I was on Youtube the other day looking at some videos of people hurting themselves at the gym… because well… I can. The one thing I noticed: Most people injure themselves trying to max out.
If you are going to risk getting hurt, then why do it? As someone that likes to find all the greatest, and newest trends in Sports Medicine, I have learned that maxing out is the equivalent of starting a fire rubbing 2 sticks together.
How do I Max Out?
You don’t. But if you don’t know what this is I will explain. You take the heaviest amount of weight that you think you will be able to pick up. You then try to lift that weight. If the particular exercise you are doing is something like bench press you will get the weight off the rack, then drop it on yourself. So if you don’t have a spotter… you are stuck. Especially if you have collared your weights.
If you are doing it with deadlifts, it can be just as bad. Not because you get trapped, but because you are using every muscle in your body to lift a weight. Thus, all of your blood is flowing to these muscles. This conveniently creates an environment where you don’t get oxygen to your brain, and you pass out. Everyone filming you perform this impressive feat then puts your epic workout fail on youtube… and I post it on my blog.
Why Max Out?
Well, no good reason. The only reason people max out is because they want to brag about how much weight they can do. That is the only reason. Which is a stupid reason to do anything.
We have all heard the story about the farmer that took a baby calf and picked him up every day. When the calf was first born he was able to lift it over his head. As time progressed, he was able to lift a full grown bull over his head.
Obviously, we know that it wouldn’t work that way, but the theory is… as the cow weighs more the farmer will get stronger. Except the reality is… the farmer won’t get stronger. Because maxing out does nothing.
The ‘Max Out’ Alternative
How can you know how strong you are if you never max out? Your 5 rep max!
This is the amount of weight you can do 5 reps of any exercise. Let’s use bench press as an example.
If you can press it 4 times and no more, that isn’t the weight. If you can do it 6 times… again that isn’t the weight. 5 is the sweet spot. This will also push your body enough to get strong enough. If the farmer would have lifted the cow above his head 5 sets of 5 reps every day…. he would probably be strong enough to lift the cow to this day.
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