T Nation

Gain Speed and Power?



I desire to train to gain significant speed improvement as well as the power improvement.

Currently, I am boxing and I need that speed and power improvement in the whole body and I read a few articles about:

1) Type I (Slow-twitch) muscles
2) Type IIa (Fast-twitch) muscles
3) Type IIb (Faster*-fast-twitch) muscles

and that there is also Neural slow-twitch/fast-twitch nerves. In one article about the boxing, the author wrote that any weight lifts could slow me down.

As you might already have guessed I want to research more about body, how it works and to find/make workout that would train me in order to make me faster and bring more power since F = ma...

Can you link me to the articles, workouts or explain yourself how can I improve my speed and power?

Thanks so much in advance and I would greatly appreciate along with being really grateful for any of your help, advice and recommendation.


I won't be able to add much relevant information in terms of boxing-specific advise, however, that ONE(1) article you read on weight-lifting slowing you down... should probably not be one of the articles you store in your brain.


Oh yeah, look how slow he is.

That being said... If you have to make time for weights OR boxing, choose boxing. Doing both will be best, but to become a better and faster boxer you must box. Hit the speed bag and practice jumping.


nighthawkz, Claudan thanks for your response, I will do the things you recommend and I need some more information on how to increase my fast-twitch nerves and fast-twitch (IIb) muscles. If anyone knows something or has seen some articles about it, could you please share the information?


Lift heavy weights explosively. And keep getting stronger.

That's... pretty much it.

But look through the article archives here. There's a number of articles discussing fiber types. Or use the search in the top right and search for "fast-twitch" and go through those results.

If you want something more specific to combat training, post a question in the Combat forum.


Get the eBook, WS4SB v3.

Do the program for 4-6 months.

Don't just do the program, learn what he is teaching you, whey the different approaches, rep set, etc.

You will learn more about what you are asking by doing this program, then reading any books.



and read around the combat forum


A 16-year old who's 6-feet tall and 167 pounds should not be wasting mental energy reading about these kinds of concepts. A few years down the road, fine, but for now, the more simple you approach training, the better.

Unless that article was written sometime before 1965, the author has no idea what he's talking about. Every serious athlete today lifts weights to improve their performance. Choosing not to lift is the same as choosing to give your opponent an advantage.

Less time learning physics, more time learning to lift.

Do this:

It's a three day a week program designed to turn young, skinny kids into strong, fast, powerful athletes. That's what you need.

Also, eat better. Protein, carbs, and fat in each meal, three meals a day, seven days a week. The more you can cook for yourself (even something simple like eggs), the better off you'll be. Do you have a weight class to stay under?


Thanks for all, I will try to find articles and read all of your recommendations. If anyone knows something interesting too, please share it.


Thanks a lot, I will read all 3 parts and will start it as soon as possible. Should I take protein shakes? Unfortunately I do not have a weight class for now.



You should only take protein shakes if you think your protein intake from food isn't enough. The question can really only be answered ACCURATELY if you count your macros, thus knowing whether or not your protein numbers are met.

If anything, I would recommend getting some casein protein for night-time protein shakes, or you can replace that protein shake, with some type of cottage cheese mix before bed.

See what I mean?


Ok, I very much applaud your desire to learn more about the body. I will tell you this straight off: ignore, destroy, never listen to and ridicule ANY COACH who says "any weights will slow you down". I just wrote a novel length book underneath and I hope to hell you read it all otherwise I just really wasted a lot of time.

That is so completely false its equivalent would be me saying "the earth is flat and we never landed on the moon". We have abundant, complete, clear, and indisputable proof that is not true.

I get intensely angry just reading that!! You know what? People thought that was true for football players and wrestlers. What happened? They got stronger and faster when they lifted. They thought it was true for sprinters. What happened? The 100m world record is only, say 4 whole seconds FASTER now with sprinters who lift weights than it was before weights were involved in the sport decades ago.

I could go on and on. In fact, you want to know what happened to MMA athletes when they finally got serious about lifting? They got stronger, more powerful, and FASTER! The fact they can't box to save their life isn't the weights, it's the fact they don't train boxing adequately or have crappy "boxing" coaches along with poor technical efficiency. Their whole body explosiveness and power is far ahead of where they were before lifting seriously as part of their training.

OMFG I might have an aneurysm if I have to hear one more "trainer" say lifting makes a boxer slower. FUCK. God I could write a fucking BOOK on the reasons that's complete bullshit. Breathe....breathe....

Ok, soap box off.

1st) As a beginner to weight training the following is true: 1) any training now will make you stronger and probably more powerful. Speed is a function of punching technical efficiency with boxing, so it will not make you faster by default...but neither will it make you slower. Strength is the most essential as a complete newb to training--I am going to link a couple articles here which you need to read to understand the point--the point is very specific so do not take this as meaning you don't need to do speed work and power work (you do), and you don't need to condition (you really fucking do). Just the take home general point.... Link: http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/conditioning_is_a_sham&cr=

EDIT: Could only find the one. Maybe I can find the other later.

