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FULL ARTICLE: http://www.synergy-athletics.com/effective-strength-training/methods-of-strength-training-max-effort-method/ (for you reading nerds 😉

Max Effort Method
The central nervous system (CNS) adapts to the load placed on it. Max Effort method uses heavy loads to yield the largest adaptations in strength.

To perform the max effort method progress to heavy weights for 1 to 3 repetitions per set.
The heavy load (near max weight) recruits the most motor units. The lifter will learn to fire these motor units in a more efficient and improve motor coordination (your body’s “wiring” for using muscle).

During max effort we are primarily training muscles rather than movement. I will clarify. The purpose of an agility ladder is training a movement. Heavy squat is for training muscles.

Limitations of Max Effort

Despite what I’ve seen on some funny YouTube videos — heavy squats won’t cure cancer, poverty, or anything else like this.

Also, more seriously, the max effort method is not for beginners. Instead, they should start with General Physical Preparedness.

Beginners will not have the technique, required muscle strength, or the muscle coordination to perform the lifts. The side effect of using the max effort method too early will be a high risk of injury.

So, for all the young lifters here, make sure you complete your GPP and basic training BEFORE you even attempt max effort lifts. Not only is there a high risk of injury, but you will not see the gains since the lifts will not be performed efficiently.

I see people looking for “beginners weight training programs” all the time in forums, and other new people recommending heavy deadlifts and so forth. Dangerous and inefficient…but I digress.

For more advanced lifters, the Max Effort method is very fatiguing both mentally and physically which may lead to burn out. This is common when Max Effort is used too much (daily).

This also depends on which Max Effort lifts are used — a power clean or snatch is more fatiguing than the bench press. Take this into account when creating your program.

– Joe Hashey, CSCS –

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