We're doing max strength to increase our strength potential.
In this podcast (Quicktime ipod compatible, 20MB; Google streaming flash video), Nancy Arnold and I (Bud) discuss our recent foray into max strength training. The video starts with us talking about what we visualize as we attempt heavy lifts. Nancy thinks about the muscles involved. I think about the rhythm and trying to get the right muscles to fire. We demonstrate on the bench press.
The idea behind max strength training in a bodybuilding regimen is that you increase the amount of weight you can push by learning to coordinate your muscles so that all fibers contract without inhibition. Normally, any movement includes both excitatory and inhibitory signals to the muscles contracting leading to some fibers contracting and others not. Max strength attempts to get you past the point where you are simultaneously sending excitatory and inhibitory signals signals the muscles you are trying to contract and only send excitatory signals.
One way we will improve our maximum strength is to do eccentric movements, essentially the negative portion of the rep, with weights that exceed our maximum strength estimates by approximately 20%. I expect this to be mind blowingly hard. Hopefully, neither of us will go to the hospital as a result.
- This article provides a good discussion of your absolute strength potential relative to the maximum strength you can achieve and provides guidelines for when you should use max strength training.