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Training With Maximal Weights

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The well-known strength and bodybuilding coach Charles Poliquin is very specific when it comes to using maximal weights. He writes about professional bodybuilders who cannot bench 300 pounds if their life depended on it saying that the only way to get REAL strength is to train with heavy weights.

Charles explains that most bodybuilders seem to forget about the nervous system and that the CNS (central nervous system) and the muscular system are directly connected. He says that training with the maximum amount of weight that you can lift will result in intra-muscular training, which will use more motor units or muscle fibres in any given cross-section of your muscle tissue.

Charles explains in his Neuromuscular Basis for Maximal Weight Training that you will be able to achieve the following if you train with the maximum amount of weight that you can lift on a regular basis:

Increased neural drive to muscle

Increased synchronization of motor units

Increased activation of contractile apparatus

Decreased inhibition of protective mechanisms of muscle

He strongly advocates the 5 X 5 training system that was originally developed by Reg Park that continues to get impressive results with his clients. However he also stresses the importance of cycling and constantly changing your workouts so that you can always avoid slipping into a training plateau.

The key to avoiding the dreaded training plateau is to always increase the weights that you lift by a maximum of only 10% but preferably only 5%. Gaining strength is based on progressive resistance and does not happen overnight.

When training with maximal weights you need to make sure that you are ALWAYS using the correct form or training technique so as to avoid injuries. It is the same as using momentum, which is something that needs to be avoided at all costs and to use the weight to be lifted by your muscles and not momentum.

Another way to train with maximal weights is to use the 6 X 4 training method, which is doing 6 sets of 4 reps using 80% to 85% of your 1RM. So you would start off doing 6 sets of only 2 reps and then work it until you can do 4 reps and do 6 sets like this. You need to be patient with this type of training and not to push too hard too quickly.

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