Don’t Over-analyze. Just Execute.

Jeff WilletI often get questions that dissect what I consider minute aspects of training.  Questions like rest time between sets, amount of weight to use on warm-up sets, how many warm-up sets, when do I increase weight, is 6-8 reps better than 4-6 reps, are dumbbells better than barbells….etc, etc, etc.

These are valid questions to a point but all of these basics are outlined in the Max-OT principles.  After you get a grasp of the basic principles there is no need to spend time hashing over the small details while you miss the bigger picture which in my opinion is the execution of the plan with intensity and machine like consistency for months and months on end.

Don’t miss the dollars to pick up the pennies!  For example the differences of waiting 3 minutes instead of 2 minutes between a set or doing 5 warm-up sets instead of 4 doesn’t make a big impact either way.  Just execute the basic principles every day to the best of your ability inside and very importantly outside of the gym and you will do great.  The more great days of execution you can string together, the better your results will be over time.

Another thing for you to consider…..My opinion of the best way to train is not going to change.  I have been consistent with my teaching for well over 10 years.  This is based mostly on my own outstanding results but also the results I have seen by others who have executed the same methods with religious consistency.  My position is not going to change so before you ask me if I think 8 reps is better for muscle hypertrophy than 4-6 reps you should save your energy because you already know my answer.  If I thought 8 reps were better I would have been using 8 reps and I would be telling everyone else to do the same. 

It’s like one of my favorite singer/songwriters once said.  When he was asked what is the meaning of one of his hit songs he replied, “If I knew another way to say it, I would have written a different song.”  Same goes with me.  If I thought there was a more effective way to train I would have been doing things differently for the last 10 years and certainly through the apex of my career.  

Skip La Cour and I have an interesting discussion about this and other related topics in our latest podcast.


  1. You did a great job “trimmming the fat” (pun intended) on this often over-analyzed (another pun) subject. Love your training psychology! =)

    – Jon

  2. avatar
    pete smith


    I’ve just finished watching the documentary you made with Stuart. His transformation was phenomenal. Besides the amount of time, effort, and energy required to make such a transformation, one thing that really came across was how wonderful of a guy you are.

    Anyways, I agree with the concepts of Max-OT training, namely lifting heavy and briefly, but intensely. A question though: what is your opinion on full body Max OT workouts? Due to time constraints i often do full-body workouts. Another thing i like about full body workouts is that they give me entire body and nervous system enough time to recuperate and grow. Given that my lifts continually improve in terms of poundages (while not compromising form), is there any reason to think that a split routine would serve me much better?

    • Thanks for the great feedback. Glad you enjoyed the documentary.

      I don’t prefer full body workouts. I prefer to split the body into short workouts focusing on one or two body parts at a time. You can find more info and a free Max-OT routine by clicking on the training/nutrition tab on my home page.

  3. Sounds very similair principles to Dr. Joseph Juran’s “80/20” rule.

    20 % of what you do is probably responsible for 80% of the results.
    The other 80% is usually trivial and responsible for about 20% of your results.

    Give or take but you get my drift 🙂

  4. Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive learn something like this before. So nice to search out any person with some unique ideas on this subject. realy thank you for beginning this up. this website is one thing that’s wanted on the web, somebody with a little bit originality. useful job for bringing one thing new to the internet!

  5. Hi Jeff! I try to follow Max-OT as best as I can. But since I workout at home without a partner,4-6 reps is just too heavy on some exercises without having a spotter. I love the workouts for the simplicity but was wondering if I will still acheive size if I do 6-8 reps? Thank you!

  6. Is it fine to put a portion of this in my blog if perhaps I post a reference to this webpage?

  7. Hey Jeff! Sometimes I just dont feel like I have enough energy to lift heavy every single workout. I understand about taking a week off every 8 weeks but what am I to do when Im just not as strong today as I was last week on a particular exercise?

    For example last week I did Incline BB press with 275. This week I could only do 225. Is this normal to go through stages like this?

    • You may experience days like that but try to mentally prepare yourself to handle the same weight as the week before. If you could lift it last week you should be able to lift it this week. That being said, if it should happen from time to time it could be based on a number of factors. Don’t over-analyze it, just do the best you can and focus on you nutrition, particularly in the post workout hours.

  8. avatar
    Thomas T. Thomsen

    Hi Jeff,

    Out of sheer curiosity who was that singer/songwriter who said that?

    Thank you,


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