The principle of Max Effort Training is simple -lift heavy weights over a period of time (with intelligent program design) and you will become stronger!
No matter what the sport, strength is the foundation. If all else is equal, the stronger person will win.
That is why I integrated maximal effort lifting in the majority of the gym sessions that I have used with elite athletes. In these sessions I would have athletes build up to a maximum effort in a big compound lift such as the squat, deadlift or an Olympic Lift.
But, because lifting weights above 90% 1RM can negatively affect the central nervous system and cause a decrease in co-ordination and form, the maximum effort method is done in conjunction with the conjugate method, constantly switching exercises and variations as previously mentioned, which allows max efforts to be performed close to 52 weeks a year.
So, for example, let’s use the example of upper body max effort work and how I alter the 4 week plan with different max effort lifts with an elite athlete to prevent adaptation.
In week 1 our max effort upper body lift could be Viking Press, then week 2 Rack Bench Press (starting position just off chest), week 3 Floor Press and week 4 Bench Press with chains. I want you to understand that, although we rotate the exercises, the aim of them is the same – build ferocious upper body strength.
This style of planning leads to ferocious results. In rugby, I witnessed players going from 110 kg bench to 170 kg bench in a season and this is while the player as to train and play as a professional rugby player which, trust me, is brutal. I also witnessed players squats going from 130 kg to 250kg in the same time period.
So, add in max effort lifting into your program (providing you are efficient in the lifts and you have someone to spot you – health and safety and all that) and let us know what results you see.
You can see how I planned the rest of the session after the max lift and some examples of the sessions I used with Amir Khan, Leicester Tigers and Olympian Stuart Stokes in the Ultimate Strength & Conditioning Book.
I will also add that I was meticulous with athletes nutrition around training. I was diligent in making sure they had pre-workout amino acids and a recovery drink once they’d finished. Even today I still make sure that Andy Bolton, Glenn Ross and Stuart Stokes are fuelling their training with PRP’s Workout Pack – the perfect stack for before, during and after training and competition.
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