What's the difference between "training max" and "competition max"

Discussion in 'Barbell' started by Anna C, Oct 29, 2019.

  1. WhatWouldHulkDo

    WhatWouldHulkDo Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    @Anna C , I saw in your TSC video that you missed at 320#. Did that miss cost you any recovery time? Or did it just feel like business as usual?

    I had a miss at the TSC, and it cost me enough in fatigue that I needed to stay off the weights for a couple days. And I definitely have to work with a training max - basing weights on my competition max would absolutely beat me up.

    I'm wondering if there's a form component to this question. Just spitballing... one's best lift with "perfect" form is going to be limited by the weakest link in the chain. Allowing form to break may allow one to lift more by letting stronger muscles try to compensate for the weak links, at the risk/cost of doing some damage. I'm sure that's true for myself, and I am reminded of friends in college who tore pecs or quads attempting max lifts.

    So... if one is not meat-headed enough to allow a form break, perhaps there's little difference between a competition and training max. And, in this sense at least, perhaps a competition max is almost like cheating yourself.
    Philippe Geoffrion likes this.
  2. Timo Keskitalo

    Timo Keskitalo Triple-Digit Post Count

    Most programs go with 105% as new comp max. So it'd more likely be closer to 310 new record and 295 "training max" vs. 300 lbs anytime. I know what my choice would be.
    Anna C likes this.
  3. Anna C

    Anna C More than 5000 posts Elite Certified Instructor

    Good points, @WhatWouldHulkDo !

    I am not sure, on the 320 lb miss and recovery time. I was pretty wiped out for the rest of the weekend, but I'm sure the whole event plus travel was going to do that anyway. Monday's training I just took it easy and did S&S variation. Yesterday was my first deadlifting and I didn't feel like going heavy so I did an AMRAP set at 225 lb and got 17 reps. Crazy!

    Yes, I agree the form component does play in. Some people let form slip on a max attempt and generally that's fine. For me if I feel the low back start to round, something in my brain tends to abort the effort. Consciously I don't think it will hurt or injure me, but subconsciously it doesn't feel safe I guess. It suppose it could be right so I won't fight it. The good news is, that used to happen at 250 lbs... now it's at 300+. So I can keep moving that ceiling up.

    I would say I have a really good mind-body connection, body awareness, etc... even better now since the surgery and recovery, so perhaps that does work against me a bit as you describe. Or maybe it protects me. Either way, it can work to nullify the difference between training max and competition max.

    This has indeed been an enlightening thread!
  4. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor

    Programs that 105% as a new competition max are not for advanced athletes. The Surovetsky routine Pavel talks about - PTTP Pro, I think - he mentions this. If I had my copy handy, I'd give a quotation from there.

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  5. Philippe Geoffrion

    Philippe Geoffrion More than 500 posts

    Yes i recall this. Pavel remedied this issue by saying an elite athlete should make a realistic goal weight to plug in for the 105, and base the rest of the cycle based off of that chosen weight.
  6. Philippe Geoffrion

    Philippe Geoffrion More than 500 posts

    Indeed, a large part of this absolute strength vs training Max strength, is under the conditions of highly competitive environments, that extra strength is a result of basically overriding the body's protective mechanisms in order to complete the lift by any means necessary, something that shouldn't occur during training, but for the serious strength athlete, is acceptable in competition. A higher risk is involved here, however, and for someone who just wants to be stronger, perhaps the risk is not worth the reward and training at a safer intensity (training max) is optimal.
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  7. Timo Keskitalo

    Timo Keskitalo Triple-Digit Post Count

    So if you'd put 103% as your target weight, your 100% workout would really be something like 98% of max? Sounds reasonable.

    My point was about training max being only 92% of comp max, I don't believe it. It'd be 95+%. Hence I'd rather pursue the 310 than do 300 any day.
    Philippe Geoffrion likes this.
  8. Philippe Geoffrion

    Philippe Geoffrion More than 500 posts

    Yes. The Surovetsky cycle ends with 2 x 3 sets @ 105%. So an elite lifter with an 800 lbs DL might make 785 or so his 105 % as opposed to 840 x 2.

    A training max has different meanings to different folks I believe. I use it in the 5/3/1 sense, meaning it minimizes the actual training percentages are at 90% of a true max, thus you are always lifting a manageable weight, in the beginning at least. It's part of the whole start too light method, which I happen to agree with.
  9. Jeff Roark

    Jeff Roark Triple-Digit Post Count

    Anna- honestly I wouldn't waste much thought on this stuff. Just keep doing what you do, it seems to work.
    Anna C and Molson like this.
  10. Midlife Beast

    Midlife Beast Double-Digit Post Count

    I've completed exactly once, 20 years ago, and I was kind of still a newbie at the time. I'd never pulled more than 385 in the gym, but on my third DL attempt my coach said "you're doing 425" and I was surprised but it went right up. I think the difference was just the adrenaline of a meet environment, on an 18 year old nervous system.
  11. Bro Mo

    Bro Mo Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Some track coaches have athletes train at current race paces intermixed with days of goal paces. I think it's more common for coaches to use only current best paces rather than goal paces though. Some very successful track programs simply do a lot of repeats at best race pace for shorter distances while increasing volume with number of repeats rather than increasing pace or distance.

    Seems like trying to use the same concept, one would simply put something like a 3RM weight on the bar and build up volume of singles at that weight or doubles of a 5RM weight until a new test day. Conceptually, Justa singles come to mind as an example.
  12. LoneRider

    LoneRider More than 300 posts

    From previous reads (namely Beyond Bodybuilding and various books by Jim Wendler) a training max is 85%-90% of a 1RM. In the case of Mr. Wendler's work the training max means a weight one can complete with some effort but not anywhere near 'overstrain'. He states its to prevent burnout.

    For me, personally (currently running through a 5/3/1 cycle) I find the 85% training max lets me get some good heavy lifting in without breaking it off in me for other things I have to do (PT with my unit 3x/week (we get two gym days in a week where I run 5/3/1)) and other activities (5x/week I train in Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai). The training max lets me train reasonably heavy with a decreased likelihood of burnout.

    In the Wendler system Training maxes allow for 'autoregulation' and thus avoiding burnout.
  13. Anna C

    Anna C More than 5000 posts Elite Certified Instructor

    Yes... But for me there seems to be no difference, so if I was to use his programs and populate the program using my gym/competition (same) 1RM of 305 lbs, or use 85% of that, or 260 lbs, that's a HUGE difference. Not sure which would be "better" for 5/3/1. The reps and sets in 5/3/1 are then using a smaller percentage of that number.

    But, doesn't really matter, as my current programming doesn't distinguish between the two.

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