bring the whole year of training, all the blood sweat and chalk on the second lift and push it through to show yourself and your loser friend who lifted puny numbers compared to you.

Plus, I think it is possible to succeed on the same weight lift after failing, if there really was a lack of form, focus or the soulripping attitude.
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Re: Strategies for getting the max 1RM

Post by Khronos8 » Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:57 pm

I'm not a pro or a powerlifter either, but thought I'd add my 2cents as well (so, now you'll have 4!)


For powerlifting competitions there's alot of strategy on what to try for your competition lifts, precisely because there are rules about how many times you can try, the time between tries, and, most importantly, that you cannot go down in weight. You arent opperating under these rules... so I dont really know. I would say warm up, get your mad face on, and rip for the record. The real key is going to be warming up just enough and gathering your motivation for that attempt.

If I were pressed, I would say that you have one and probably only one, really good attempt at a true maximum lift per day (maybe every two). The trick is to gauge your ability correctly so you make the most of the attempt. You can make more than one attempt, but if you had estimated it right the first time... your max would have been higher (this is what I mean about a "true maximum lift").

Also... I've found, at least for myself, that what you can get in a max attempt is more mental than physical (if we're talking about 5-10lbs either way). I can miss a max... rest 15 minutes, get psyched (and pissed because I blew the first one), just rip it and realize I could have added more weight. I'm not sure at what point in training that becomes the deciding factor.

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Re: Strategies for getting the max 1RM

Post by Proper Knob » Tue Nov 08, 2011 6:09 am

Dave Tate has said a few times that Louie Simmons 'meet philosophy' was to make an easy first one, aim to break your 1RM by five pounds on the 2nd and then go all out on the 3rd but basing the poundage of the 3rd attempt on how well you got the second. Of course working out in a home gym you are not restricted by time or the number of attempts you can have.
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Re: Strategies for getting the max 1RM

Post by Jungledoc » Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:16 am

Those are fairly small increments for hitting a true max. For me it works better to set the target, then approach it in something like 15% steps. However, if 220 is pretty easy for you, you might have enough gas left to get 225 or 230, but if 220 is a new max, I wouldn't bet on being able to go beyond. If you think you can get 230, then plan for that and go something like 190, 210, 230.

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Re: Strategies for getting the max 1RM

Post by KenDowns » Wed Nov 09, 2011 12:30 pm

Thanks everyone. Thanks to @Proper's answer in the other thread, I think I have a strategy here.

Next week is 1+ week. I will use that week to test how well Wendler's formula predicts my 1RM. For press, bench, and squat I will do:

85% for 3
90% for 1
Predicted 1RM for 1

This gives me three data points on the formula. Understanding that the formula may work differently on different days, different lifts, and so forth, that is still 3 more data points than I have now.

for any lift where i get projected 1RM easily, I'll add about 5% and see what happens.

This ought to give me a better idea of what to try for at the end of the year, how to use the formula to my advantage, and so forth.
Vague goals beget vague methods

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Re: Strategies for getting the max 1RM

Post by Rik-Blades » Wed Nov 09, 2011 2:14 pm

KenDowns wrote:Thanks everyone. Thanks to @Proper's answer in the other thread, I think I have a strategy here.

Next week is 1+ week. I will use that week to test how well Wendler's formula predicts my 1RM. For press, bench, and squat I will do:

85% for 3
90% for 1
Predicted 1RM for 1

This gives me three data points on the formula. Understanding that the formula may work differently on different days, different lifts, and so forth, that is still 3 more data points than I have now.

for any lift where i get projected 1RM easily, I'll add about 5% and see what happens.

This ought to give me a better idea of what to try for at the end of the year, how to use the formula to my advantage, and so forth.
Cool! The result will be interesting regardless. Will you post the result here, or start a new thread?

Good luck!
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Re: Strategies for getting the max 1RM

Post by KenDowns » Wed Nov 09, 2011 2:45 pm

I'll likely post them here. Press 1+ day is Saturday, bench is Thursday 6 days from now, Squat is 8 days from now.

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Re: Strategies for getting the max 1RM

Post by hoosegow » Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:18 pm

Here is what I do when I compete.

Do about 95% of your max. This gets you used to heavier weight after your warm up sets. It also gets you used to the set-up and gets the first lift under your belt so you have no worries.

In this case, since it isn't a meet, do what you think your max is.

On the third lift adjust to what you saw from your last lift. If you threw up the weight, add 15-20 pounds. If you barely made it, add 5. If you failed, I'd drop the weight by 5-10 pounds depending on the failure.

Make sure you rest at least 5 minutes between lifts.
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Re: Strategies for getting the max 1RM

Post by KenDowns » Sat Nov 12, 2011 12:23 pm

Data point 1: Press.

Wendler's formula says for the past 3 sessions I should be able to Press 145#.

Since we cannot measure fractional reps, this means I should be able to Press at least 145#.

So I took the advice and did:
-          Normal 
Percent    5/3/1  Today
========== ====== =====
75          5      3
85          3      1
95          1      --
Predicted   --     1   
Predict+5%  --     Fail
So I made the rep at the predicted value, but not at +5%
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Re: Strategies for getting the max 1RM

Post by Rik-Blades » Sat Nov 12, 2011 12:47 pm

KenDowns wrote:Data point 1: Press.

Wendler's formula says for the past 3 sessions I should be able to Press 145#.

Since we cannot measure fractional reps, this means I should be able to Press at least 145#.

So I took the advice and did:
-          Normal 
Percent    5/3/1  Today
========== ====== =====
75          5      3
85          3      1
95          1      --
Predicted   --     1   
Predict+5%  --     Fail
So I made the rep at the predicted value, but not at +5%
So far so good then. Very interesting. Looking forward to your other tests.
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Re: Strategies for getting the max 1RM

Post by Oscar_Actuary » Sat Nov 12, 2011 12:55 pm

bet that 145 felt great!

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Re: Strategies for getting the max 1RM

Post by KenDowns » Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:55 am

Oscar_Actuary wrote:bet that 145 felt great!
You bet!
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Re: Strategies for getting the max 1RM

Post by KenDowns » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:20 am

Data point 2: Bench.

Fail.

With one success and one fail, next time I do this I'll try going to 90% of formula prediction, and work up from there.

Won't be gathering more data points, I found out what I needed to know.
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Re: Strategies for getting the max 1RM

Post by KenDowns » Mon Nov 28, 2011 2:28 pm

Final data point.

Got a cold during Thanksgiving week, which was coincidentally a deload week, and skipped two workouts.

I've since resumed with Cycle 4 and done 5+ day for Press and Deadlift, and thought about Wendler's emphasis on forgetting about your 1RM and getting those sets in. My training numbers for the spreadsheet now exceed the actual 1RM I've done for 2 of the 4 main lifts, and in two more cycles it will be all 4. That's really all I need to know.

I've cancelled my plan to max out on the lifts at the end of the year, I really am happier focusing on those all-out sets.
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