T Nation

Liftin' Fast Discussion

Hello my fellow T-Nationers. I recently read (our boy) Chad Waterbury’s article in this months Men’s Health about “lifting fast”. I know most of you know what Im talking about so Ill spare details.

I more or less am just confused on how and why this works? I have done ample reading and research on focusing on eccentric training and I have even looked deep into DC training (which focuses on 6-8 sec negatives!!!) and I have also read the eccentric training article (I believe by TC but dont quote me) a few times and it all seems to makes sense.

I cant grasp the concept of how lifting as fast as (controllably) possible is better than slow eccentric and explosive concentrics.

This is not just for me so please no questions like what are my goals, stats ect. because obviously I would like more size and strength (wouldnt we all lol). I want this to be more of a discussion and I would love for maybe some of the coaches to chime and give input aswell. Feel free to post articles, research and other things that could be helpful to show why this is so effective because to me this is a big 180 of what Ive been reading over the past while.

Thanks all. Happy lifting!

p.s. dont forget to vote!!!

LIfting as fast as possible isn’t as good for hypertrophy as controlled eccentric and explosive concentric.

CW was talking about using speed in working out like powerlifters use DE method to blow through plateaus. Working on how fast you can move a submaximal load can, in basic terms, allow you to lift more weight when you go back to heavy lifting.

The problem is, when training for hypertrophy, it is not necessary to focus on speed to break through a plateau, i mean, if you are stuck at a weight, for hypertrophy, using volume progression to get through it just seems common sense to use.

So DE method isn’t worth it for someone training solely for hypertrophy goals.

Oh and DC doesn’t advocate 6-8 second eccentrics, not for a long time, now he just advocates controlled eccentrics, obviously you didn’t research well enough. Just clarifying so others don’t get confused.

CW looks at it from a motor unit recruitement standpoint. Lifting fast in both the eccentric and concentric will lead to greater MU recruitement.

The problem is that this is only part of the puzzle. You have to recruit AND fatigue a MU in order to get a training effect.

So if you are going to lift explosively, then yo have to pay attention to TUT. If your doing 10 x 3, but each set is only taking 3 seconds, then your still only having 30 seconds of total tension. With the heavy weights invovled in such a protocol, extending the eccentric is necessary in order to increase the TUT.

And if your using a weight that is a bit lighter, in the 80-85% range and doing 3 sets of 8, each set might last 5-8 seconds. You are still not performing enough TUT to grow.

This is why i think its important that TUT be monitored, especially when lifting explosively.

I myself, have been choosing a weight, and lifting it for a designated amount of time. For example, i might lift 60% of my max for 30 seconds and lift as fast as possible. I may get 20-30 reps during this time. Fatigue starts to accumulate and the rep speed slows down, which you could argue is ideal or not. But either way, the set has 30 seconds of tension. When training this way, I have found that 4-6 sets of 30 seconds is plenty TUT. So 120-180 seconds total TUT works well.

If you were going to follow CW’s recomendation to stop each set when the speed significantly slows, then you’d just keep an eye on how long the set lasts and do enough sets to keep your total TUT up. One thing to remember, is that the greater the % 1rm the weight you are using, the less TUT total you should have.

So if 60% 1rm is good for 2-3 minutes TUT, then 80% might be good for 1-2 minutes, and 90+% might be good with 30-60 seconds.

And the greater the % 1rm , the more beneficial a slow eccentric is. Doing a slow eccentrics on a set of 3 with 90+% is much more beneficial and necessary, than doing slow eccentrics on a set of 10 with 75% your 1rm. So the opposite can be said as well. The lighter the weight, the faster the eccentric should be.

There are a lot of other important factors if your going to train this way for hypertrophy. Lets hope CW goes through all of them in his new book.

hey thanks. Thats not what I read. I will read again to make sure but CW doesnt say that it is used for plateaus. IMO I think you have misinterpruted what he was saying (or I was). From what I understan he wants someone to take X amount of weight during X exercise and lift it as fast as possible until the weight starts slowing down and then stop which recruits more MUs (motor Units). thats it in a sentence.

And not to put a foot in your mouth where does DC say NOT to do 6-8 sec negatives? I will gladly link you an article, or two, where he talks about it. I also visit intensemuscle.com where many people post their routines and they all use 6-8 negatives.

All and all I do agree with you that it makes more sense hypertrophy wise to do slow controlled eccentrics but this is not what CW is saying and whatever he is saying its more than what your clarifying.

hey dankid thanks for the post. so regardless of his thought on rep speed his principal on this is basically a TUT “theory”? Not to make this an issue but how does this theory make CW right and all of the slow eccentric advocates “wrong” (for lack of a better word)?

the why is fast better than slow part is still what Im confused about.

