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Max Effort Equals Max Results

We break down the basics of max-effort training

WHAT IT IS
The quickest strategy for making significant strength gains. You work up to lifting 95% of your one-rep max on a compound exercise (usually a barbell lift).

HOW TO USE IT
Choose a lift—the squat, deadlift, or any barbell press is perfect. Warm up gradually, increasing the weights each set but keeping your reps at five or fewer to save strength. Continue until you reach 95% of your max and perform three to five reps. Reduce the weight by 10% and do another set. Follow the max-effort lift with exercises that train the same muscles (if you did a bench press, you could do chest exercises now) and ones that work the opposing muscle groups (such as back moves, in this example). Repeat this workout a week later, trying to increase the weight on the main lift by five to 10 pounds. After three weeks, reduce the loads you're lifting to 50% to 75% of your one-rep max and start the cycle again in your next workout.

THE BENEFITS
The technique increases strength, size, and coordination, and develops thicker tendons and ligaments, reducing your risk of injury.

THE RISKS
Since you're lifting heavy, it can be difficult to recover. Workouts need to be well planned to avoid plateaus and overtraining.

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