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How Important is Bar Speed?

I am currently benching 195x5 and weight 175. Nothing impressive, but good progress from where I was a few months ago. I usually do 3 sets of 5 reps, in a routine really close to this one http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/effective_training_for_busy_men_1

I have noticed lately that my bar speed on the last 2 reps of all of the sets is pretty damn slow, and doesn’t even vaguely resemble the speed I am doing my warmup sets at. My form is solid (not perfect, but my ass isn’t in the air and my form stays consistent for all 5 reps), but the speed just isn’t there. Is this a problem? Should I be doing any speed work at lower weights or should I just keep grinding them out?

Sorry, if this is a noob question - that’s why I am asking it in the beginner forum. Thanks in advance for any help!

IMO, newbies don’t need speed work. Grinding out reps is good for you. Builds muscle and mental strength. Bar speed is a specific problem once you starting deadlifting 400 and speed work is helpful, but until then, doing clapping pushups and box jumps are a good way to stay fast. Specific work is unnecessary.

I was thinking of this exact same question today during deads…my first set of 5 reps with 215 is done hardly any faster than my last set of 340…will this make me have a sticking point in the future?

The actual bar speed is not so important as much as INTENT of bar speed from a physiological perspective. What I mean is, what matters is that you are lifting each rep as explosively as you can while controlling it on the way down. Even with a grinder, you are moving the bar as fast as you can in that moment.

[quote]louiek wrote:
Grinding out reps is good for you. Builds muscle and mental strength. [/quote]

I completely agree or disagree with you…depending on your definition of a grinder, especially with beginners. As form is not yet mastered, this could be a recipe for injury.

K, well if anything I push harder on my work sets than I do on my warmup sets so that I do not tire myself out. As I said, I definitely grind it out but my form is pretty solid on the bench.

I will add some clap pushups as assistance on days I bench and focus on moving the bar as fast as I can on heavy sets.

What’s the point of speed work then? Only necessary once you are are more advanced?

[quote]jskrabac wrote:
The actual bar speed is not so important as much as INTENT of bar speed from a physiological perspective. What I mean is, what matters is that you are lifting each rep as explosively as you can while controlling it on the way down. Even with a grinder, you are moving the bar as fast as you can in that moment. [/quote]

THIS x9000

at least for me, it was when I realized this that I actually started getting ‘good’ at lifting. Or at least better. You should have this mentality very rep of every set

[quote]Spidey22 wrote:

[quote]jskrabac wrote:
The actual bar speed is not so important as much as INTENT of bar speed from a physiological perspective. What I mean is, what matters is that you are lifting each rep as explosively as you can while controlling it on the way down. Even with a grinder, you are moving the bar as fast as you can in that moment. [/quote]

THIS x9000

at least for me, it was when I realized this that I actually started getting ‘good’ at lifting. Or at least better. You should have this mentality very rep of every set[/quote]

Absolutely this.

[quote]Prodigul wrote:
K, well if anything I push harder on my work sets than I do on my warmup sets so that I do not tire myself out. As I said, I definitely grind it out but my form is pretty solid on the bench.

I will add some clap pushups as assistance on days I bench and focus on moving the bar as fast as I can on heavy sets.

What’s the point of speed work then? Only necessary once you are are more advanced?[/quote]

When you begin lifting, you are mostly just not strong enough yet to move the weight. Down the road, you will notice sticking points - the place that you frequently get stuck with the bar - speed will help you blast through that. You could think of it as using momentum to your advantage. For now, speed work will not help you much, if any.

[quote]chobbs wrote:
I was thinking of this exact same question today during deads…my first set of 5 reps with 215 is done hardly any faster than my last set of 340…will this make me have a sticking point in the future?[/quote]

This is a problem in my eyes. 215 is less than 65% of your training max, and moving as slow as a training max? No, that needs to change.

Some people are naturally explosive, some are not, but you need to be able to move 65% of your max quicker than your max.

Practicing moving heavy weights at a slow speed…

will get you good at moving heavy weights, at a slow speed.

if speed work is important why don’t most bodybuilding programs incorporate speed work?

you only see it in PLing programs like west-side?

and if you have a sticking point, doesn’t that mean you just need to work on those muscles more? If you can’t lock out, do rack pulls, if you can’t do second half of BP, do tricep work…etc

[quote]qeynos wrote:
if speed work is important why don’t most bodybuilding programs incorporate speed work?

you only see it in PLing programs like west-side?

and if you have a sticking point, doesn’t that mean you just need to work on those muscles more? If you can’t lock out, do rack pulls, if you can’t do second half of BP, do tricep work…etc
[/quote]

Are you asking these questions or saying that speed work isn’t important? I’m not exactly sure.

[quote]Jackie_Jacked wrote:

[quote]qeynos wrote:
if speed work is important why don’t most bodybuilding programs incorporate speed work?

you only see it in PLing programs like west-side?

and if you have a sticking point, doesn’t that mean you just need to work on those muscles more? If you can’t lock out, do rack pulls, if you can’t do second half of BP, do tricep work…etc
[/quote]

Are you asking these questions or saying that speed work isn’t important? I’m not exactly sure.[/quote]

i’m asking if its important

like I said, I never see it in any bodybuilding routines

the way I see things if you aren’t a powerlifter you can always rotate the exercise to another one that has less involvement of the muscle w/ the sticking point

[quote]qeynos wrote:
if speed work is important why don’t most bodybuilding programs incorporate speed work?

you only see it in PLing programs like west-side?

and if you have a sticking point, doesn’t that mean you just need to work on those muscles more? If you can’t lock out, do rack pulls, if you can’t do second half of BP, do tricep work…etc
[/quote]

I rarely see any BB’er doing a compound movement with a slow concentric.

