Methods of Strength - Maximal Effort Method

Updated: Sep 16, 2020

Joe Kenn - Vice President of Performance Education


The third and final method of strength we discuss is the Maximal Effort Method. The speed of movement is irrelevant. This method is about moving the highest load possible for a single repetition regardless of time.

The Maximal Effort Method is based on utilizing loads of 90% and greater for repetitions between 1 and 3. The primary work sets for this method are 1 to 3. It should be noted that a load of 90-91% performed for 3 repetitions is a very close estimate to a 1 repetition maximum.



A True Maximal Effort Method is done weekly where the athlete attempts a new 1 repetition training max on a variation of a specific movement pattern. This is usually a training scheme utilized by professional and competitive powerlifters. When training non-lifters (athletes) it usually will take a 3 to 4-week training wave to prepare them to reach 90+% training loads.

It is my opinion; the training age of an athlete determines the length of training needed to be prepared for 90+% training loads. When this is the case, we progress them through the sub maximal effort method utilizing 75-88% of the athlete’s 1 repetition maximum utilizing sets and rep schemes from Prilepin’s Chart.

All three methods of strength defined by Zatsiorsky are extremely important in the overall general physical preparation of athletes. It is important to study and understand how to correctly program these into an annual and quadrennial plan of development.



This is part 3 of a 3-part series.

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