Max Effort Lifts

Max Effort Lifts

This was a workout in our group classes a few weeks ago at RxFIT:


4 Rounds For Time:

3 Back Squats @ 90% of your 1-rep max

200m Run

*Time Cap: 8 minutes


I was speaking with Miranda (our Head Coach) early that morning before the class started and she said, “I’m worried the time cap is too aggressive.”


My response?


“Watch. Some people are going to finish this workout in four minutes.”


One of the most common things I see is an inability to produce a maximum effort. Think for a moment: Can you remember the last time you tried picking something up or squatting something that was so heavy that you ended up failing?


At RxFIT, we always teach how to bail properly out of a back squat. We then have you practice bailing out of a back squat. Why? Because we want you to fail a squat! That’s when we know that you’ve hit your max – when you literally can’t lift up the weight anymore.


But there’s also something magical about learning how to push yourself to failure. You get stronger! You don’t get stronger by doing a lot of high volume sets. High volume sets are a necessary component to fitness, but not to strength. 


Let me give you an example:

  • 1 set of 10 deadlifts at 100 pounds
  • 10 sets of 1 deadlift at 450 pounds


In both examples, I’m completing 10 reps, but the first example is light and fast where the second is heavy and slow. The first example is going to take me less than 20 seconds. The second one is going to take me 20 minutes.


Going back to the workout written above: if your 1-rep max back squat is a true 1-rep max, Miranda’s right in saying that the 8-minute time cap is too aggressive. You shouldn’t be able to perform 4 sets of 3 reps at 90%. The intended stimulus was to fail that third rep. I was hoping we would see more of that in the workout.


In summary, strength is built by pushing yourself to the limits. I know what you’re thinking: But that’s how you get injured!


Stay tuned for tomorrow.



(hint: you need a coach)

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