Weight Progression Tip

It is true when using the Max-OT principles you are striving for a continual progression of overload.  That means once you complete 6 “good” reps with any given movement it is time to increase your weights by the smallest increment available.  The key phrase in that last sentence is “good reps.”

What do I mean by 6 good reps?  That means you are in control of the weight for all 6 reps and require very little to no assistance from a spotter to complete the last rep.  If you are sloppy or really struggle to get 6 reps it is not a good idea to move up in weight just yet.

If you get too ahead of yourself with weight selection you will begin to sacrifice too much form and control.  This will lead to an increased potential for injury and a greater likelihood of plateauing with your weights.

When you are training with the Max-OT principles you want to use the best balance of loose form and maximal weight, being careful not to expense one for the other.  Remember that loose form doesn’t mean sloppy or out of control it simply means allowing your body to move naturally through the exercise rather than being too strict or rigid.  You can get a great visual example of exactly what I mean by loose form while under control in my training DVDs.


  1. Hi Jeff. I workout at home without a partner. I do believe in your methods of lifting heavy for size. However,since I workout alone sometimes I think 4 reps for certain exercises (bench,squat) is kind of dangerous and was wondering if I would still get results going slightly lighter on particular exercises were I dont have a spotter,say 6-8 reps. What do you think? Thanks for help!

    • Yes, I think you can still get results that way. Do the best you can to stick to the Max-OT principles but I understand that without a spotter it can be difficult to push for only 4 reps.

  2. Hi Jeff. thanks for these tips!

    I started MAX OT last week and reached 4 reps at my first set with 135lbs shoulder press. I reduced the weight by 10lbs to 125lbs and I reached 6 reps in my second set. Again 6 set in the 3rd set with 125lbs and my last set I got 5 reps with 125.

    Next time I train shoulders. Should I start with 135 LBS again and try to get 5/6 reps or should I start with 125LBS at my first set and move up the second set?

    Thanks Jeff!

    From Holland.

    • You don’t want to reduce weight throughout your workout. You want to start with a weight you can complete 4-6 reps and then once you hit 6 reps you increase by the smallest increment. If you don’t be to 6 reps you stay at that weight until you do. The next workout for that body part you start with the weight you finished for your last set the previous week.

  3. Hey Jeff! If max ot yields such great results for natural bodybuilders, why don’t I see people doing it more often or agree that its a good way to go for size. Most people think that the reps are way to low and that there is not enough time under tension for size gains. I hear people gain strength off max of, but not the amount of size that you have from it. I’m asking because I like the simplicity of the workouts- short/ basic/ heavy. And to me it does make sense that if you want to get big, you have to lift heavy. But its always stated in the 8-12 rep range. Just wondering because I’m having a hard time sticking to a routine due to all the mixed info. Thanks for help!

    • I’ve done my own 20 year experiment with myself as the primary test subject. And now I can add countless people around the world who have achieved amazing success with the Max-OT principles.

      There is too much overlap between muscle strength and muscle size to make the distinction that you can lift for one or the other. The bigger a muscle fiber, the stronger it is. And overloading the muscle with a heavy weight creates the best stimulus for strength and development.

      My advice would be to adopt all the principles, and I do mean all of them and try it for a solid 8-12 weeks and then make your own assessment. It is important, however, to execute all the principles and not just mix and match the ones you are comfortable with or you will not get a true assessment of the program.

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