2) as a beginner, you will may possibly suffer bad DOMS soreness after lifting, which WILL impair your ability to be smooth and relaxing and "loose" while punching. This may or may not cause you to be slower in the very very short term--some people have trouble with it and others I have coaches never even get phased. It is only for a little bit: Rule of biology--every time you add something new into your program it increases DOMS, but as you get used to it it goes away and you can function just the same as before, if not better.

This happens with 100% of people that are new to weights or lifting--sometimes it even happens when you start push-ups if you've never done them before. DOMS will go away as you get used to training volume, a couple weeks max.

THIS CANNOT BE OVERSTATED--which is why I am putting it in caps--you need to recover from weight training appropriately. This will cut down on soreness and tightness, both good things for keeping your boxing training in high gear. Recovery from weight training is two part: 1) supplement with protein and carbs preferably during or after weight training 2) don't sit on your ass. Meaning, move around after your weight training and the day after as well. Soreness may or may not be unavoidable, but STIFFNESS is a function of time spent on your ass not moving blood through the body to clear metabolites and not stretching to keep range of motion.

Ever notice sometimes you feel more sore after taking a couple days off training than if you just did something light like jumping rope or jogging or push-ups? That's why. Light, very easy recovery work to move the blood around and specifically the muscles you trained with weights. Train legs? Move the legs through big ranges motion on easy shit. Train back? Stretch it and move it around to get the blood flowing with zero effort. Train arms or pushing movements? same thing, easy push-ups and stretches just to move around and keep cobwebs at bay. Not a workout--recovery and "loosening up". Big difference.

Those 2 things are key to adapting quickly and with minimal tightness and soreness to a new weights program.

Finally big point 3: weight training is not conditioning. Have a goal for your training time. Either condition or do strength and speed and power work. Not everything at once. You want to condition? Go condition. You want to lift weights for conditioning? Fine do it. But do not confuse your goals. Power and strength work with weights is 100% different than conditioning with weights. Same with speed work from conditioning work.

Case in point: Sprinters have learned this lesson well. Their max speed workouts are long rest periods, short runs working on efficient mechanics and maximum intensity (meaning trying to work up to their top speed), and/or acceleration. Their "conditioning" workouts on the other hand are brutal and geared around lots of volume with little rest, but done at a speed a little below their maximum--i.e. a "pace" they can maintain technically. They do not push all three at once in a training session.

Use that in your weight training. Either condition OR work power/speed/strength, not both, in one workout. A finisher for "conditioning" is fine, but do not make the workout an endurance fest. just the last 5 minutes of a workout, that's it.

More to come, if you read that novel.


Ok, specific to boxing:

Speed in boxing is primarily a) technical efficiency in punch mechanics b) weight transfer and pivot c) relaxation and staying loose d) strength of the muscles responsible for BRAKING the punch. Any time you tense up you lose speed. Note that you can only work on b) and d) with weights. The two main drivers of speed in boxing are technical and relaxation. Never forget this.

That being said you can increase your ability to powerfully transfer weight by heavily training your hips and legs to very rapidly transfer weight (explode quickly) and you can strengthen your muscles. What I said about braking the punch is important: what happens when somebody throws their arm out in baseball or hyperextends their leg in football? Often times one of the factors is that the muscles responsible for braking the arm were too fatigued or too weak to do their job so the tendons, ligaments, and joint structures had to do the job--suddenly--which led to the tear, sprain, or hyperextension.

What does this tell us? It tells us your back and your rotator cuff need to both be legitimately strong AND have endurance to be able to decelerate your arm safely. Follow me? So the interesting thing here is, the stronger the "safety" net is the stronger and often faster you can be. Your body takes the safety limiter off because it knows the structures are capable of handling the increased stress. Sometimes taking the safety limiter off takes some training (stuff like overspeed work for sprinting and a whole bunch of stuff you don't need to worry about for a loooong time), and sometimes it does not. Usually the newer you are the less specific training it takes :).

All of this assumes you have perfect technical efficiency, which is never really the case. However, assuming technical problems are not the issue holding speed down, training like this should have an effect on power and explosiveness via increasing the safety mechanisms' strength.


Finally, more specifics on speed, power, strength:

1) train compound movements that require lots of coordination between muscles. For all the 3 attributes. speed, power, and strength are all governed by the nervous system's ability to both coordinate and INTENSIFY movements requiring your whole body, or at least a large chunk of it.

Example: jumping--what is the best bodyweight only display of speed and power? Jumping or back flipping. Tumbling like a gymnast general right? But that takes way too much practice, so jumping. What does jumping require? 1) whole body coordination from arms (swinging) to abs (tightening to stabilize trunk and transmit force from the legs) to the legs driving, to the calves finishing. Even the back gets involved (both extending and stabilizing the torso) and 2) it requires maximum acceleration.

