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The Max Effort Method

Updated: May 24, 2023



It’s critical to understand that strength presents itself in many ways.


Our body adapts to the specific stimuli that are placed upon it. Depending on what level of force is exerted during an exercise marks the difference between what strength qualities will be developed over the training period.


We know this is so because it’s not the same to lift a small weight 10 or 20 times as it is to lift a heavy weight 1 time. The repeated act of doing one or the other will produce different results both in the physique and in terms of the strength output of the individual.

We call the differentiation between strengths, SPECIAL STRENGTH development.

We classify these differences depending on the speed and quantity of the lift being performed as it relates to a maximal effort.


We can classify the varying adaptations as: Strength endurance, Explosive Strength, Speed Strength, Strength Speed, and Max effort strength or absolute strength.

Each characteristic of strength is produced at differing percentages of the maximum effort possible by the individual.


This article wants to deal exclusively with Max Effort Strength. We can define this as an all out single effort displayed in a given movement or exercise. This is the most important training domain for any strength based athlete. The longer a person is able to strain, hold or move a given load the greater their strength expression will be.


This idea is obvious to weightlifting and powerlifting athletes because their sport specifically demands this type of effort. However many other sports require their athletes to be capable of giving an all out effort during their performance.


Gymnastics is a great example of regular max effort training helps to improve skill and strength development.


The sport itself depends on relative strength and strength endurance as the primary special strengths necessary for the sport. The repetition of the movements during long periods of time require that the athlete be able to reproduce similar muscle activation many times during competition.


However, during training skills such as a pull-ups, dips and holds must be trained regularly as 1 all out effort to condition the body to produce the strongest and longest muscle contraction possible.


The max effort approach is the best training approach for developing muscular coordination (we speak about this particular aspect in a previous article.)

Neurologists use the catch-phrase; “that which fires together, wires together.”

In the max effort method of training the whole body must strain therefore creating greater motor unit development for total body strength.


Having understood the importance and relevance of this style of training, be sure to incorporate frequent maximal efforts in your planning to help progress continue in the most efficient way possible.


Robert Gannon is a Crossfit and Special Strength Coach with Crossfit Gala, Barcelona and Westside Barbell. He is also one of the founding partners of Happy Fat Rings, makers of the world’s only 36mm premium thick grip gymnastic rings. He has more that 20 years teaching experience and strives to help people from around the world get better.


Get your pair of the world's only FAT GRIP gymnastic rings today: CLICK HERE!

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