During the soccer-season I will do maintaining weight sessions once-twice a week. Should I increase the loads at all, or just working at the load I lift at the end of off-season?

VG you can do maintanance weights once a week.use a rep range of 4-6 reps.remember its maintanance of strenght,the work has already been done,all you are doing is maintaining the strenght in which you have developed up to this point

Taking maintenance weight cues from Charlie, I came up with an equation(through a little trial and error) and settled on taking the athlete’s 3rm for a given exercise and divide by 1.2 to come up with the weight for the work sets and start with 3 x 2 after two-three warm-up sets. For some that we did not have enough time to come down as low as 3rm(basketball players who missed initial 3 weeks of season) we got a 5rm and divided by 1.15. After 2-3 weeks we went down to 2 x 2 and eventually we might go to 2x1. Charlie had mentioned that after the max strength work and some time into the maintenance phase power would peak and sure enough a few kids got training bests in 30m and 60m and another kid mentioned that he had never gotten so high on a dunk that he got this week. The plan definitely works. I may have come about this in a round about, inexact manner and some further adjusting may be in the offing next year but right now it looks good.


Great Post! Can you explain how you calculated the 1.15/ 1.2 coefficient.


thanks for sharing that formula. being that i am standing at the beginning of football season i was wondering the same things as VG was. i will start to use that formula next week.

pioneer, “3x2” sets or reps first?
thanks alot

I wish I could give some incredible scientifically based answer but, like I said, it was trial and error over the last 9-12 months to find weights which would both reasonably stimulate or maintain(maybe not the same thing) yet not over tax the CNS. It’s sets x reps. Let me know if you guys need any help. By the way the estimations of the 3rm’s or 5rm’s were either just that-estimations or actual rm’s that were achieved during the max. strength phase. If, for example, a kid squatted 295(arbitrary number) for 3 reps in a squat and then went to 305 for 3 on his last set during the heaviest workout of the max strength phase I would estimate that his actual 3rm would be more like 310-315 usually opting for the more conservative number in order to determine what the maintenance weights will be in the following weeks. I also believe you could go just a bit lighter in your maintenance weights if absolutely necessary but those number worked well for(and continue to do so) my guys. Some people might need to go lighter to ensure not overtraining.

Thanks Pioneer, the formula works very well. You should, however, market your theories a little bit more aggressively (ala Poloquin et al). How about:-

The Pioneer Coefficient for Maintenance Weights Calculation


Thanks gf_200 I think I might try to market the concept(maybe “after some more caffeine” like another guru recently said-just kidding).
I’ll have to give credit to #1 Charlie for his maintenance guidelines and recommendations and #2 and article in T-mag by Dennis Weis on conversions of various rm’s to 1rm’s etc.
After looking a little closer to the numbers and starting with the assumption that the 3rm/1.2 gives a pretty reasonable intensity to base maintenance weights on I came up with these numbers to divide with that correlate well with the numbers provided by the the 3rm equation. Again, these might not work for all and you might have to adjust up or down to work for you or your athletes. Still, I feel they can provide a decent starting point.
Assuming that most all develop and/or test strength in a given exercise with 6 reps and below, here they are for estimated or actual repetition maximums. As you can see, my original number for the 5rm of 1.15 was a bit high.
I started first(in maintenance) with a progession similar to what Charlie suggested of 3x2(setsxreps) for 2-3 weeks and progressed to 2x2 for 2 weeks then to 2x1 or 1x2 for 1-2 weeks. In some cases we even slightly dropped the weights for example a 5-10 pound drop for clean pulls/squats while dropping around 5 pounds for exercises like bench/incline. This was done on individual basis if, for example, I felt the athlete looked to be working a little too hard or struggling with weights that should not have been extremely challenging.
The drops in sets/reps and, possibly weight came about to ensure peak power output would be attained during the strength maintenance phase. I had never really experienced this before this past indoor season. If the other elements are periodized correctly(speed volumes/intensities, plyos, etc)along with the strength work, this will happen. Pay attention to Charlie’s advice!
The workout usually progresses as like this 1st warm-up @ 65% of workset weight 3-5 reps and 2nd warm-up @85% of workset weight 2-4 reps then the 1-3 worksets depending upon how late or deep you are into the maintenance phase.
In the past, we had done a power or conversion phase but now, thanks to the advice of CF, we will always shift to a maintenance phase after performing max strength work. I hope that helps further, good luck.

Originally posted by Pioneer
I started first(in maintenance) with a progession similar to what Charlie suggested of 3x2(setsxreps) for 2-3 weeks and progressed to 2x2 for 2 weeks then to 2x1 or 1x2 for 1-2 weeks.

Good stuff Pioneer! :clap:

Question about the maintenance progression. I thought that in maintenace, we didn’t do much cycling of weights but just kept it at 3x2 or 3x3 until we taper for a peak. It looks like you are advocating a long weight taper, possibly keeping overall CNS load consistent through more running as the weights are reduced, no?

