Many of us go to the gym to build muscle, feel fitter and keep the weight off, although there is another component often overlooked by gym users which are getting stronger AND measuring it. You may increase the weight on sets of 10 and feel it’s easier to use weights you once did but the true test is maxing out on a lift. This is most commonly done on the big three; squat bench and deadlift, not so much bicep curls and exercises similar to that.
However, there is a lot that goes into testing your max lift and if you don’t know what you are doing it can be a dangerous activity so I will give you my top 5 tips on maxing out.
How To Max Out In The Gym
This goes above any other advice you will read; you must have correct form to be able to max out on any lift. Any flaw you have in your technique will be magnified by adding more weight than usual so even if “you’ve always done it that way” and it’s never hurt you before, there can be consequences. Video yourself and watch them back, watch Youtube tutorials or ask someone you know to help you check your form.
Maxing out can be a serious hazard if you take your safety for granted. It’s great to be confident and perform the rep but even the best lifters can fail, therefore you need to be prepared both physically and mentally. Squat racks are usually equipped with safety bars, I recommend you have spotters either side of you, just in case! Benching is probably the most dangerous exercise you can do if you’re working out alone, so make sure you’re fully equipped and you’re not alone.
✓ Use Equipment
Of course it is possible to max out with no equipment, however, I recommend using the tools available, that’s what they are there for! Weight belts, knee sleeves, knee wraps, wrist wraps and even elbow sleeves are all great accessories which you could use to stay safe throughout your lifts. They aren’t a necessity, but if you have been previously injured, or worried about overtraining – they’re most definitely recommended.
✓ Get Warm
With any activity you do, any sport or any workout you need to make sure your body is prepared for what lies ahead. With maximum effort lifting, you need to warm-up efficiently, using the correct muscles and progressively. Completing a max deadlift will place a strain on your hamstrings, quads, lower back, calves, forearms, traps, delts and your code, all in order to lift efficiently. So, with that being the case, the previously mentioned muscles must be warm and ready to push/pull, failure to do so could result in injury.
✓ Scream, Shout & Let It All Out
Maxing out is never going to be comfortable. If it was going to be easy – we probably wouldn’t do it! Firstly ensure that you breathe throughout heavy squats, secondly, play some music which will motivate you and lats but not least, rest between sets! Don’t be scared, if you have followed the other 4 tips in this article you should be fearless in your endeavour to hit a new best lift. Good luck!
Take Home Message
Follow these 5 top tips and you’ll be making record lifts in no-time. Max effort lifting is an advanced technique and I honestly recommend working higher reps until you are confident in your ability to really push the envelope. If you are at that level, then take care of these 5 areas and go smash some PR.