6 Mistakes that Minimize Your Max
Striving to improve your one-rep max in one of the major strength lifts? Don’t let these common errors derail your efforts.
Mistake #1: Expecting to make fast, uninterrupted progress.
As you train, your strength may initially advance more rapidly than your ability to execute proper technique, and you may actually need to dial back on your weight for a while to focus on form. You can’t always expect to just add weight or reps without plateaus in your progress. A cycle is progressive. It’s designed to build up your strength over time.
Mistake #2: Only performing the lift you want to PR.
If you want to PR your snatch, you can’t just snatch all day, every day. You need [to perform] auxiliary exercises to strengthen the components of the lift. Buttress your training with movements that hit the same muscle groups and stimulate similar muscle recruitment patterns as the lift you’re targeting. For instance, do hack squats and lunges to bolster a squat, and overhead squats and barbell pulls from the floor for a snatch.
Mistake #3: Failing to focus.
Try to do too much all at once and everything will suffer. Pick one or two exercises at most to focus on as your primary training goal. Those should take priority in designing the rest of your program. For instance, if you’re working on your squat max, put your leg/lower-body training day first in your split, after a rest day. Your squat should be done first after a warm-up, when you’re strongest. And the intensity for the rest of your lifts and body parts should be scaled back accordingly to allow for optimal recovery of the main targets.
Mistake #4: Doing higher-rep sets in your pre-max training mode.
If you want to hit a one-rep max you’ve got to progressively move toward that rep range. And though you might start with heavy five-rep deadlifts at the beginning of a cycle, you should phase into lower-rep sets to prepare for your ultimate goal. There is deeper muscular recruitment required to hit a one-rep max than a 10-rep-max set,” explains..”
Mistake #5: Ignoring flexibility training.
If you lack mobility in any lift, you’ll be limited in what you can ultimately achieve, or you’ll develop strength in a shortened range of motion. To that end, you’ll want to do dynamic stretching pre-workout and stretch and foam roll afterward, paying extra attention to your trouble spots such as the hips, hamstrings, calves and shoulders.
Mistake #6: Skipping active recovery.
True overtraining is rare, but it’s important to be aware of the signs. Soreness and fatigue, which are normal effects of training, should not be confused with loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping and racing resting heart rate, which indicate a more serious overtraining issue. Consider recovery modes such as sauna, massage, swimming, and even recreational games like table tennis or basketball, as part of an active recovery plan to prevent overtraining and avoid injury.