If your focus is purely on lifting the most amount of weight you can during a 1 rep max then your heading for injury, despite your big numbers, the admiration from weaker gym members and the back slapping from your training partners.
Sure it’s cool to post up some big numbers and feed the beast inside all of us. I love nothing more than the intense moment just before a big lift. To see how well my programming has worked and how much the body is capable of – even if it’s .5 of a kg better than last time, it’s still progress and the focus is always long term and better movement.
Testing any exercise in the gym is essentially putting every joint in the body under maximal stress and then seeing if they can meet your minds expectations- please tell me you already have a number in your head that your looking to smash?
What I do see in some gyms can literally make my eyes bleed. Even though I admire their tenacity in getting the tin off the floor despite the ugliness of the lift. I can’t help wondering why the shit form with the amount of great information that is readily available.
Case in point, the deadlift should be renamed ‘lower back’ lift with some of the form that I have seen over the years. There is a reason why it’s a whole body exercise and good for spinal health- when you distribute the load evenly throughout the joints!
What I look for and why
There is 2 distinct reasons why I test. The first one is to determine the loading parameters for the next phase of training. If your looking for results, want to get stronger, bigger, faster or keep going for longer then understanding your current ability is crucial for planning any training cycle.
If you intend to build a platform of strength then immediately you have the answers to the following questions that will help elicit the correct hormonal response-
- Amount of weight to be lifted during each training session
- Rest periods
- Number of sets and exercises
- Order of importance
- What you really need to work on
The next is perhaps the part of testing that I find to be the most valuable. The point at which exercise form breaks down. I fully appreciate that we can all lift a little more despite good lifting mechanics, BUT, unless your a seasoned lifter half way through a rep in the midst of competition lift then I really don’t see the value.