The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of reduced effort on maximum countermovement jumps. Groups of unskilled and skilled jumpers performed countermovement jumps without an arm swing at 100% and 50% effort. The results revealed markedly reduced jump height and work performed at 50% effort, although the maximum force and power output remained virtually unchanged. The observed differences were consistent across individuals with different jumping skills. A possible cause of differences in changes across the tested variables was a reduced countermovement depth associated with the 50% effort jumps. It is known to cause an increase in maximum force and power outputs, but not in jump height. Therefore, the jump height and work performed may be more closely related to our sense of effort when jumping, rather than our maximum force and power output. From a practical perspective, the present findings reiterate the importance of maximizing effort for making valid assessments of muscle mechanical capacities, as tested by maximal vertical jumps and, possibly, other maximum performance tasks.