And I agree i hope his book comes out soon haha!

[quote]bmar22 wrote:
hey thanks. Thats not what I read. I will read again to make sure but CW doesnt say that it is used for plateaus. IMO I think you have misinterpruted what he was saying (or I was). From what I understan he wants someone to take X amount of weight during X exercise and lift it as fast as possible until the weight starts slowing down and then stop which recruits more MUs (motor Units). thats it in a sentence.

And not to put a foot in your mouth where does DC say NOT to do 6-8 sec negatives? I will gladly link you an article, or two, where he talks about it. I also visit intensemuscle.com where many people post their routines and they all use 6-8 negatives.

All and all I do agree with you that it makes more sense hypertrophy wise to do slow controlled eccentrics but this is not what CW is saying and whatever he is saying its more than what your clarifying.[/quote]

No CW wasn’t saying to use it for plateus. Listen, the idea of moving a submaximal load as fast as possible is not new at all. This method is called the DE method, Dynamic Effort. You see, when you first start lifting it is easy to just add pounds to the bar every workout. Eventually you can’t, and it’s because of this fact that, while you can lift heavy, you never completely recruit all the MUs that you have, it is not possible.

For instance an average person (totally irrelavent and random number) can only recruit 60% of their total MUs. someone who is very highly trained and lifts in the high 1RM range will be able to utilize more like 80% (random number). Eventually, you have to work on DE method, because one can’t add weight to the bar anymore, by doing that you are able to recruit a greater percentage of MU’s, which then relates to being able to lift more weight. phew. That’s why i said it’s used by powerlifters to help break through plateaus, or you could go conjugate method and use it in conjuction with regular heavy lifting. I didn’t misinterpret i know the thinking behind it

Now onto my point is that idk if this is needed for hypertrophy goals. I’m all about training economy, that is, not wasting any time or energy on anything that will not directly go towards my goals. Therefore, volume progression, once you reach a plateau, or intensity techniques (drop sets, rest pause, etc) seem to make more sense toward the goal.

I know there are dozens of articles, I also know that one of the MAIN stickies on the IM forum, has an interview with Dante where he says that he doesn’t advocate that anymore. He said it once or twice in the past and it got copy pasted everywhere into what he believes.

You’ve got to understand DC is a method developed by Dante over the years and it is always changing, being tweaked, optimized.

[quote]dankid wrote:
CW looks at it from a motor unit recruitement standpoint. Lifting fast in both the eccentric and concentric will lead to greater MU recruitement.

The problem is that this is only part of the puzzle. You have to recruit AND fatigue a MU in order to get a training effect.

So if you are going to lift explosively, then yo have to pay attention to TUT. If your doing 10 x 3, but each set is only taking 3 seconds, then your still only having 30 seconds of total tension. With the heavy weights invovled in such a protocol, extending the eccentric is necessary in order to increase the TUT.

And if your using a weight that is a bit lighter, in the 80-85% range and doing 3 sets of 8, each set might last 5-8 seconds. You are still not performing enough TUT to grow.

This is why i think its important that TUT be monitored, especially when lifting explosively.

I myself, have been choosing a weight, and lifting it for a designated amount of time. For example, i might lift 60% of my max for 30 seconds and lift as fast as possible. I may get 20-30 reps during this time. Fatigue starts to accumulate and the rep speed slows down, which you could argue is ideal or not. But either way, the set has 30 seconds of tension. When training this way, I have found that 4-6 sets of 30 seconds is plenty TUT. So 120-180 seconds total TUT works well.

If you were going to follow CW’s recomendation to stop each set when the speed significantly slows, then you’d just keep an eye on how long the set lasts and do enough sets to keep your total TUT up. One thing to remember, is that the greater the % 1rm the weight you are using, the less TUT total you should have.

So if 60% 1rm is good for 2-3 minutes TUT, then 80% might be good for 1-2 minutes, and 90+% might be good with 30-60 seconds.

And the greater the % 1rm , the more beneficial a slow eccentric is. Doing a slow eccentrics on a set of 3 with 90+% is much more beneficial and necessary, than doing slow eccentrics on a set of 10 with 75% your 1rm. So the opposite can be said as well. The lighter the weight, the faster the eccentric should be.

There are a lot of other important factors if your going to train this way for hypertrophy. Lets hope CW goes through all of them in his new book.[/quote]

Training by focusing only on TUT for each set is interesting, have you followed this ideal as the cornerstone of your program for some time??

