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Interesting article about Max-OT

Discussion in 'Weight Training/Bulking' started by peter, Feb 3, 2004.

  1. peter

    peter Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 2004
    Likes Received:

    Dear Tom,

    I just got done reading your latest Q & A about rep ranges in your July 2003 "Ask Tom" column. My question is: I know you have respect for Skip Lacour, Paul Cribb and AST since I noticed you mentioned them in a positive fashion before.

    They say your reps should only be in the 4-6 range; no more, no less. I believe they state, "Any more reps will actually cause muscle breakdown," if I remembered correctly. I’m sure you've read their information and reasoning behind why no more than 6 reps.

    For someone like myself, who isn't is as knowledgeable as you and others, it leads me to confusion to know which way is right. You both make very sound and compelling arguments. Can you help me with this?

    Christopher Bradley


    MAX-OT, an acronym for Maximum Overload Training, is the brainchild of Paul Delia, who is the owner of the AST sports supplement company. The program is FREE and can be viewed on the AST website simply by registering your email and personal information on their sign up form.

    Why do they give away an entire training program for free? Probably for the same reason Bill Phillips gave away his Sports Supplement Review book – to build a list of people who will hopefully, buy their products in the future.

    MAX-OT is based on a very rigid set of parameters including the following:

    4 - 6 reps per set
    6 – 9 sets per body part
    1 or 2 muscle groups per workout per day
    2 – 3 minutes rest between sets
    30 - 40 minutes per workout
    Each muscle group worked once every 5 to 7 days
    Take each set to positive failure, but don’t do forced reps
    1 week layoff every 10 weeks

    As you can see, there is some leeway in these recommendations, but not a lot. The AST website cautions, "You must follow these rules exactly as they are presented."

    What do I think of these rules and parameters? I think they’re great. MAX-OT is a solid training program. Totally, 100% sound principles for gaining mass and strength.


    Where these guys go wrong in my opinion is the same place Mike Mentzer and the super slow and HIT people went wrong: By saying "This is the ONLY way you should train," "Our way is the BEST way, “There is no other way to train,” “Don’t deviate,” yadda, yadda yadda.

    I believe this is an overly dogmatic and very limiting attitude. If you never remember anything else about bodybuilding and strength training, remember THIS:

    The body adapts to EVERYTHING! I mean absolutely everything, including a 4-6 rep range with 2-3 minute rest intervals.

    Strength coach Charles Staley likes to say, "The best program is the one you’re not on." Kind of funny and ironic, but if you look at it in light of your body's remarkable ability to adapt to ANY training stimulus, then his statement is 100% correct.

    Almost EVERY training program works. If that weren’t true then ONLY bodybuilders using MAX OT or whatever is "the best way of the day" would be champions. The catch is, NO PROGRAM works for long. Carefully planned variation and muscle confusion (not the same as “winging it”) are keys to bodybuilding success - right up there with progressive overload.

    I’ve used a 10 week cycle of MAX-OT training and seen good results from it. However, I don’t use MAX-OT training as my “standard” training method. I use all rep ranges, but I prefer the 6-10 rep range most of the time. I find that a 4-6 rep max increases my strength the most, but more easily leads to injuries and does NOT increase my size to the maximum degree. This probably has a lot to do with my fiber type makeup. Those bodybuilders with a high proportion of fast twitch muscle fiber will respond beautifully to the 4-6 rep range, while others without such optimal genetics will probably not.

    Not to downplay Skip Lacour’s remarkable achievements one bit – he is a great champion - but he is obviously a genetically gifted “fast twitch animal.” One look at his training videos will confirm this. How many bodybuilders do you know who bench 400-500 before contests?

    Rather than sitting at the feet of one guru who says, “It’s my way or the highway,” I would encourage you to learn from a wide variety of sources and experiment with a wide variety of training systems, including MAX-OT. Then draw your own conclusions about each system based strictly on actual, real world results. You may find one program your body is very well suited to and tend to gravitate towards that one most of the time. However, some training variables must always change in order for you to continue to make progress.

    For a more balanced view of training systems, I’d recommend you get your hands on everything Charles Poliquin has written pertaining to bodybuilding and strength training. Charles' work is superb. I believe his books called “Modern Trends in Strength training,” and “Winning The Arms Race,” are now available on Amazon. “The Poliquin Principles” was his first book, but I think it's out of print now. If you can track down a used copy on Amazon z-shops, e-bay or one of the other used bookstores online, GRAB IT. Charles also wrote a brief but very enlightening chapter in Will Brink’s e-book, Muscle Building Nutrition.; you should check that one out too.

    What you’ll notice about Charles that’s different from other “gurus” is that like all intelligent and non-dogmatic coaches, he points that the human body adapts to any routine very quickly. Therefore, you must change your set, rep, tempo, and rest interval parameters frequently to avoid plateauing. That rules out staying exclusively with one rep range such as 4-6 reps 100% of the time.

    Charles says, and I agree, that every 6 workouts is a good time to change some variable - not necessarily your entire routine, but at least some exercises, or the same exercises with different sets, reps, tempos or rest intervals. I sometimes change after 3-4 workouts if I feel like continuing with that program will be non productive.

    Bodybuilders should use multiple rep ranges, and the optimal range for most body types is probably around 6-10 reps,with *some* work between 3-5 reps, and *some* work over 10 reps. As rep ranges change, by necessity, volume will also change. You can also change tempo, rest intervals, type of exercise, number of exercises, order of exercises, frequency and many other variables to induce new stimuli to your muscles.

    Of course, within ANY training program, regardless of the sets, reps, tempo, exercises, or whatever, the one common denominator of ALL successful programs is that each workout is progressive and builds on the last one.

    So by all means, go to the AST site at www.ast-ss.com, and check out the program. Try an 8-10 week training cycle of MAX OT… but then be sure to change to something different, and then something different, and so on.

    One last thing: Yes, I know it’s a supplement company web site, but there’s a lot of solid training and nutrition information offered there for free and for the most part, I feel that these guys do honest work by keeping psuedo science and unproven supplements such as liquid creatine, nitric oxide, ecdysterone, and methoxyflavone out of their product line.

    SCHTEEVIE Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2004
    Likes Received:
    good read
    thnx for posting that :tucool:
  3. karatetricker

    karatetricker Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Very interesting! What he outlined was my exact concerns and I'm glad to see they were warranted.

    I am starting Max-OT next week officially, so we'll see how it goes.
  4. brownguy

    brownguy Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Good read....I'm gonna have to rate this. :tu:

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