Two equally strong people can have massively different jumping abilities based on those things. If you can't accelerate rapidly you can't produce enough force to project yourself high. And quite obviously if you are not coordinating your body movements efficiently you cannot display the powerful acceleration you might be capable of producing with your muscles. So you need both. So to train any aspect of strength, speed, or power you need to train muscles to work together smoothly and coordinated, and you need to train your nervous system to INTENSIFY movements--produce force rapidly so you can accelerate quickly.

This means you save curls, tricep isolation shit, pullovers, and BS like that is saved for injury prevention purposes. Worth noting single leg work is extremely useful for athletes of all kinds, so single leg work should absolutely be done! That is not isolation or bodybuilding stuff. leg curls on a machine however are. Big difference from lunges to leg curls.

2) Low volume. All of the above are skills, and for your particular needs you need to train skills not like you bodybuild. So repetitions per set are lower than bodybuilding on big whole body lifts (squats, deadlifts, power cleans, overhead presses, high pulls, jumps, sprints, whatever). Save bodybuilding stuff and endurance stuff for building resistance to fatigue--your back, rotator cuff, and postural muscles. It goes either after all the speed/strength/power stuff as a "finisher" for your last 5-10 minutes of the workout or on an entirely separate day or workout. If you have problems keeping your hands up in late rounds I suppose you could also add to that specific fatigue resistance work for that.

Speed and explosiveness particularly. Strength can be trained while very fatigued, and power to a degree, although less so. Speed and pure explosion not so--this is why Olympic level sprinters do relatively low volume and long rest periods on a pure speed workout.

So take home message is keep your workouts targeted to exactly what you want to do volume wise. Conditioning workouts with weights? Fine, lower rest periods, ramp the repetitions up, endurance level work. But make sure your priorities don't creep away from you in a workout.

You really, really need specific conditioning to your sport, but the bigger your strength bucket is the bigger your reserve gas tank is (read the article I linked). As a very extreme example, I went and power snatched 265 lb in a cross fit gym about 6 weeks ago, squatted 225 lb for 20 reps, and crushed the crap out of their WOD complex with the kettlebell. I'm not in near the cardio fitness they are, but let's be honest--I can front squat near 400 lbs. A sissy little complex with a 70 lb kettlebell isn't going to phase me for shit. But it gassed the hell out of them. Now if I'd had to run I'd be done for because that's not what I train for.

You don't need to be NEAR that strong, and your goals are nowhere near mine so you had better put the majority of your training to boxing rather than lifting, but the point is this: within a certain range, more strength always better for endurance. If I clinch up with a guy who has to expend 80% of his strength to keep the clinch and I only have to expend 30%, who is going to get tired first? Not me, that's who. Who's going to toss who around like a rag doll? Me. And it won't be fun for him.


You wrote a trilogy there.

Thanks for writing it though, lots of good stuff.


Dude, your knowledge bombs are very much welcomed back and are definitely needed and appreciated. Saddest part is, at 16 years old, I don't know how much of it will really sink into this kid's brain.

Making sure you have three good meals every single day is more important, but having a protein shake right before or right after lifting is fine. It'll actually help to reduce soreness.

If you don't have to stay under a certain bodyweight, that's a good thing, since you'll be able to gain muscle and size along with your strength and speed.


Wow, did not expect to see that long answer, but I got very excited to read it all (I read it three times!) when I saw it. Your time was not wasted. I did understand every point and every important information of that with also taking notes to remember better hardest parts.

Many, many thanks to you for your spent time, I am very grateful and you helped me a lot in this confused situation.

However, I have a few questions after reading your great answer :slightly_smiling:

Of course if I am not disturbing you:
For example, if I will do weight training today and walk after it to move my blood through my body then is it okay to do boxing the next day instead of just walking? (with stretching and moving every other muscles that will be trained today on different exercises on boxing?)

Will I get more speed, power and strength by doing conditioning workout on one day followed by boxing day followed by speed, power and strength workout? (with 1 day of rest in a whole week, since I will have to do boxing 3 times a week at least). And also if my prioritize is speed, power and strength.

Could you please refer me to some more examples of exercises to take safety limiter off?

How exactly to train nervous system to intensify movements?


It is not the saddest or it is, but for my opponents. I know how much - everything. I have no limitation as limitation :wink:

Thank you, if I will have some soreness during training I will start taking protein shakes.

Thanks, I will try to keep track of my intake for a while and then decide if I will use additional protein shakes.


Very appreciated coming from you sir, you've been a ridiculously solid source of consistently good info for a looooong time in all the forums you post to here. I just do the best I can (I have a somewhat annoying habit of running on with words unfortunately)


Mr. Aragorn, just in case if you missed it because of the moderation period.