It looks like your maintenance cycle is about 7 weeks max, what do you do at the end of this time? Also, at what point do you find that you are not doing enough volume in the weight room to maintain your strength?



Thanks xlr8. Though the load stays fairly constant the sets and reps do vary(see drop) based upon Charlie’s recommendations. I did not reduce everyone’s numbers at the same rate but I did progress most of my people that way. You are correct in your assessment. My maintenance phase does really involve a taper as you say, though since I am in the last two weeks(now 8 days) of my season. You are right that there will be a point where such a limited volume will not do much to maintain strength. Not to cop out but some individuals can do little to maintain and others will need higher volumes. Since I was just providing weekly ranges for possible situations my actual phase is more like 5 weeks. The only others I have to concern myself about is setting up cycles for those who elect to do Junior Olympics this summer since our season will be over on May 18th-high school season. By the way, Charlie made some recommendations about strength maintenance on the old forum-do a search for a thread on “hypertrophy for later strength gains” that I found to be very useful. I hope this helps.

Thanks Pioneer. So looking through the archives, it looks like I should keep my intensities (read weight %) pretty consistent at about my 5-6RM weights (thats about 80% of a 1RM?) and then keep the reps and sets at around 2 or 3 and dropping this number as I get closer to a peak?

Yeah, that’s my interpretation of it also. It seems to be a pretty good plan. I constantly refer back to that thread.

just to clarify things i may not be getting. so if i am in maintence and my 1 rep max is 300 and my 3 rep max is 275 then 275/1.2=229. so i would do my work sets with 229? prior to this, in the max strength phase i was working out around 265x3. i know i can do 229 probably for sets of 8 easily so doing 3 reps at such a low intensity will maintain my strength level? 229 is only about 70% of my 1 rep max and 83% of my 3 rep max.

just bringing this thread back to the top so it is not overlooked…:saint:

I’ll have to look at the calculations at home. I have the conversion numbers and calculator at home so I’ll definitely try to respond again tomorrow. For one it should be pointed out that some people are able to move relatively higher weights during higher reps and others can move relatively higher weights during low rep phases to the point where the various rm conversions don’t work as well for them or at least require some adjusting. I know that I personally can move a lot more weight than the higher reps I can do would indicate so I have to convert first and then move up the predicted rm’s for certain exercises. Also, you may want to re-look at what you 3rm is-it may be be higher than you believe and that might be why it is so much easier. During maintenance I feel that when you complete your set you should feel as though the weight was not necessarily light, you could have gotten another 4-6 reps if you had wanted to.

great post.
thanx alot for taking the time to think about it and write such an indepth response.

Q, based upon the conversion from 3rm to 1rm that Dennis Weis put in T-mag a 275 3rm would convert to 308 for a 1rm though this is obviously not written in stone and for some this number might be a bit different- up or down. Also you said you had been “…working out around 265 x 3” if you were doing multiple sets at this number I would suggest that your 3rm is higher than 275 for 3 if that is the case. Also if one’s 3rm is 275 that would equate(based on my experience) that you would probably be able to do 3 sets at around 261 for 3 sets of 3 reps which is around 95% of the 3rm. The 229.166 from the 275/1.2 would equate to about 88% of capacity for that 3x3 with one fewer rep per set. I think the important thing to remember is that even though the number may look low is that you are doing multiple worksets and that will go further to maintaining strength then it might appear initially if one were to look primarily at the weight itself and not the accompanying volume. Also the coefficients I came up with are just starting points and though they worked well for me you might need to adjust up or down though proabably not significantly.

I was also thinking, on a side note, that though maintenance work might not fit the classical definition of conversion in the sense that provided you are trying to move the bar quickly(as in C.A.T.) the lower intensities might allow higher power outputs then would occur with the higher intensities. The approximate intensity would be around 70-75% and though that it is certainly not the 55-60% that is said to be(by some strength research) the intensity where the highest outputs occur in exercises such as bench/incline/squats it would be a lot closer to those numbers. I have seen some research specifiying a range of 50-70% as the the area where the highest outputs occur. Therefore the peak power values obtained(as seen through various performances as sprint times, jump heights/distances, med ball throws, etc.) during maintenance might be a combination of the fiber conversion that tapering allows both in terms of volumes and intensities and and actual improvement in strength through increased recovery/freshness after the max. strength phase and the higher power outputs and RFD’s that are permitted/possible through lighter intensities. Maybe, maybe not-just a thought.

Quik, you are welcome and I hope you are able to get some benefit from some of my nonsense.

Good stuff Pioneer. There are many methods to arrive at systems but the one constant for success is a results-driven plan that is repeatable. A predictable method of weight loading frees you to make adjustments in other, more difficult to control, power-related componants more easily and predictably.