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    Max-OT for Dummies

    Max-OT (Maximum - Overload Training) is one of the most popular routines out there, and it can give great gains in strength and size. This article will put in simple and short terms what exactly Max-OT is, what the training looks like, and what to expect from it. I've seen both beginners and experienced lifters gain well on Max-OT splits, so don't doubt it.

    Who Should Use Max-OT?

    Anybody who is looking for a nice blend of strength and size, while keeping gym time short should do Max-OT. Max-OT also works very well for beginning lifters, but is not specific to just beginners, there are plenty of very big and very strong fellows that use the Max-OT way of training. Max-OT is also great if you are a person who complains that they can't workout because they "have no time." Max-OT would work perfect for you, because the workouts only last 30-40 minutes. Regardless, you still shouldn't have the mind-set that you have "no time" to workout, anyone can make time if they are dedicated enough.


    The Principles of Max-OT

    We'll start by listing the principles of Max-OT, as directly stated from the Max-OT Handbook :

    1. Each workout should last 30-40 minutes.
    2. Train only 1-2 muscle groups per workout.
    3. Do 6 to 9 total heavy sets per muscle group.
    4. Do 4 to 6 reps per set.
    5. Rest 2-3 minutes between sets.
    6. Train each muscle group once every 5-7 days.
    7. Take a 1 week break from training every 8 to 10 weeks.


    The steps above are quite simple. The theory behind Max-OT is that you must constantly overload the muscle, and it will keep growing. You will be using the rep range of 4-6, and will be training to positive failure each set. Your goal each week is to keep increasing the weight, while maintaining the same intensity and form. The workouts are short and to the point, but will blast your muscles into new growth. As long as you follow each of the principles, you will be training the Max-OT way correctly, and will reap the benefits of it. To give you a little further understanding, I'll break it down a little bit more.

    1. Each workout should last 30-40 minutes.

    Your goal for each workout is to get into the gym, blast your muscles with overloading weights, and get out. We all know that muscle isn't actually built in the gym, it's built during recovery out of the gym, so it's time to put that idea into use. Each workout should be short and sweet, but you need to put forth 100% for that 30-40 minutes, no wimping out because you're "tired".

    2. Train only 1-2 muscle groups per workout.

    This step goes hand-in-hand with step one. You don't want to spend 2 hours in the gym blasting every body part, you want to keep the workouts short and intense. Only train1-2 muscle groups per workout, and following the other steps, your workout will be simple and effective.

    3. Do 6 to 9 total heavy sets per muscle group.

    Again, we are going for overload here, not volume. You want to blast your muscles with a few sets, going to complete concentric failure. Keeping the volume low and intense will ensure optimum release of growth factors, so you're not going for fatigue here.

    4. Do 4 to 6 reps per set.

    This is one of the main things that defines Max-OT. You'll be using 4-6 reps on almost all exercises, there are a few that are trained using higher reps, but for the most part it's all 4-6. You should hit failure during this range. The weight should be heavy enough to stay under 6 reps if you go to failure, but not heavy where you will only be able to do 1-3 reps.

    5. Rest 2-3 minutes between sets.

    With the intensity level you're training at, you're going to need the 2-3 minutes of rest in between each set. You need to let your muscles rest and energize them fully for the next set in which you will blast them to failure again.

    6. Train each muscle group once every 5-7 days.

    After each session, your muscles are going to be totally damaged. You need to give them plenty of time to rest and grow back bigger and stronger, so that next time you workout you won't damage them again. Well the next workout you have, you'll be increasing the weights and will damage them again. Your muscles are going to need at least 5-7 days of rest after each intense workout.

    7. Take a 1 week break from training every 8 to 10 weeks.

    This should be done with every training program, it is not specific to just Max-OT. As you keep lifting hard, eventually your body isn't going to be able to handle the constant training, and you'll start to over train, which actually can make you lose muscle. Now losing muscle is the last thing you want, so you need to give your muscles a break. After 8 to 10 weeks of solid training, take a week of from lifting, and try to enjoy it (although some of you I know will hate not lifting for a week). After that week of rest, you'll be able to start lifting heavy again and make some fresh gains.

