Maintenance/Competition Period

I am just finishing up a 3-1-3 max strength training block and since spring football season is starting soon, I’m wondering what levels of intensity and volume I should maintain for my weightlifting in the competition phase.

For example, during the last couple of weeks, I have been working at up to 110% of my maxes at the start of the cycle. My volumes have been on the order of 21-24 total sets of 3 or less reps. This does not include warmups. For example, it would work out to about 4 - 6 sets of snatches/cleans, 4 - 6 sets of squats, 4 - 6 sets of benches, 3 - 4 sets of SLDLs or good mornings and 3 - 4 sets of shoulder press or rows.

What is the minimal amount of lifting I can do to maintain my strength levels? I have already noticed drops in my lifiting capacity simply because the weather here has improved and I’ve been doing more sprinting.

I was thinking that I should try to maintain my intensity levels, that is work near 100% of my new maxes and drop the volume by about 25%. However, I’m pretty sure that I will not be able to sustain lifting at near-max levels for more than a couple of weeks. So, should I drop to 95% levels? 90%? What about volumes? Is dropping the sets and reps by 25% enough? Finally, should I be doing any week-to-week variations of my intensities and volumes while in the maintenance phase or should my lifting stay the same every week?

I was also planning on dropping my use of the olympic lifts during this phase since the sprinting and football seem to negatively impact the loads I can handle on these lifts in the gym. That says to me that I don’t need them if my sprinting volume is high enough. Good idea or flawed reasoning?

Any insights would be appreciated!


As your sprint work is going up, your lifting capacity wll go down- but this does NOT mean that your losing strength. If you have a break from the sprinting, your lifts will go up again. If this is a comp/maint phase, when will your speed work be reduced?

I guess the issue with speed work is that the weather here has not been conducsive to speed work, so the volumes that I have been running are already quite low (on the order of 700m last week, but note that I’m not doing any speed endurance work.) So I’m not sure that it would be prudent to drop the volume of speed work any lower!

I’m not in my competition phase yet, so should I perhaps work towards a couple of weeks of increasing speed volume while lowering the weight volume, then reduce the speed work for competition?


A 2 to 1 mix of speed to speed end work should aid in prep as well as serve to reduce the CNS stress at this stage.

Since I’m training for football, I was not actually planning on doing any speed end work. Rarely do I have to run more than 60m in a straight line and if I get that far, I’m usually in the clear.

So, could I instead substitute my agility work for speed end? Agility would be defined as zig-zag runs, 5-10-5, cone runs, etc. My reasoning is that this type of running is not a stressful on the CNS as top speed work because you never actually get to top speed. On the other hand, it is more stressful than tempo. All of the accelerations and decellerations could push it up to a higher intensity level than speed end, but I’m not sure. I tend to find that I get more muscular fatigue than CNS fatigue with agility…what do you think?