You would think a heavyweight wrestler does a lot of heavy max lifting. Well, in this case, gold medalist Gable Steveson says, nope. Gable says his success in wrestling is not from max lifting like many athletes do. He says he still lifts heavyweights, just not in the one to two rep range-now only between 3-4 reps.
Gable feels max lifting is pointless and does more harm than good. It makes you more vulnerable and at risk for injury. Gable says there is no room for error when you do the maximal lifting, for example, breathing improperly or if your form is off. If you can get the same results from 3-4 reps similar to 1-2 reps, then why do it. Why put yourself in harm’s way.
Max lifting is really not for wrestling. It is more for Olympic lifting competitions because that’s what they do. Olympic Lifts like snatches are one rep max only. The weight goes up with each qualifying round. However, wrestling is a very different sport where you need strength, power, and endurance. Wrestling consists of three 2-minute periods. So, max training can have a place in wrestling, but, it becomes more risk to injury as the weights go up. So, Gable says to lift heavy, but not excessively. Similar to bodybuilder Lee Haney saying, “Simulate, don’t annihilate.”
Max lifting is not essential or absolutely necessary to develop maximal strength. For example, doing five reps for five sets at 80 to 85% of your rep max is a great way to build strength. Also, it’s safer. You’re not lifting an extreme amount of heavy weight that leads to failure. Furthermore, lifting heavy is crucial because it increases the amount of force you can move, and that is important for speed and explosiveness.
For example, enhancing your strength from 50 to 80 pounds. When you do speed training, you need to cut the weight in half. So, 50 becomes 25, and 80 becomes 40. So, you have greater speed power. And that is one primary allure of maximal lifting.
You can say no risk and no reward. But that is a complicated statement when an injury will stop your training for months and possibly leave you empty handed.
Read More: A Strength Coach’s Job is Bigger Than One-Rep Maxes