    How to Warm Up for Max-OT Sets

    Warming up the Max-OT way is the most efficient way to prepare yourself for a brutally heavy set. Many people warm up wrong, and this affects their sets, even if they may not notice it. When warming up, most people spend too many sets with too much weight. This fatigues the muscle too early, and it will not be able to work to it's maximum capacity. You also are asking for injury when you start a warm up with a heavy weight, it's not a warm up then. When you warm up, you should just simply warm up. A warm up is meant to increase blood flow to that muscle, and prepare it for the heavy weights that you'll be using. You should not be tired or feel fatigued at all from any of your warm up sets. Below is an example of how to warm up for a bench press of 285lbs for 4-6 reps :

    135 x 12 (warm up)
    135 x 10 (warm up)
    185 x 6 (warm up)
    225 x 3 (weight acclimation)
    255 x 1 (weight acclimation)
    285 x 4-6 (work sets)


    Max-OT Approved Exercises

    With Max-OT training, you're going to be overloading your muscles as much as possible. You don't do this with isolation movements, you do it with compound movements. Compound movements will allow you to use the heaviest weight possible. Below are lists of approved Max-OT exercises. If an exercise is not on the list, then it probably doesn't overload the muscle as much as any of the other exercises on the list.

    Approved Legs Exercises

    Squat
    Leg Press
    Lunges
    Stiff Leg Deadlift
    Leg Curl
    Leg Extension


    Approved Chest Exercises

    Barbell Bench Press
    Barbell Incline Bench Press
    Flat Dumbbell Bench Press
    Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
    Decline Barbell Bench Press
    Dips


    Approved Biceps Exercises

    Straight Bar Curls
    EZ Bar Curls
    Alternate Dumbbell Curls
    Cable Curls


    Approved Upper Back Exercises

    Pull-ups
    Pull Downs to the Front
    Close-Grip V Bar Pull Downs
    Seated Cable Row
    Barbell Row
    T-Bar Row
    One Arm Dumbbell Row


    Approved Lower Back Exercises

    Deadlift
    Good Morning
    Weighted Hyper-extension


    Approved Triceps Exercises

    Skull Crushers
    Cable Press Downs
    Close Grip Bench Press
    Seated Triceps Extension
    Behind the Back Cable Press Down
    Behind the Back Dumbbell Press Down


    Approved Deltoid Exercises

    Military Press
    Dumbbell Shoulder Press
    Dumbbell Side Laterals
    Dumbbell Bent Over Laterals
    Dumbbell Front Raise


    Approved Traps Exercises

    Barbell Upright Rows
    Barbell Shrugs


    Approved Calf Exercises

    Standing Calf Raise
    Seated Calf Raise
    45 Degree Calf Press
    Hack Machine Calf Raise


    Approved Forearms Exercises

    Wrist Curls
    Reverse Wrist Curls
    Standing Dumbbell Wrist Curls


    Approved Abdominal Exercises

    Lying Leg Raise
    Vertical Knee Raise
    Crunch
    Cable Crunch





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    What Does a Max-OT Split Look Like?

    So now you know the principles of the program, how to properly warm up, and what exercises to be used. Now it's time to take a look at what the actual training looks like, and it's nothing complicated. It's fully customizable for you to set up based on your schedule. Just make sure that you hit every body part, and that you abide to the 7 principles. In case you still aren't sure on what you should be doing, I'll lay out a few splits from the Max-OT Handbook.


    Routine A


    Monday - Legs and Calves

    Squat - 3x4-6
    45 Degree Leg Press - 2x4-6
    Stiff Leg Deadlift - 2x6

    Standing Calf Raise - 3x6-8


    Tuesday - Chest and Forearms

    Incline Bench Press - 3x4-6
    Barbell Bench Press - 3x4-6
    Decline Bench Press - 1x4-6

    Barbell Wrist Curls - 3x8-10
    Reverse Wrist Curls - 3x6-8


    Wednesday - Back and Traps

    Bent Over Barbell Row - 2x4-6
    Close Grip V-Bar Pull Down - 2x4-6
    Pull-ups - 2x4-6
    Cable Row - 1x4-6

    Deadlift - 2x4-6
    Barbell Shrug - 1x4-6


    Thursday - Shoulders and Triceps

    Dumbbell Press - 3x4-6
    Military Press - 2x4-6
    Dumbbell Side Laterals - 2x4-6

    Lying Skull Crushers - 2x4-6
    Triceps Press Downs - 2x4-6
    Seated Overhead Triceps Extension - 1x4-6


    Friday - Biceps and Abs

    Straight Bar Curl - 2x4-6
    Standing Dumbbell Curl - 2x4-6
    EZ Bar Curl - 1x4-6

    Leg Raise (Weighted) - 2x12-15
    Cable Crunch - 2x8-10


    Routine B (Jeff Willet's Max-OT Split)


