Supramaximal Training to Break Through Plateaus

Supramaximal Training to Break Through Plateaus

supramaximal training for strength

Supramaximal training is an advanced technique, which can help you bust through plateaus and produce amazing results in the strength department. 



upramaximal training means using weights and resistance that is beyond your current strength levels. It's using heavy weights that you normally would not be able to lift at all.

Instead of lifting the weights up (doing the concentric phase), you will focus on isometric training (supramaximal holds) and ​supramaximal negatives (eccentric part of the repetition) where you are merely lowering the weight down.

Below is our supramaximal video for illustrating the exercises.

Supramaximal Training Will Trick Your Central Nervous System

One of the benefits of supramaximal training is that it will really put your body through hell.

Your body will ​awaken like nothing else. Your adrenaline glands are prepared to fire. Your testosterone levels are jumping through the roof. 

After you finish the set, your central nervous system (CNS) has become ready to handle ridiculously heavy weights. Your body will approach the next set like it was as heavy as the supramaximal hold you just did.

One of the benefits of supramaximal training is that almost any exercise will feel light and easy after you finish a set of supramaximal holds or negatives.

Do a set of supramaximal chin ups, and bodyweight chin ups feel like nothing at all. Do a set of supramaximal bench press, and your old 1 rep max bench press doesn't feel so impressive anymore.​

Athletes have known this for a long time. If you want to jump explosively like never before, do heavy 1-3RM squats first and prepare your CNS for the task.​

Supramaximal Bench Press Hold

supramaximal bench press hold

Eero Westerberg just holding the 120kg(250lbs) weight up on straight arms for 10-20 second sets.

Choose a weight that is 10-30% beyond your one rep maximum (1RM).

In this exercise you will merely lift the weight up and hold it in air with straight arms.

This exercise will produce great muscle and strength gains in the bench press stabilizers and also improve the strength in the upper portion of the repetition.​

If you haven't made good progress with bench press or push ups lately, this may help you bust through the plateau.​

Having a training partner to help is necessary for you to perform this safely, since the weight should be a lot more than you can normally bench press.​

3-5 sets for 10 to 20 seconds.​ 

Supramaximal Bench Press Negatives

supramaximal training for bench press

In supramaximal negatives, choose a weight that is 10-30% beyond your one rep maximum.

Surprisingly, the human body tends to be between 25% to 50% stronger in the eccentric phase (i.e. lowering the weight in a bicep curl) compared to the concentric phase of the lift (i.e. lifting a weight up in a bicep curl).

This strength advantage is why you want to do supramaximal negatives.

Your tendons and ligaments will get stronger and the supramaximal negatives will also produce a great anabolic response for your body to grow.

In this variation, you lower the weight as slowly as you can until the bar is close to your chest, and then you let your training partner to help you push the weight up.

Do it for​ 3 to 5 repetitions and you will definitely feel a great burn in your entire upper body. 

Supramaximal Weighted Chin-Up Holds & Negatives

In this exercise you can go really heavy, 15-30% beyond your one rep maximum. Eero Westerberg has been using 75 kilos and I have personally used 65 kilos for this exercise.

You ​use a dipping belt or a weighted vest for as much as resistance as you think you can handle, and then start the repetition your chin already over the bar.

Hold your body up with everything you got, for as long as you humanly can. Then, when you feel like you can hold no more, lower you body slowly.​

one arm chin up negatives

Westerberg performing solid one arm chin up negatives.

For achieving one arm chin ups, negative one arm chin ups are one of the best exercises you can do. ​

The great thing about OAC negatives is that you can do them almost anywhere where you have an access to a pull up bar. 

OAC negatives will feel in the tendons and biceps more than anything you have ever done. 

Start cautiously and don't attempt this exercise until you have become relatively strong with regular chin-ups.