View Full Version : Force Production and Speed Training

Travis Bell
11-19-2013, 07:47 AM
Getting some of my track athletes ready for indoor season we do a lot of different stuff with sled dragging.

One of the things that we do is timed pulls for a specified distance with varying amounts of weight. Always walking, never running, but they are to walk as fast as they possibly can.

What we discovered is that as we added more weight, the athletes began to pull the sled faster and faster, which makes sense because they were able to push harder against the sled.

Obviously there is a point of diminishing returns on something like this but the principle really applies to speed training in the squat or bench press.

Training your body to produce more force requires you train with the right weight as well as quickly. This is also where accomodating resistance comes into play. If used correctly you'll actually end up being able to move weights faster.


11-20-2013, 12:05 AM
That makes sense. I've heard most guys don't use percents for speed work. They add weight until it gets too slow, then go back to where it was fast enough. That way you aren't selling yourself short on how much you can do. I'm not sure if that's changed or not.

I have noticed people often decelerate at the top if there's no bands/chains. The bands/chains accommodate so you can generate max force the whole lift without going through the lift at the top.

11-20-2013, 12:26 AM
There's a lot of this and compensatory acceleration training in Josh Bryant's Bench Press book that I've been carrying over to the bench. I do what Marcus outlined, when speed decelerates I'll back off and do my speed work. The idea of working on a sticking point in a lift is slightly diminished if you can simply plow through it with speed.

11-23-2013, 11:13 AM
I have had some solid results this meet cycle with heavier speed work in the 70-80% range. I've never done speed work over 60% in the past.

11-28-2013, 11:58 PM
Can someone explain the difference between "CAT" and what west side calls speed work? I cannot understand why cat is apparently a totally different Idea when everything I have read describes straight weight speed work, for slightly higher reps than west side. Sorry to get off topic btw.

11-29-2013, 12:10 AM
CAT is what people called speed work before bands/chains. Dr Squat did it. If you talk to Ed Coan, he tried to be as fast and explosive as possible on reps.

Jonathan E
12-02-2013, 10:52 PM
For the younger guys, what's the best way to gauge if you're going fast enough, or not fast enough? Where is the line? Or would following percentages based on your recent max for the specific lift be best?

12-03-2013, 03:08 AM
From "Bench Press: The Science" by Josh Bryant
CAT is most often applied to sub maximal weights (50-80% of your 1RM), but the same explosive intent has to be applied to maximum weights. Performing a max effort bench press requires maximum force production in the bottom portion of the lift, but as you lock the weight out, your ability to produce force increases. If your max is 400lbs in the bench press, 400lbs is your weakest in your weakest range of motion will require 100 percent effort, causing adaptive overload.

However in your strongest portion of the lift most lifters as they approach lockout, may be able to produce 600lbs of force. As the lift becomes easier, because of increased leverage, the natural inclination is to halt maximum force production and take a free ride home. Our goal is not energy conservation! It is the training effect throughout the entire range of motion, and this can only be accomplished with Compensatory Acceleration Training.
As leverage improves, lay off cruise control and compensate by ramping up force production. This is Compensatory Acceleration Training.

A quote from the book I most like is from Bill Zazmaier regarding how he envisions the bench press. "I see a big explosion going off, blowing things up. The same way I will blow the weight up. I lift it up as fast as possible." Same school of thought Ed Coan uses. You have to attack the weight.

The book lays out using CAT as 75% of training max for 4 sets of 3 reps, 90 seconds rest in between each set. Before you attack CAT, you should warm up properly and attack a 90% bench press for 2 reps. Again, from Bench Press: The Science, "Perform a heavy set first, you will be more explosive because of Post-Activation Potentiation (PAP effect. Yuri Verhoshansky explains it like this, "When you perform a 3-5 RM followed by light explosive set...to your nervous system it's like lifting a 1/2 can of water when you think it's full."

I highly suggest buying the ebook and reading through. It's only $11 and full of gold nuggets. Here's an article on CAT as well.

12-03-2013, 09:01 AM
Speed training is very important to me. I realized a much better bench when I treated my speed work as importantly as I treated my max effort. However, I had to be very instinctive because if I pushed one day too hard, it would effect the other. For this reason I don't like pre determined numbers for speed work.

To me speed is like ME in the fact that you know whether you have it or you don't while your working your way up. If you felt like you were at an RPE of 9-10 you wouldn't toss a bunch more weight on for another set of ME. So if a certain weight is slow on speed it does not make sense to add more weight so you hit a certain %.

Travis Bell
12-03-2013, 09:57 AM
Obviously I'm a huge fan of speed work but I find it hard to believe that people can use anything over 60% and move it fast? Maybe I'm just slow haha