I am an intensity junkie so i’ve never followed something like this.

oh ok ‘that one guy’ that does make sense. So like you said there are hundreds of methods to train but like you said in the post above that a slow eccentric is more beneficial “in general”?

And thanks for the clarification about DC Ill take a look at that sticky.

And I too am an intensity junkie! I recently have put in rest pause in to my workout where I do one big rest pause set first set around 8 reps than Ill do as many sets until I only get 1. I put a little DC style into it too and every 3-4 weeks or so Ill do a big volume split to keep things fresh.

At the end of the day I believe Intensity and focusing on strength and constantly raising your lifts is the best way to lift.

[quote]bmar22 wrote:
oh ok ‘that one guy’ that does make sense. So like you said there are hundreds of methods to train but like you said in the post above that a slow eccentric is more beneficial “in general”?

And thanks for the clarification about DC Ill take a look at that sticky.

And I too am an intensity junkie! I recently have put in rest pause in to my workout where I do one big rest pause set first set around 8 reps than Ill do as many sets until I only get 1. I put a little DC style into it too and every 3-4 weeks or so Ill do a big volume split to keep things fresh.

At the end of the day I believe Intensity and focusing on strength and constantly raising your lifts is the best way to lift.[/quote]

Well there are studies that show that the eccentric portion of the lift causes the most microtrauma to the muscle. microtrauma=good for hypertrophy. Yeah one sticky is titled “updated–dc training newbies…” He states he doesn’t want people to aim for specific seconds not control. There was one where he addressed how someone asked about the 6-8 sec eccentric and he said that he doesn’t follow that anymore, that got spread around, but i can’t find where it was.

[quote]That One Guy wrote:
bmar22 wrote:
oh ok ‘that one guy’ that does make sense. So like you said there are hundreds of methods to train but like you said in the post above that a slow eccentric is more beneficial “in general”?

And thanks for the clarification about DC Ill take a look at that sticky.

And I too am an intensity junkie! I recently have put in rest pause in to my workout where I do one big rest pause set first set around 8 reps than Ill do as many sets until I only get 1. I put a little DC style into it too and every 3-4 weeks or so Ill do a big volume split to keep things fresh.

At the end of the day I believe Intensity and focusing on strength and constantly raising your lifts is the best way to lift.

Well there are studies that show that the eccentric portion of the lift causes the most microtrauma to the muscle. microtrauma=good for hypertrophy. Yeah one sticky is titled “updated–dc training newbies…” He states he doesn’t want people to aim for specific seconds not control. There was one where he addressed how someone asked about the 6-8 sec eccentric and he said that he doesn’t follow that anymore, that got spread around, but i can’t find where it was.[/quote]

Actually he never advocated truly doing 6-8 second negatives. He said that in an attempt to get people to slow down their eccentrics and not just let the weight free fall. He knew that most people cheat when they count tempo, so an eight second eccentric would be counted like “onetwothreefourfivesixseveneight”; basically extremely fast, and would wind up being more like 2-3 seconds (basically just controlled).

Just wanted to clarify that.

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:
That One Guy wrote:
bmar22 wrote:
oh ok ‘that one guy’ that does make sense. So like you said there are hundreds of methods to train but like you said in the post above that a slow eccentric is more beneficial “in general”?

And thanks for the clarification about DC Ill take a look at that sticky.

And I too am an intensity junkie! I recently have put in rest pause in to my workout where I do one big rest pause set first set around 8 reps than Ill do as many sets until I only get 1. I put a little DC style into it too and every 3-4 weeks or so Ill do a big volume split to keep things fresh.

At the end of the day I believe Intensity and focusing on strength and constantly raising your lifts is the best way to lift.

Well there are studies that show that the eccentric portion of the lift causes the most microtrauma to the muscle. microtrauma=good for hypertrophy. Yeah one sticky is titled “updated–dc training newbies…” He states he doesn’t want people to aim for specific seconds not control. There was one where he addressed how someone asked about the 6-8 sec eccentric and he said that he doesn’t follow that anymore, that got spread around, but i can’t find where it was.

Actually he never advocated truly doing 6-8 second negatives. He said that in an attempt to get people to slow down their eccentrics and not just let the weight free fall. He knew that most people cheat when they count tempo, so an eight second eccentric would be counted like “onetwothreefourfivesixseveneight”; basically extremely fast, and would wind up being more like 2-3 seconds (basically just controlled).

Just wanted to clarify that.[/quote]

hmmm, yeah, basic main idea to take away is a lot of the stuff he says gets misconstrued

[quote]bmar22 wrote:
hey dankid thanks for the post. so regardless of his thought on rep speed his principal on this is basically a TUT “theory”? Not to make this an issue but how does this theory make CW right and all of the slow eccentric advocates “wrong” (for lack of a better word)?

the why is fast better than slow part is still what Im confused about.

