Over on the EXRX forums, I wrote this:
"I'm more and more convinced a good long-term goal - for me and generally for my clients - is to maximize your minimums rather than maximize your maximums. What I mean is, instead of trying to raise their one-rep max, my goal is to raise their baseline walking around strength. Raising the weights they can get all the day, day in, day out, without any problems."
This is my basic training philosophy for most clients, and for myself.
I have a lot of influences here - Paul Carter's emphasis on everyday strength, talks by Dan John and Charles Staley about training, and my own experiences as a trainee and a trainer. What matters to most people, most of the time, are:
- what they can always do rather than what they can do peaking for a competition.
- what they can do on a bad day, with minimum warmup, without injury or painful strain.
Getting someone's 1-rep max up is great. Getting someone's ability to carry boxes up a few flights of stairs without exhaustion and risk of injury is also great. The latter will be more useful to them, generally, unless they're planning to compete at a one-rep max sport (Powerlifting or Weightlifting).
My goal generally is to get people to be able to lift on a bad day what they used to be able to lift only a good day. Day in, day out - enough to get you stronger, no so much you can't recover from the workout, and working towards a better baseline. Maximizing your minimums.