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Thread: An argument against speed work

  1. #1
    Moderator joey54's Avatar
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    An argument against speed work

    Mike Tuscherer is quite the accomplished powerlifter and writes some good articles about it. In this one he discusses why he feels speed work may be unnecessary. This is a topic which has come up on our board on occasion and felt we could probably have some fun talking about it.

    http://www.jtsstrength.com/articles/...k-doesnt-work/


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    A gallon a day, everyday! ThomasG's Avatar
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    Louie is a retard. 5/3/1 is for shitty lifters, smolov is for douche bags.

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  3. #3
    Cardio bunny Alex.V's Avatar
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    1) Fmax does not alone determine bar movement- this is a very surprising error to make. If Fmax alone was what is required to move a bar, a powerlifter could not lift a given weight, he or she would simply budge it for a split second then get crushed under it. Rate of Force Development (RFD) until the actual minimal force required to begin bar movement is what matters, not just Fmax. The primary argument for speed work is NOT necessarily improving Fmax, but improving RFD. If one wants to argue that A) Explosive training does not improve RFD, or B) RFD against a lighter load does not translate to RFD against a heavier load, then this is the issue that should be discussed, not that a powerlifter is only concerned with Fmax. Incidentally, an athlete with a higher Fmax but lower RFD may fail under a lower weight than a lifter with a lower Fmax and higher RFD, because the latter athlete may have the required area under the curve (duration during which exerted force is sufficient to actually move the bar) versus the former athlete, who may take so long to begin driving that he will have fatigued before the weight finishes has moved the full distance.

    btw, arguing that explosive training does not improve RFD is not an easy point to make. I do not envy anybody who wishes to take that stance.

    2) Lifting a light weight explosively may not necessarily produce failure in the same areas as lifting a heavy weight slowly, but it will certainly highlight errors in form. You would NOT tell an Olympic lifter to ONLY train with weights over 75-80%, because anything under there is useless, would you? I'd argue too many American Oly lifters train too light too often, and not heavy enough often enough, but again, the stance that "lighter weight to practice technique is useless" is one that I certainly wouldn't want to take! There's certainly something to be said for practicing explosive power engagement in the hole, focusing on sudden leg drive in the concentric portion of the bench, or minimizing time spent at the bottom of a pull. While my speed pulls @ 400 may not cause the upper back rounding of my max pulls @ 700, by the third fast rep I can certainly see where I'm predisposed to break down.
    Last edited by Alex.V; 03-30-2013 at 09:33 AM.
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    Powerlifter/Strongman J L S's Avatar
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    I think thomas has hit the nail on the head above.

    Two very proven systems, and a bunch of top powerlifters involved on both scenes. The wealth of info and opinions that have been spewing back and forth everywhere about this stuff has been unreal. Theres a bigger picture to it all for me though. The common denominator? They all/both have lifted consistently for a long time smartly and obviously work hard = results.
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    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex.V View Post
    1) Fmax does not alone determine bar movement- this is a very surprising error to make. If Fmax alone was what is required to move a bar, a powerlifter could not lift a given weight, he or she would simply budge it for a split second then get crushed under it. Rate of Force Development (RFD) until the actual minimal force required to begin bar movement is what matters, not just Fmax. The primary argument for speed work is NOT necessarily improving Fmax, but improving RFD. If one wants to argue that A) Explosive training does not improve RFD, or B) RFD against a lighter load does not translate to RFD against a heavier load, then this is the issue that should be discussed, not that a powerlifter is only concerned with Fmax. Incidentally, an athlete with a higher Fmax but lower RFD may fail under a lower weight than a lifter with a lower Fmax and higher RFD, because the latter athlete may have the required area under the curve (duration during which exerted force is sufficient to actually move the bar) versus the former athlete, who may take so long to begin driving that he will have fatigued before the weight finishes has moved the full distance.

    btw, arguing that explosive training does not improve RFD is not an easy point to make. I do not envy anybody who wishes to take that stance.

    2) Lifting a light weight explosively may not necessarily produce failure in the same areas as lifting a heavy weight slowly, but it will certainly highlight errors in form. You would NOT tell an Olympic lifter to ONLY train with weights over 75-80%, because anything under there is useless, would you? I'd argue too many American Oly lifters train too light too often, and not heavy enough often enough, but again, the stance that "lighter weight to practice technique is useless" is one that I certainly wouldn't want to take! There's certainly something to be said for practicing explosive power engagement in the hole, focusing on sudden leg drive in the concentric portion of the bench, or minimizing time spent at the bottom of a pull. While my speed pulls @ 400 may not cause the upper back rounding of my max pulls @ 700, by the third fast rep I can certainly see where I'm predisposed to break down.
    I'll post more about this soon, but in point #1 above you touched on another error the author made, he said there is NO time component to powerlifting. He is dead wrong. As you said, volitional maximal effort cannot be expended indefinitely.


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  6. #6
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    He does make some good points. I do "speed work", 8x2 with accomidating resistance. Its not light though, its hard work and is probly the hardest part of all the training i do. THe way mike describes it sounds like its easy work or something. Another thing the speed work does, is performing 8 sets, with short rest gives you a lot of sets to practice your setup and reinforce the whole lift. The weights can move fast, but not feel easy or light.
    Sort of a ramble but i tihnk mikes article has good points.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Paulo_Santos's Avatar
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    I gotta start hanging out in here more often. Some great threads lately.

    I've been getting away from bands or chains on my DE days and just using 55-65% of my 1RM like Brandon prescribes in The Cube and I feel for me as a raw lifter, it is better for me. I still consider it speed work, but just focusing more on form and exploding from the bottom. So far, after 3 weeks, I'm liking it and my numbers continue to go up, so I'll stick with it for a few more cycles and re-evaluate.

  8. #8
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    I notice a huge difference already in my power out of the hole for squat and off the chest for bench since I started speed work 3 weeks ago.

    But I was very, very slow to begin with so I can see if you're already explosive, you might not see benefit.

  9. #9
    Wannabebig Member 700's Avatar
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    I liked this article's response:
    http://articles.elitefts.com/trainin...c-effort-work/

    and also like what bret contreras weighed in with...

    To be honest, I have never really trained with DE per se, but am starting to consider incorporating it.
    Last edited by 700; 03-31-2013 at 12:06 PM.
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