We review our last week of max strength training with a montage of moments taken from the workouts themselves and also review our first foray into eccentric training (lowering more than your single rep max).
In this podcast (Quicktime ipod compatible, 24MB; Google streaming flash video), Nancy Arnold and I (Bud) complete our max strength training diary series. From here, we will be going into three months of hypertrophy. Hypertrophy essentially boils down to doing workouts where you push 60–85% 1RM for 6 to 15 reps per set with 1 minute rest between sets.
Hypertrophy will take us to January. At that stage, we'll switch over to muscle definition workouts. These workouts are typically accomplished at 30–50% 1RM for 30 to 50 reps. We also superset from two to eight exercises before taking the 60 second rest.
By contrast, in max strength, we have been doing 1 to 8 reps at 80–120% 1RM with 3 mnutes rest between sets and no supersets. The 120% 1RM requires some explanation. It occurred the last day of our max strength training and was the weight we did in an eccentric training day. Eccentric (pronounced e-centric) training consists of lowering more weight than you can lift and then lifting with the help of spotters. It's tremendously demanding psychologically. It also leaves you sore the first time you do it.
One thing eccentric training does that traditional max strength training does not is move you closer to your absolute strength potential. Absolute strength is the most you could lift if every muscle fiber was firing optimally. You can get an idea of your absolute strength potential by testing the maximum amount of weight you can let down through the negative of any weight training exercise. Obviously, if you choose to measure absolute strength potential, you should have more than one spotter at the ready to assist you. Nancy and I used two the day we did it.
- This article provides an interesting formula for measuring absolute strength potential given measured muscle mass. Highly trained lifters can achieve 90% of their potential.