    Monday - Chest and Triceps

    Flat Barbell Bench Press - 2x4-6
    Incline Barbell Bench Press - 2x4-6
    Incline Dumbbell Press - 1x4-6

    1 Arm Overhead Dumbbell Press 1x4-6
    Dumbbell Kickback - 1x4-6
    Cable Press Down - 1x4-6
    Lying Skull Crusher - 1x4-6


    Tuesday - Legs

    Leg Extension (just for warm up) - 2x10
    Squat - 3x4-6
    Leg Press - 2x4-6
    Lunges - 2x4-6
    Stiff Leg Deadlifts - 2x4-6


    Wednesday - Back and Biceps

    Pull-ups - *x50 (as many sets as it takes to get to 50 reps)
    Barbell Row - 1x4-6
    Pull Downs - 1x4-6
    Low Pulley Row (V Bar) - 1x4-6
    Low Pulley Row (straight bar) - 1x4-6

    Alternating Dumbbell Curl - 1x4-6
    Straight Bar Curl - 1x4-6


    Thursday - Shoulders, Traps, and Neck

    Military Press - 2x4-6
    Dumbbell Side Laterals - 2x4-6
    Dumbbell Bent Laterals - 2x4-6
    Shrugs - 2x4-6
    Low Pulley Row - 2x4-6

    Neck Flexion - 2x6-8
    Neck Side Flexion - 2x6-8
    Neck Extension - 2x6-8


    Friday - Calves, Abs, and Forearms

    Seated Calf Raise - 2x4-6
    Standing Calf Raise - 2x4-6
    45 Degree Calf Press - 2x4-6

    Leg Raise - 2x20
    Crunch - 2x20
    Side Crunch - 2x20

    Wrist Curl - 2x4-6
    Reverse Wrist Curl - 2x4-6


    Routine C


    Monday - Legs and Calves

    Squat - 3x4-6
    Leg Press - 2x4-6
    Stiff Leg Deadlift - 2x6

    Standing Calf Raise - 2x6-8
    45 Degree Calf Press - 2x6-8


    Tuesday - Arms and Abs

    Straight Bar Curl - 2x4-6
    Alternate Dumbbell Curl - 2x4-6
    Cable Curl - 1x6

    Lying Skull Crushers - 2x4-6
    Cable Press Down - 2x6
    Dumbbell Kick-back - 1x6

    Wrist Curl - 2x6-8
    Dumbbell Wrist Curl - 1x6-8

    Leg Raise - 2x12-15
    Crunch - 2x8-10
    Cable Crunch - 1x8-10


    Wednesday - Shoulders and Traps

    Military Press - 3x4-6
    Dumbbell Press - 2x4-6
    Dumbbell Side Laterals - 2x6-8

    Barbell Shrugs - 2x4-6
    Upright Rows - 2x4-6


    Thursday - Back

    Cable Pull Downs - 3x4-6
    Seated Cable Row - 3x4-6
    Barbell Bent Row - 2x4-6

    Good Morning - 2x4-6
    Hyper-extension (Weighted) - 2x4-6


    Friday - Chest

    Barbell Bench Press - 3x4-6
    Barbell Incline Bench Press - 3x4-6
    Weighted Dips - 2x4-6

    The Pros Use Max-OT

    Just to prove that Max-OT isn't just for beginners, here are two bodybuilders and Max-OT advocates, Skip Lacour and Jeff Willet.

     

    Wrap Up

    Max-OT is a tough, solid training program that will be useful whether you're bulking or cutting. Stick to the training, eat right, ensure a good amount of sleep, and Max-OT will take you places that you've never been before.


    To get access to a heap of workouts - AST Sports Science - High-Performance Sports Nutrition Supplements - as I said in another thread you will prob have to sign up - its worth it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max-OT


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    Maybe a sticky @shrek @Admin


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    I gave this a go a few years back when I didn't have enough training experience under my belt. I ended up giving myself some elbow issues from memory However, I really do like the idea of Max OT and I intend on giving it a run again in the future. A friend of mine has had very good results with it.

    By the way - do they discuss how the program works for women?


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    Great post thanks. I really like the look of this workout. I got a few questions

    First, is this the way the first part of a chest workout should look? Ive entered my weights.
    Bench:
    112.5x6 fail 7th
    112.5x5 fail 6th
    112.5x4 fail 5th

    Incline bench
    85x6,5,4 (failing next reps)

    Dips - bodyweight +20kgx5 reps fail 6th rep.

