T Nation

DE/Speed Work for Raw Lifters


#1

There has been some debate on this topic, I'm not trying to reignite things but I just want to hear peoples' personal experiences and opinions on this. DE seems to work well for equipped lifters, multi-ply in particular, but I'm not sure whether it is as effective for raw lifters.


#2

And by the way, Mike Tuchscherer’s argument against speed work was based on the idea that you can’t develop maximal force with submaximal weights. He was not taking into consideration the effects of accommodating resistance, as well as the effects of doing multiple sets with short breaks. At some point you are likely to be generating maximal force.


#3

I’ve done it w/ no benefit to how WS does DE work.

However, when using 75-90% for singles for speed/explosion, I’ve benefitted greatly.

I find it’s more beneficial for form and a little more specific to powerlifting than doubles and triples using DE.


#4

Speed work makes up a very large portion of Sam Byrd’s (915 at 220 squat) and my (700 @209) squat training. We hardly ever go over 60% in the offseason and only get heavy 10 weeks out of a meet. I wont say it helps my deadlift or bench as much (mostly because we dont use it as much there) but, for raw squatting it works amazingly for me. Sam literally told me I was going to squat 700lbs no problem this meet cycle based off my speed work with 325lbs about 12 weeks ago… and sure enough he got it right. I dont know Mike’s stance on speed work but, I know for me it works and it will be in my training for a very long time.


#5

[quote]chris_ottawa wrote:
There has been some debate on this topic, I’m not trying to reignite things but I just want to hear peoples’ personal experiences and opinions on this. DE seems to work well for equipped lifters, multi-ply in particular, but I’m not sure whether it is as effective for raw lifters.[/quote]

The dynamic effort method was very effective in the original westside barbell before even the very ineffective blast shirts existed. DE work seems to work well for equipped lifters because Westside, where DE work is done best, is mostly a multiply gym.

I am a raw lifter and I find use in it, especially with accommodated resistance. At the worst it keeps you doing the competition lifts weekly in a range that is optimal according to prillipen’s chart so you can still get volume in on your big lifts for improvement of skill and technique and keep yourself from becoming slow. At best it improves your explosive strength, is a good tool for peaking (if you use the right cycles), and helps you with your sticking point/weakness.

I recommend accommodated resistance, I recommend heavier bands/chains and lighter (straight) weight if you have top end weaknesses, and more straight weight and less bands/chains if you have a bottom end weakness.

The basic cycles for a 300-400 pound bencher/400-500 pound squatter is

Squat: 60/63/68% with straight weight (feel free to do 60/65/70% if you do straight weight) or chains. Chains=80 pounds up top, performed off of a parallel box
spd strength: 52/55/58% against about 100-120-ish pounds of band tension (double cinched lights or single cinched averages off of a 3x3 base works well for this), str spd A: 25/35/40% against 200-250-ish pounds of band tension

You can also go off of a low box, do them as free squats, or pause. The above cycles work okay as free squats, you might want to bump up the weight slightly or do them paused if you opt for free squats. I like to do them off a box because DE work beats up my knees and hips for my squat style. The above cycles are guide lines, never do str spd cycles back to back, always follow it with a spd str cycle or maybe even a chain or straight weight cycle. str spd week 1: 6X3, week 2: 5X3, week 3: 3X3 then go work up to a max/near max without missing

Bench cycles: this is the fun part

The most prevalent recommendation is to do flat waves, I have no experience with that. Ideally you don’t want to ever get more than 70% at the bottom and 85% up top unless you do a heavy band/chain cycle or circa max.

The most common way to cycle these is to adjust accommodated resistance and what type of press you do. This is based off of your weakness.

Generally speaking the basic straight weight 60/60/60% (may want to raise the weight up to 65%, I haven’t had a chance to try that cycle) or 60/60/60% with 40 pounds of chains, or 50/50/50% against doubled minis will always work regardless of your weakness. Band cycles are good if you need to work on lowering the bar faster, chain cycles are normally good for stability/normal accommodated resistance, and straight weight is more practicing your technique and letting your shoulders and elbows recover from bands (chains work well for this too).

If you are weak off of the chest:
Floor presses with the same percentages as the bench cycles, take 5% off if you feel slow
single board press 55/55/55%, you can use chains and bands if you want just take 10% off for bands and possibly 5% off for chains
normal bench cycles

If you are weak mid:
normal bench cycles
floor press cycles
fat grip chain cycle 45/50/55%
fat grip band cycle 40/45/50%

If you are weak at lockout:
This is the fun stuff
normal bench cycles
heavy bands 30/35/40% against doubled monster minis or old worn out doubled light bands (god help you on this cycle) 5 sets of 3, you are going to want to work up to a heavy weight on the second week and a max (without missing) on the third day
heavy chains 40/40/40% against 120 pounds of chains 5 sets of 3 same deal as heavy bands
circa max (peaking, prob don’t need to know this cycle)
fat bar cycles

Everything past the floor press and normal bench cycles is credited to Dave Tate’s bench manual. I’ve gotten good results just from straight weight/bands/chains waved like you would squats, but the above cycles should be good. Everything except the circamax and heavy accommodated resistance cycles are 8X3 for bench, and 8X2 for squat.

