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Old 05-23-2005, 04:55 PM
Darkhorse Darkhorse is offline
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Originally Posted by apocalypse
damn 311 makes me wanna do max- OT.
I'm a firm believer of periodization equals gains. Whether you're taking prohormones or not, it's the best method. If I were you, I'd follow my workout I posted and give it a go for 3-4 weeks, then move onto something else.

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Old 03-06-2006, 04:16 AM
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hi 0311... i'm making a post that will help everyone - i hope...

i thought people might want to see the Max OT workout as a PDF, so i've provided a link below which has a PDF (downloadable) version of the product


please let me know if the page is not loadinging...

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Old 03-06-2006, 11:50 AM
verbatimreturned verbatimreturned is offline
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I'm absolutly dieing to do some Max-OT....in fact i think im might do this right after my 5x5
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Old 03-28-2006, 02:48 AM
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hey guys... i read up on a nice article about max ot and thought i'd post it here...

Originally Posted by hepennypacker52
This is a 'sneak preview' I guess. I'm doing a big article line for Bodybuilding.com, a "for Dummies" guide to about 12 different types of training. HST for Dummies is already up on here and has been for a while, and Max-OT is probably the next most (or more) popular routine, so I'm just going to post this one as well. Please do not post saying "you just took all of this out of the Max-OT handbook!". Of course I did, this is a "for Dummies" guide, and it's not my training method/idea. Enjoy.
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

Leg Press
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

Approved Biceps Exercises

Straight Bar Curls
EZ Bar Curls
Alternate Dumbbell Curls
Cable Curls

Approved Upper Back Exercises

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

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
Cable Crunch
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Old 03-28-2006, 02:51 AM
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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.

source: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=508611
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Old 03-28-2006, 02:52 AM
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i hope that helps someone....
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Old 03-28-2006, 03:42 AM
Darkhorse Darkhorse is offline
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Here's a much more technical writeup comparing HST to Max-OT. Full thread found here.

Max-OT Introduction

At heart, Max-OT is really just a unpretentious hypertrophy-oriented program whose ideas bears some resemblance to HIT. It doesn't claim to be highly "advanced", innovative, or complex; in fact, its simplicity probably is its main selling point. The manual to it is good especially for those moving toward intermediate-level training, as it reiterates fundamentals of exercise preparation and successful bodybuilding (compound movements, progressive overload, diet, and rest.) Below are the core principles:


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

HIT-esque, Progressive overload, and Rest

Max-OT most resembles traditional HIT in viewing intensity less from the standpoint of % of 1RM and more from metabolic fatigue. Arguably, it has more work sets per bodypart than a traditional HIT program would, but that's not unreasonable with the old-school HIT variants I've seen.

However, what's unique is its choice of 4-6 reps over the standard recommended 8-12 reps. It should be strongly emphasized that Max-OT's reasoning for the 4-6 rep range is not oriented toward the relationship between extremely heavy weights and hypertrophy. In fact, on a per session basis, it reasons that it's probably the metabolic processes from an extremely intense (i.e. metabolic fatigue) set that kicks off all of the responses leading to hypertrophy. Again, this would fit in with HIT philosophy.

But -- and here is the twist -- the program also acknowledges that it's really load progression, not rep progression, that ultimately signals an increase in muscle. There's an emphasis on double progression, but here they clearly emphasize load over reps. In other words, you want to jump through as few hoops (going from low to high of a given rep range) as possible to get to your new load. Ergo, why they recommend 4-6 (just 2 reps to jump to the next load) reps over 8-12 reps. They do make certain exceptions for notoriously slow-twitch areas such as calves and abs.

The total volume and muscle group recommendations are more or less guidelines to fit under the 30-40 minute mark. That 30-40 minute mark is likely abstracted from old-school studies showing cortisol levels signicantly rising above the 45 minute mark. Practically speaking, I think most Max-OT trainees will be in the 40-60 minute mark unless their gym is relatively sparse. They also point out studies regarding GH release and metabolic work.

Its recovery principles pretty much fit in with HIT too, but here they're splitting it down to 4 different contexts. Most of you HITers and periodization folks will immediately pick up the different contexts in nonspecific terms. There is . . .


1. Short Term Recuperation (STR) - Between sets.
2. Intermediate Term Recuperation (ITR) - Between workouts.
3. Muscle Specific Recuperation (MSR) - Between identical workouts.
4. Cyclical Recuperation (CR) - Between Max-OT Training cycles.

Where it significantly deviates from HIT is its strong stance against slow reps, machines, and most isolation movements. This is a exposive, mostly free-weight advice and it poos poos any curls, extensions, cable crossovers, etc.


Max-OT is also distinguished by its more granular approach to splits, a 5-way version no less. This is a really hardcore interpretation of Splits; you get the total volume down in order to prevent elevated levels of cortisol, but you torch the area with a lo of heavy sets.

A typical schedule would go
Monday -- Legs
Tuesday -- Chest / Abs
Wednesday -- Back (including deadlifts)
Thursday -- Delts / Triceps
Friday -- Biceps/Abs

Or . . .
Monday -- Back / Biceps
Tuesday -- Legs
Wednesday -- Chest
Thursday -- Shoulders/Triceps
Friday -- Triceps/Forearms/Abs

You can get creative with the split. After 8 weeks or so, you take a week off, then change your routine up again.


