How to Apply the Max Effort Method

In my article, How to Get Strong, I described in detail the three methods used to develop strength. Max effort training is the absolute king when it comes to developing strength. Let’s review the protocol used to implement the Max Effort method.
-Use the Max Effort method 2x a week. 1 movement on upper body days and 1 movement on lower body days
-Start with the bar and make 10% jumps till you reach your working sets. Once you reach these sets, make smaller jumps until you perform 4-6 total reps above 90% of your 1RM
-Rotate the movements every 1-3 weeks.
-Do not perform your Max Effort lower body sessions the day before or after your Max effort upper body sessions.
So now that we know how to use the Max Effort method, we need to understand what movements to use. For the upper body we always will use a straight bar or a specialty bar. We never use any dumbbells for max effort training. The goal during Max Effort training is to recruit as many motor units as possible. Barbells do a much better job at doing this than dumbbells.
-flat bench
-incline bench
-close grip bench
-incline close grip bench
-Floor press
For even more variation, specialty bars can be used including: thick bar, Swiss bar, and cambered bar. These bars are great for many reasons. Thick bars and Swiss bars take a ton of pressure off the shoulders and offer great variety compared to the straight barbell. The cambered bar is great for increasing the range of motion on the bench but can also increase stress on the shoulder joint. Since most gyms do not have these specialty bars, a straight barbell is perfectly fine.
Many of my baseball players do not perform Max Effort bench pressing with a straight barbell. This is a debate for another time but when push comes to shove, there are better ways to improve their athletic performance. Since the thick bar and Swiss bar takes a lot of pressure off the shoulders, we will occasionally use them for Max Effort lifts. Instead, for our baseball athletes we usually perform Max Effort chin ups working up to 3-5 rep max). The same method can be used for anyone suffering from elbow or shoulder injuries.
Lower body lifts include variations of the squat and deadlift. Squats are the king of all lifts. And no movement will ever put slabs of muscle on you like the deadlift. Here are the best lifts to use:
-free squat
-box squat
-front squat
-box front squat
-zercher squat
-Straight bar deadlift
Trap bar deadlift
Again for lower body lifts, you can use different barbells. The key to Max Effort training is to get really good at a couple of movements. Beginners should use 3 week waves followed by a deload. The more advanced you are the shorter the waves. Now go get under the bar and get strong as hell!

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