    On incline bench I could normally do 95x6,5,4 failing the next reps but after 3 sets of failing on flat bench I would have to drop the weights. Same with dips, normally it would be 30kg. Is this the right idea?

    The next week do I try to jack up the weights by 2.5kg or some small increment, or only once I hit 7 reps on my first set?

    2) Does this work well for the natural, just "post beginner" person (benching 100kg+ but not doing 140kg+). Anyone got any good results who trains with just creatine/protein.... ?

    Again great post.
    1rms: BP: 140kg touch'n go, MP: 85kg, Weighted Chin ups:60kg+104kg bodyweight. Squats/deadlifts: Injured, maybe 20kg each now (including bar weight).


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    Quote Originally Posted by jj80 View Post
    Great post thanks. I really like the look of this workout. I got a few questions

    First, is this the way the first part of a chest workout should look? Ive entered my weights.
    Bench:
    112.5x6 fail 7th
    112.5x5 fail 6th
    112.5x4 fail 5th

    Incline bench
    85x6,5,4 (failing next reps)

    Dips - bodyweight +20kgx5 reps fail 6th rep.

    On incline bench I could normally do 95x6,5,4 failing the next reps but after 3 sets of failing on flat bench I would have to drop the weights. Same with dips, normally it would be 30kg. Is this the right idea?

    The next week do I try to jack up the weights by 2.5kg or some small increment, or only once I hit 7 reps on my first set?

    2) Does this work well for the natural, just "post beginner" person (benching 100kg+ but not doing 140kg+). Anyone got any good results who trains with just creatine/protein.... ?

    Again great post.
    Jeff Willet who wrote this claims natural status, his latest workout is PHAT which is ALOT more volume


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    Quote Originally Posted by judgey View Post
    I gave this a go a few years back when I didn't have enough training experience under my belt. I ended up giving myself some elbow issues from memory However, I really do like the idea of Max OT and I intend on giving it a run again in the future. A friend of mine has had very good results with it.

    By the way - do they discuss how the program works for women?
    Women would just do the samething - no need to change it.

    Quote Originally Posted by jj80 View Post
    Great post thanks. I really like the look of this workout. I got a few questions

    First, is this the way the first part of a chest workout should look? Ive entered my weights.
    Bench:
    112.5x6 fail 7th
    112.5x5 fail 6th
    112.5x4 fail 5th

    Incline bench
    85x6,5,4 (failing next reps)

    Dips - bodyweight +20kgx5 reps fail 6th rep.

    On incline bench I could normally do 95x6,5,4 failing the next reps but after 3 sets of failing on flat bench I would have to drop the weights. Same with dips, normally it would be 30kg. Is this the right idea?

    The next week do I try to jack up the weights by 2.5kg or some small increment, or only once I hit 7 reps on my first set?

    2) Does this work well for the natural, just "post beginner" person (benching 100kg+ but not doing 140kg+). Anyone got any good results who trains with just creatine/protein.... ?

    Again great post.
    Yes it will work great for beginners/naturals/on gear/advanced etc - been using this program - or the core values of it for the last 10 years.

    I look at the rep/set range very simply - warm up - increase the weight - get to a weight where you can do 6 (failure) and then increase to where you can do 5-4 - its fairly simple - dont over-think it to much. If I get to 6 i'll increase - so working sets would be 6/4-5 = 2 working sets - sometimes 3 i.e 6/5/4 - but I keep pretty much every exercise to 1-2 working sets.
    Last edited by Rugby88; 09-12-2013 at 05:51 PM.


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    look likes a good program might give it a go sometime in the future.


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    Works well, I use something similar when im trying for more mass, with a few tweaks here and there of course for what works for me.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Rugby88 View Post
    I look at the rep/set range very simply - warm up - increase the weight - get to a weight where you can do 6 (failure) and then increase to where you can do 5-4 - its fairly simple - dont over-think it to much. If I get to 6 i'll increase - so working sets would be 6/4-5 = 2 working sets - sometimes 3 i.e 6/5/4 - but I keep pretty much every exercise to 1-2 working sets.
    If you get to 5 reps and know for a fact the 6th isn't possible (5 was a real grinder) do you still go for it in order to concentrically fail? On every work set?
    1rms: BP: 140kg touch'n go, MP: 85kg, Weighted Chin ups:60kg+104kg bodyweight. Squats/deadlifts: Injured, maybe 20kg each now (including bar weight).


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