It really depends on how you organize your split. There's enough of an overlapping effect that most bodyparts will get hit 2-3x-a-week , which puts it behind a typical HST program. The manual doesn't really acknowledge the overlapping effect exercises have with each other, and so the typical Max-OT trainee will not be informed that, quite obviously, the triceps press (arm day) is just as good a pec exercise as the bench press, or that the deadlifts will hit the legs.

This is problematic on two fronts. First, most trainees working on this split may not know how to redistribute the fatigue of multiple failure sets with the arms. They may do Chest on Monday, Delts/Triceps on Tuesday, and wonder why they can't make strength gains in terms of progressive load. Secondly, by merely switching around which days to do what, they'll have a unpredictable situation with net protein synthesis overlap. That is, if they work Chest on Monday, then arms on Tuesday, you'll get 60 hours of elevated synthesis for the upper torso. But if you did arms on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, you'll get 72 hours. Over the period of 8 weeks, the difference is 4 days of productive growth.

On average, over an eight week period, you'll have about 24 days of elevated protein synthesis for a bodypart with Max-OT. On HST, you'll have 32 days of elevated synthesis.

Absolute and Progressive Load

This is perhaps Max-OT's strongest point. Because you're starting at around 80-85% of 1RM, the effect of RBE will take longer than on HST. Moreover, because you're working through a 4-6 rep range, you can probably increase poundages every week or every other week with 5-10% increments. You don't have to worry about metabolic fatigue. Because you're training explosively, the TUL is too short for high neural drive or rate coding (i.e. the total effect of failure) to be as pronounced as it should be. You should be able to make strength gains fairly quickly and from that, continue to stay ahead of RBE. Through the first month or so, Max-OT's efficacy with stimulating sarcomere hypertrophy should be pretty high. Note: if Max-OT used a 8-12 rep scheme, where you would have to jump through the 40-60 second TUL hoop, just to put more weight, there would be no way to progressively load quick enough to match HST. DC's training program sidesteps this caveat by saying you should try increasing weight every week anyway, THEN matching the reps of last week.

This also highlights the counterbalancing between the effects of absolute load and pregressive load. Because its load starts higher than HST and stays farther ahead of the RBE curve initially, the first 2-3 weeks will certainly generate faster gains than the first 2-3 weeks of HST. However, because HST is more rigorous in its progression of loads, the 5s and post-5s of HST may generate faster gains, even though the absolute loads you use with Max-OT may be relatively higher still. That being said, if you stay at your 5RM through post-5s, then progressive load is a wash here too. Again, HST will still have the advantage because you're training more frequenty (and the application of strain on the muscle will be uneven with Max-OT's split regimen) . . . but the difference will not be as marked as it should be. You have a classic situation of the tortoise and hare. In HST, gains should speed up as you approach the end of the cycle. In Max-OT, gains slow down as you approach the end of the cycle, even if you made strength gains every week.

Metabolic Stress and Injury Prevention

Max-OT has a slight edge per session. Even though the sets are short, you'll be hitting 6-9 sets per group. That's enough volume to create a moderate MAPKerk1/2 signal, albeit far less than DC's training would. That being said, HST's combination of higher frequency and 10/15-rep protocols puts it at a slight edge over Max-OT over the 8 week period. Its carb and metabolic requirements are less than HST, though, making it easier to prepare a diet.

Max-OT has a complete absence of any high-rep connective tissue remodeling scheme. Even DC's program has built-in mechanisms to keep joint pain down. Given Max-OT's preference for heavy training, this could be a serious problem. I strongly recommend adding in a week of high-rep training before you start the 8-week period in order to protect yourself from this.

Strength Gains and Fatigue

Max-OT is better than HST and DC at this. And this is why some people prefer Max-OT over HST. That being said, HST does a better job at managing fatigue and systemic resources. Because your total # of sets will be modest and you're not training to failure, you avoid the overtraining symptoms that Max-OT purports to solve. However, at the same time, you won't enjoy the immediate strength gains (many of which, are adaptations to the fatigue), that you see on Max-OT.


1) Frequency: HST > > Max-OT
2) Absolute Load: HST < Max-OT
3) Progressive Load: HST > Max-OT
4) Sarcomere hypertrophy (First 2-3 weeks): HST < Max-OT
5) Sarcomere hypertrophy (5s/Post-5s): HST > Max-OT
6) Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy/Nutrient-Usage: HST > Max-OT
7) Fatigue management / Cycle extensibility: HST > MAX-OT

*not related to growth*
8) Strength gains: HST < < Max-OT
9) Safety: HST > > Max-OT

When it comes strictly to muscle growth, traditional HST is better than Max-OT on 5 out of 7 important fronts.

However, the difference in gains between the two may not be as appreciable. The key thing to note with Max-OT is whether your gains slow down as you progress in the cycle. This can be easily dealt with by simply incrementing the loads week-to-week, and hopefully you've gained enough mass from the previous week to make the 4-rep minimum. By doing this strategy and using the 2-week "advantage" over RBE you get from using a 5RM load, you can generate results with Max-OT that can get close to intro-level HST. Plus, you get the strength gains.

For some people, Max-OT may be a more desirable program than HST. However, watch your joints.

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