The Vertex Shuffle

Its called the Vertex Shuffle and it goes something like this: After completing a set on the Leg Press, the client emits a dull whimper and slides her legs slowly off the footplate and onto the ground. After 15 seconds, they reach a position resembling standing and begins to go to the Hammer Row machine. Even though the Row is only five feet away, they will walk the equivalent of 15 feet by taking two baby steps, staggering to the left, taking four steps to get re-aligned, take another two baby steps, this time listing to the right, reaching out for the Hammer Decline Press to regain her footing, and finally sitting down on the Row, only to realize that they is are facing the wrong way and have to get up and turn around.

This feeling of helplessness is the result of what we like to call “Maximum Effort”. Giving Maximum Effort means doing repetitions until you can no longer perform them with proper form (you might be able to cheat and get another rep, but as they say, “cheaters never win!”).

The main reason for working to Maximum Effort is efficiency. When you work to your maximum effort, you involve the greatest number of muscle fibers available to you on a given exercise. The more fibers that are stimulated to get stronger means that you can see quicker results. By giving your maximum effort, you only need to do one set (less time in the studio means more time doing what you love). It is also very safe. Because you are lifting in a slow and controlled manner, you are able to generate enough force to lift the weight, but not enough force to cause an injury.

I can’t lie and say that giving Maximum Effort is fun and easy, It’s not. However, in terms of stimulating your muscles to get stronger in the shortest amount of time, there might not be a better way to train!


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