There you go, my take on DE work and some cycles. If you see percentages mentioned for a cycle, it is probably referring to the equiped max so you need to add about 5-10% to it so that it works for you.

BTW I recommend buying the E book I got some of the bench cycles from. It is cheap and has a lot of useful information if you are starting out using these methods (which you probably are), and still has some interesting/useful things if you already know the methods decently. Generally speaking the ME, DE, and RE all feed each other. If you get stronger, then you can move more weight faster, and if you can move that weight faster then you can lift more, and you need the RE method because you can’t flex bone and to address weaknesses/keep your joints and muscles healthy.

Train hard, optimally, and most importantly, smart.

One last thing, bro, but what are your lifts and why are you asking these conjugate method related questions?


#6

I have no personal experience in this department but its interesting to read opinions/experiences on it from raw lifters. I think people disregard certain styles of training too soon, and this may be a case for some. Matt Wenning spoke about this recently saying the effectiveness on speed work is more apparent for advanced raw lifters, I think in a supertraining video.

Also Reed would you mind giving a brief breakdown of you and Sam’s approach if you don’t mind?


#7

It seems like it can be beneficial for some people depending on how it’s performed. I did them a long time ago but I never got very tight in my setup so there isn’t much to learn from that experience. I think I overdid the “explosion” and technique was just worse overall. I remember Richard Hawthorne saying to steadily generate force instead of jerking the weight and that makes sense to me. Tightness shouldn’t be sacrificed for bar speed.

The general concept of cycling through intensity for progression does support the use of lighter intensity so I think that it can work. It just depends on how low of an intensity is still effective for people. It’s probably worth a shot trying (if you’re considering it) since it has worked for some.


#8

[quote]Destrength wrote:
One last thing, bro, but what are your lifts and why are you asking these conjugate method related questions?[/quote]

lol


#9

Thanks for all the replies, it sounds like DE work may be worth doing after all.

Destrength: Since you ask, my lifts are 425/345/508. I did the squat (3 separate times) and bench in January during an experiment with the Bulgarian method, I wasn’t able to keep up with that kind of training but since then I haven’t made a lot of progress either. I took some bad advice and ended up having a shitty meet a couple weeks ago, my deadlift was technically a PR because I never maxed out in training but nothing else was where it should have been, I was stronger 5-7 weeks before the meet. I’m interested in the conjugate method because I hear a lot of things about it, both good and bad, but it seems like a lot of people who didn’t get anywhere with it were doing something seriously wrong. I may try it out in the near future.


#10

[quote]chris_ottawa wrote:
Thanks for all the replies, it sounds like DE work may be worth doing after all.

Destrength: Since you ask, my lifts are 425/345/508. I did the squat (3 separate times) and bench in January during an experiment with the Bulgarian method, I wasn’t able to keep up with that kind of training but since then I haven’t made a lot of progress either. I took some bad advice and ended up having a shitty meet a couple weeks ago, my deadlift was technically a PR because I never maxed out in training but nothing else was where it should have been, I was stronger 5-7 weeks before the meet. I’m interested in the conjugate method because I hear a lot of things about it, both good and bad, but it seems like a lot of people who didn’t get anywhere with it were doing something seriously wrong. I may try it out in the near future.[/quote]
Damn, you are actually more advanced than me (assuming you compete below 220, I am at 415/315/465 at 195 and 17 years old). I was mostly just making sure a novice wasn’t going to do anything that would get them injured or killed.

Give it a try, it’s pretty nice. Max effort good mornings to anything more than a heavy triple or suspended good mornings is an atrocious idea though. One last thing; your deadlift will suck if you don’t do them on DE/ME day occasionally.


#11

FYI: The strongest SHW in the world in singly ply currently does NO speed work and totaled 2502 (1003 walk out squat) (#3 all time single ply total) at his last meet and will probably shatter that come December. The one thing I can say about him is that he rode the same thing until he was forced to make adjustments. He got everything he could out of a particular training method, but made small adjustments and never abandoned his base strength completely. To be honest, many of us just never stick w/ anything long enough to see continued progress.

It comes down to what makes you grow.

And remember, DE work (depending on the offseason or not) can have a MASS amount of volume if you do it the way WS does it.


#12

[quote]chris_ottawa wrote:
Thanks for all the replies, it sounds like DE work may be worth doing after all.

Destrength: Since you ask, my lifts are 425/345/508. I did the squat (3 separate times) and bench in January during an experiment with the Bulgarian method, I wasn’t able to keep up with that kind of training but since then I haven’t made a lot of progress either. I took some bad advice and ended up having a shitty meet a couple weeks ago, my deadlift was technically a PR because I never maxed out in training but nothing else was where it should have been, I was stronger 5-7 weeks before the meet. I’m interested in the conjugate method because I hear a lot of things about it, both good and bad, but it seems like a lot of people who didn’t get anywhere with it were doing something seriously wrong. I may try it out in the near future.[/quote]

I’ve used bands a bit for squat and bench, not quite the DE template though. It works well for me in the squat, and did some good on bench. I’m about to start using it for bench again.

My lifts are similar to yours in squat and DL, much lower on bench (484/247/561 at 210ish), and I compete wrapped. What I like about bands is that they mimic the feel of a wrapped squat quite well and also force to you keep a RIGID torso throughout.