Max Strength progression

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  • #30874

    Curious as how best to make max strength training ‘harder’ over the course of a cycle (i.e. max strength phase then muscular endurance phase).

    I’ve increased the amount of weight once, cut down the time taken to complete the routine (IIRC this was a recommendation from Mark Twight in Extreme Alpinism) and increased the number of sets from 5 to 6 (I believe Scott recommended 6 sets but TFNA mentions 4-6..?).

    I appreciate the goal is maximum recruitment so I presume increasing weight is best but guidance would be useful.

  • Inactive
    Anonymous on #30890

    For max strength/max recruitment do NOT decrease the rest between sets. You want to be fully recovered for the next set so you can lift more weight. My normal way of doing this is to increase the number of sets while reducing the number of reps/set and increasing the weight in each set. An example with Pull-ups:

    Set 1:4reps with 35lb added
    3min rest
    Set 2:4reps with 35lb added
    3 min rest
    Set 3:4reps with 35lb added
    3 min rest
    Set 4:4reps with 40lb added
    3 min rest
    Set 5:3reps with 45lb added
    3min rest
    Set 6:2reps with 50lb added
    3 min rest
    Set 7:1rep with 55lb added

    I have this method to be quite effective for increasing max strength.


    Anonymous on #30912

    @mariner_9: Why do you want to make it harder? What multiples of bodyweight are your lifts currently?

    For example, for a deadlift, if you’re already at 2-3x bodyweight, then you’re strong enough. You’ll get more bang for your buck with a different exercise or focus.

    For technical climbing, I don’t have any reference metrics, but finding a table of strength-versus-climbing-grade* would be a good way to determine what you should work on next. And it may not be strength.

    Know what I mean?

    * has some good info on this.

    Mariner_9 on #30925

    Thank you both for your replies.

    @Scott Johnston: this is the ascending sets concept from the recent article. I’ve never used this but I’m open to trying it.

    @Scott Semple:
    – I’m training for hiking and splitboarding so my strength training is focused on legs (I do also include Scott’s Killer Core Routine as part of my strength training). I do some scrambling but no climbing and no ski (or snowboard) mountaineering
    – The leg exercises I do at present are box step-ups, single-leg squats and lunges. Weight is up to 35% of bodyweight in each hand. In between each leg exercise, I do some upper body exercises so I’m active while my legs rest
    – As to why I want to make the workout harder – simply because it now feels easy and I don’t want to plateau as I think – perhaps incorrectly – that I could benefit from being stronger

    Anonymous on #30930

    Okay, sounds good. The reason I asked is that it can be tempting to maximize strength when other things are lower-hanging fruit.

    As Scott J. told me once upon a time when I was over-focused on strength:

    You’re trying to be good skimo racing, not deadlifting.

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