Why the 1 Rep. Max (1RM)?

When we ask you to build to a max for the day, we are asking what is the most weight you can lift today for 1 rep. for a given movement. This is also called absolute strength because a 1RM demonstrates how much force you’re able to produce. The more weight you need to move, the more force you need to do it. The more strength you gain, the more maximal force you can produce. It’s also a nice objective measure with which we can use to judge intensity (in this case intensity = load) from week to week. As we spend more time under heavier loads near our 1 rep. max, we begin to adapt to those stresses and thus become able to move more weight (i.e. create more force). Believe it or not, lifting heavy is a skill. This is why we had a small prep. phase before this “pre-test”. Instead of just going right to it, we wanted to expose you to some heavy loads first. This way, your first exposure to a heavy load wasn’t a maximum effort! By testing these lifts at this point, we will have good baseline data with which to use during subsequent weeks.

During these next couple of weeks we will be mainly focusing our absolute strength work around the squat, deadlift, and push press. It’s important to recognize that this is high intensity. Not necessarily high intensity like “Fran” where you have a lot of work to do really fast, but intense because the load you’re lifting is HEAVY. Expect it to feel heavy (that’s okay!), but expect to see low volume reps (5 or less reps at a time) and sets. With that being said, recognize how you feel week to week. There will likely be a time when performance dips down, that’s OKAY! This does not mean it’s not working. It often means we’re in supercompensation mode, which likely means that you’re adapting to this stress. However, this process isn’t PREDICTABLE because we are INDIVIDUALS. We CANNOT control EVERY lifestyle factor that also imposes stress on us plus what we do in the gym. With that in mind, if lifting heavy isn’t in the cards due to illness, injury, exhaustion, etc. then DON’T – be smart. You will not LOSE gains. ADDITIONALLY, if the movements we are using are NEW to you (i.e. have been doing it for less than 3 months), then FOCUS less on the weight and more on the technique. It doesn’t make sense to go really heavy on a movement that is new to you.

Lastly, given the level of intensity we will be at, we will not be doing a linear progression (adding load each week indefinitely until it’s not possible to do) every week for each lift. This means that each week, the intensity will vary. The idea behind this is to make sure we’re not overwhelming ourselves. An example may be the following:

 

 

Week 1

Monday

 

A. Waveladder Backsquat:

Wave 1:

80% x3

80% x4

 

Wave 2:

85% x3

85% x4

Wednesday

 

A. Waveload Deadlift:

60% x3

70% x3

80% x3

65% x3

75% x3

85% x3

Thursday

 

A. Push press:

2×2 @ 85%

2×2 @ 90%

Week 2

Monday

 

A. Waveladder Backsquat:

Wave 1:

87% x2

87% x3

Wave 2:

90% x2

90% x3

Wednesday

 

A. Waveload Deadlift:

75% x2

85% x2

80% x2

90% x2

 

Thursday

 

A. Push Press:

3×3 @ 75%

 

The goal isn’t overcomplicate things, but to vary our exposure to heavy loads because our systems recognize “heavy” regardless of the movement. Therefore, recovery from these sessions needs to be accounted for in the week.

We’re quite excited for this next month and we hope you enjoy the process as much as the outcome. We coaches are here to guide and support you as we go through these cycles. Feel free to approach us with any feedback, comments, or questions. Here we go!!