There are countless reasons why people exercise. Whether it’s to lose weight, tone up your muscles or get a more lean, athletic figure, they all have one thing in common. In order to train effectively, you have to know your maximum strength.
Why is knowing your maximum strength so important?
Why you need to know your maximum strength is obvious. In order to make as much progress as possible with your training, it’s essential to train with the right weights. Your maximum strength is important because it can help you find the right balance. If you use weights that are too light, you won’t see the effects of your workouts, but if you use weights that are too heavy, your risks of injuring yourself dramatically increase.
So that this doesn’t happen, there is a way to determine what the maximum weight is that you should be using for individual exercises. For this dynamic-progressive maximum strength test, all you need is another person to support and spot you, preferably somebody who you are used to training with or is familiar with weight training themselves.
How does the maximum strength test work?
1. Be sure to warm up properly and make sure you know the movement sequence of the exercise for which you are trying to find your ideal weight. This is to make sure you know how to do it properly and thus minimise your risk of injury.
2. Start with a weight that you are sure you can do up to 20 reps with. Then do a set of eight reps to start off.
3. Now you will need to increase the load as you progress from set to set. It is also important to give yourself sufficient time to rest between sets so that you have enough strength and energy to keep going.
4. From set to set, you will be constantly increasing the load of what you are lifting. At first, you can add quite a bit of weight each time, but the closer you get to your limit, the smaller the weight gaps should become.
5. You should also be lowering the number of reps you’re doing per set. This will go from the first set of eight reps, to your final set, in which you can only do one.
6. As you approach your limit, you will be able to determine the ideal weight that you think you can handle for your final maximum strength set.
7. If you are able to do just one rep with this weight, you have found your maximum weight! But in the meantime, there are a few things to watch out for.
Your training partner is extremely important. They are not only there to help you in case of an emergency, but they can also help you keep your form and therefore keep you safe.
Maintaining proper form is more important than just doing the movements ‘regardless of the consequences', which can be very dangerous for the area you are training!
And finally, as soon as you have finished this test, you shouldn’t train this muscle group or area again during the rest of your workout. Even if you feel like you could keep going, it’s better to leave it for the day. After all, performing a maximum strength test puts the body under an enormous amount of strain.
An ongoing process
Of course, if you exercise regularly, you will see improvements and your maximum weight will increase as a result. Just doing one of these tests is therefore not enough. So that you are always training with the best weights, you should consider performing this test regularly. And as an added bonus, you will also get to see just how much progress you’re making!
Do you fancy getting out of your stuffy, sweaty gym but still want to exercise? Why not give Calisthenics a try, which is an intense workout ideal for people of all ages!