The present study looked to examine reduced volume 'daily max' (near max loads) training compared to higher volume periodized training in powerlifters preparing for competition. Ten competitive powerlifters were split into 2 groups (MAX group and PER group) and participated in a 10-week training intervention either following a "daily max" training protocol or a traditional periodized training protocol while preparing for competition. All participants underwent 1RM testing for squat (SQ), bench press (BP) and deadlift (DL) prior to the 10-week intervention. The MAX group performed single sets of single repetitions using a load equating to an RPE rating of 9⁻9.5 while the PER group performed higher volume periodized training with loads ranging from 70%1RM up to 93%1RM as well as a taper at the final weeks of the training intervention. Both groups were tested after the 10-week training intervention at the Greek IPF-affiliate National Championships. In the PER group, powerlifting (PL) total increased for P1 and P3 by 2% and 6.5% respectively while P2 experienced no change. In the MAX group PL total increased for P1 and P2 by 4.8% and 4.2% respectively while it decreased by 0.5%, 3.4% and 5% for P3, P4 and P5 respectively. In the MAX group peri PL total increased for P1⁻4 by 3.6%, 4.2%, 4.5% and 1.8% respectively while it decreased by 1.2% for P5. The results of this pilot study show that single-set, single-rep, RPE based 'daily max' training may be a favorable strategy for some beginner-intermediate powerlifters preparing for competition while it may lead to performance decreases for others. Further, it suggests that performance may be comparable to traditional periodized training during shorter training cycles, though future work with larger samples is needed to further test this. Practically 'daily max' training may be useful for PL athletes looking to maintain strength during periods with limited training time available.
Keywords: daily max; muscle strength; powerlifting; resistance training; training volume.