It’s been said the actual speed isn’t the issue, but instead the INTENTION of moving the bar with speed and force.

[quote]Spidey22 wrote:

[quote]qeynos wrote:
if speed work is important why don’t most bodybuilding programs incorporate speed work?

you only see it in PLing programs like west-side?

and if you have a sticking point, doesn’t that mean you just need to work on those muscles more? If you can’t lock out, do rack pulls, if you can’t do second half of BP, do tricep work…etc
[/quote]

I rarely see any BB’er doing a compound movement with a slow concentric.

It’s been said the actual speed isn’t the issue, but instead the INTENTION of moving the bar with speed and force. [/quote]

im not talking about concentric speed

im talking about incorporating separate speed days

[quote]qeynos wrote:

[quote]Jackie_Jacked wrote:

[quote]qeynos wrote:
if speed work is important why don’t most bodybuilding programs incorporate speed work?

you only see it in PLing programs like west-side?

and if you have a sticking point, doesn’t that mean you just need to work on those muscles more? If you can’t lock out, do rack pulls, if you can’t do second half of BP, do tricep work…etc
[/quote]

Are you asking these questions or saying that speed work isn’t important? I’m not exactly sure.[/quote]

i’m asking if its important

like I said, I never see it in any bodybuilding routines

the way I see things if you aren’t a powerlifter you can always rotate the exercise to another one that has less involvement of the muscle w/ the sticking point
[/quote]

It is important in powerlifting, not bodybuilding. Bodybuilding uses more MMC where it’s not completely the amount of weight moved but how. In powerlifting, your end goal is your three lifts - push/pull as much weight as you can even if it’s a little ugly. You can’t switch the move because your bench, squat and deadlifts are your big three moves so you have to find a way to move the weight. Using speed to your advantage is one of them.

[quote]jskrabac wrote:

[quote]louiek wrote:
Grinding out reps is good for you. Builds muscle and mental strength. [/quote]

I completely agree or disagree with you…depending on your definition of a grinder, especially with beginners. As form is not yet mastered, this could be a recipe for injury. [/quote]

I completely agree or disagree with you, as well. Grinding builds ability in grinding: great for powerlifting. Grinding also teaches people to cheat like a motherfucker and let their friends row the weight for them on bench. But that’s not what I’m talking about, I’m talking about form at 75% grinding out the fifth rep of the fifth set on a 5x5.

I.e., if it doesn’t pass in a powerlifting meet than you probably cheated too much. Other than that, grinding is a good skill to learn, and I don’t believe weak people need to worry about bar speed. Just worry about moving heavy weight. Later when you can actually recruit the right muscles at your own will then you can worry about speed work.

[quote]qeynos wrote:

[quote]Spidey22 wrote:

[quote]qeynos wrote:
if speed work is important why don’t most bodybuilding programs incorporate speed work?

you only see it in PLing programs like west-side?

and if you have a sticking point, doesn’t that mean you just need to work on those muscles more? If you can’t lock out, do rack pulls, if you can’t do second half of BP, do tricep work…etc
[/quote]

I rarely see any BB’er doing a compound movement with a slow concentric.

It’s been said the actual speed isn’t the issue, but instead the INTENTION of moving the bar with speed and force. [/quote]

im not talking about concentric speed

im talking about incorporating separate speed days[/quote]

Because bodybuilders don’t care about speed, they care about size. A speed day is wasted on a serious bodybuilder because it is time that could have been used to hit more volume certain lagging muscle groups or specialize on something else size oriented.

A speed day is not about fatigue, which is one of the core foundations of bodybuilding training. Fatigue (ie: volume in sets/reps, or Intensity in terms of heavy weights or drop sets/partials/forced reps) is the driving factor in hypertrophy.

Speed days do not involve enough fatigue for a bodybuilder if the day is focused around that.

That said, you can use speed EXERCISES very effectively within a specific training session–see Thibaudeau, Westside’s speed day (only 1-2 exercises are speed oriented and they have plenty of volume), or many others. They are useful both for priming the nervous system and for helping with high threshold muscle unit recruitment which will lead to more size. However, entire days focused on BUILDING speed are effectively worthless for bodybuilders because there is not enough growth stimulus.

The only exception I can think of is sprints for fat loss. But even then the goal isn’t building speed itself, but sprinting for metabolic demand.

Speed days are best for athletes and true strength training (to work on specific skills in specific lifts).

My .02

[quote]louiek wrote:

[quote]jskrabac wrote:

[quote]louiek wrote:
Grinding out reps is good for you. Builds muscle and mental strength. [/quote]

I completely agree or disagree with you…depending on your definition of a grinder, especially with beginners. As form is not yet mastered, this could be a recipe for injury. [/quote]

I completely agree or disagree with you, as well. Grinding builds ability in grinding: great for powerlifting. Grinding also teaches people to cheat like a motherfucker and let their friends row the weight for them on bench. But that’s not what I’m talking about, I’m talking about form at 75% grinding out the fifth rep of the fifth set on a 5x5.

I.e., if it doesn’t pass in a powerlifting meet than you probably cheated too much. Other than that, grinding is a good skill to learn, and I don’t believe weak people need to worry about bar speed. Just worry about moving heavy weight. Later when you can actually recruit the right muscles at your own will then you can worry about speed work.[/quote]

Well said, I’m on the same page now.

OP, although Qyenos has showed up to stir the shit-pot (again), the take away is no speed work for you.
Qyenos- Dude, can’t you go away? Or grown up? Every time I see your posts they are combative, ridiculous and trolling. Making provocative statements with little to no basis doesn’t make you awesome or impress anybody. You’re just making a fool of yourself and becoming a nuisance here.
OP, sorry to hijack.