Brandon Humphrey’s Mkin Major Paper Presentation

Title: “A Review of Supramaximal Resistance Training: Current Understandings and Practical Applications for Athletic Populations”

Supervisor: Dr. Darren Warburton (Kinesiology)
Second Reader: Dr. Maria Gallo (Kinesiology)


Background: supramaximal resistance training (SRT) involves applying heavy eccentric loads above concentric one-repetition maximum (1-RM). Current understandings in the field appear inconclusive as to SRT’s effectiveness compared to traditional concentric-eccentric submaximal loading.

Purpose: The aim of this literature review was to examine the potential applications of SRT in resistance trained athletes, with a focus towards its safety, effectiveness, practical applications, and future research.

Methods: A literature review was conducted via a search of the University of British Columbia online library, PubMed, Web of Science, Research Gate, and Google Scholar. Search terms included but were not limited to: “supramaximal resistance training,” “applications of supramaximal resistance training,” “eccentric supramaximal training” and “training above one repetition maximum.” Key omissions were aerobic supramaximal training, isokinetic dynamometry, and eccentric flywheel overload training.

Results: Of the nine studies and one meta-analysis reviewed, studies trended to find a null difference between SRT and traditional submaximal lifting among untrained individuals. In the three studies that examined resistance trained individuals, significant findings indicated that SRT can be effective in producing strength and power adaptations which may be greater in magnitude than those elicited with submaximal training, but which are not definitively greater.

Conclusion: SRT shows promise as a safe and performance-enhancing training stimulus in trained athletes when applied properly and with considerations of training periodization in mind.

Keywords: supramaximal resistance training, eccentric overload, strength, power