The other day I was having a discussion with IFAST Olympic-lifter Adam Coons, and we got started on the topic of speed work. Adam is a guy that’s been putting in a lot of hard work under the bar, and he has recently started using some dynamic effort training in his programming.
Speed work has been popularized over the years by the teachings of powerlifting guru Louie Simmons, although he credits Zatsiorsky for teaching him about the various types of training; name the maximal effort, dynamic effort, and repetition effort methods.
But this got me thinking about speed work in general.
Is it really “speed” work that is giving the people results? Or is it something simpler that that?
Keep in mind, Louie started using the dynamic effort method with guys that were already pretty freaking strong, at least by normal human standards.
For these guys, maybe it wasn’t so much the fact that they were doing speed work, but the fact that they weren’t training hard every single day that made them better? Kind of like a forced deload?
On the other hand, what about guys that aren’t as strong – why do some of them get great results from speed work, even though they don’t have the same strength base as the elite level guys?
In their case, I would argue that it isn’t so much the fact that they’re training for speed, as the fact that they’re getting some low-threshold technical training worked into their programming.
Instead of doing 5, 8 or even 10 sloppy reps, they’re performing 1, 2 or 3 high quality, technically sound repetitions per set instead.
So it’s not necessarily the fact that they’re training for speed, but the fact that they’re really starting to dial their technique in that gives them the most carryover.
Finally, you can’t discount the fact that lower-level lifters often lack confidence in their lifts. Maybe all that grooving and technical work pays dividends, as now they are more comfortable and confident getting under the bar.
Lots of random thoughts in this post, but I’m interested to hear from you guys as well.
Have you used speed work in your programming? And if so, what were the results?
Finally, do you feel it was the fact that you got faster that improved your results?
I look forward to your comments and feedback below!
(Lead Photo Courtesy of Westside Barbell)