And I agree i hope his book comes out soon haha![/quote]

I dont think its a matter of who is right and who is wrong, or one method being better than the other. I think CW is really just stating the obvious about MU recruitment. If a muscle fiber is not recruited, then there is absolutely no chance that it will grow. I dont think he relates this at all to TUT though. Without monitoring TUT, you may get good results, but you might not. Thats why I think its necessary at bare minimum to pay attention to it.

Im tired of people saying that lowering a weight slowly is more challenging than lowering it quickly. This statement just shows a lack of understanding of physics as well as physiology. We could start a huge debate about this one, but heres my basic reasoning for my beliefs.

1.) Most people are quite a bit stronger during the eccentric portion of the lift. Ive heard 20% stronger or even more.

So if your max is 100lbs, and your doing a set of 10 with 75lbs, this is 75% of your concentric max, but only 62% of your eccentric max.

2.) The faster the weight is moving downward, the more force there is required to reverse its movement.

This is a tricky one, and it makes a big difference. Although more force is required, a lot of that force is produced by the stretch reflex mechanism. This can be beneficial or detrimental to muscle growth depending on the lift, and your biomechanics. So the point is that you need to at least part of the time build some starting strength by doing concentric only work, pausing in the stretched portion, and rack work.

With all that said, if you are just concerned with muscle size and not performance at all, then you could pretty easily argue against fast lifting. It would come down to the fact that there is more than one way to skin a cat, and a matter of preference to the different methods.

3.) A lot of people make an innacurate comparison of fast vs. slow eccentrics by stating this. “Do a set of 10 reps as fast as possible, and then do a set with slow eccentrics. I guarantee that the slow set is harder.” This is idiotic, because the TUT is not taken into account. The fast set might last 5-10 seconds, and the slow set might last 30-40. Obviously its harder. But now try the same thing, but instead of counting reps, do fast reps for 30 seconds, and compare that to the same weight, but slow eccentrics for the same time. I can guarantee you that the fast sets will be way more challenging.

When I started to realize this concept I saw that TUT was a much more important factor than people now give it. The simple fact is this. If you want to get stronger without getting bigger, keep the total TUT, and TUT/minute low. If you want to get big, do the opposite.


This also lead me to not only monitoring TUT, but work:rest ratios. For pure strength, a work to rest ratio of 1:4 all the way up to 1:8 or more is ideal. And if your concerned with size, anywhere from 2:1 all the way to 1:2 maybe 1:3 is ideal.

I’ll admit that I make things more complicated than they need to be, and I get criticized a lot for it, but im more concerned with understanding how the different principles work, than just knowing what works. I think this is a big problem in the industry, and people need to start bridging the gap. Theres one group of people that know what works, but not why. And theres another group that knows what science says, but not how that applies to real life.

Other than everything ive said above, I think it just comes down to what I said about more than one way to achieve results. If there wasn’t multiple programs and methods that worked well, then we would be able to come up with “the perfect program”. But there isn’t, and instead these little debates sprout up everywhere.

***Oh and on a side note, even science is often conflicting. I recently read an article that stated fast eccentrics cause more muscle damage than slow eccentrics. I also read one that suggested fast eccentrics AND slow eccentrics were optimal for growth.

[quote]That One Guy wrote:

Training by focusing only on TUT for each set is interesting, have you followed this ideal as the cornerstone of your program for some time??

I am an intensity junkie so i’ve never followed something like this.[/quote]

I too was an intensity junkie, and I think thats why ive be getting pretty good results focusing on TUT. Its like anything, if you’ve been doing something for a long time, and then switch it up, you have new stimulus.

I also think no matter what, max strength training is extremely crucial for success, no matter what methods you end up using. The greater your max, the greater weigths, greater muscular tension, and greater MU recruitment your going to get with all your hypertrophy training.

Also, you’ll find after a lot of high intensity strength training, your body responds as if you are extremely fast twitch. In the beginning of my TUT training i found it very difficult to complete 30-45 seconds of continous high speed work, even with weights that were under 50% my 1rm. I quickly adapted though, and although 45 seconds is still really difficult, 30 seconds seems ideal for me. The other thing is that this type of training although very hard, its also hard to progress in weight used.

Im still making changes though. My previous couple weeks of training were focusing on slightly lighter weights, faster speeds and 30-45 second sets. Now im moving back into heavier training but using many of the same principles. Since I still think my strength levels are pretty good and im wanting to build some size and lose fat, im now going to focus more on top end strength endurance.

Im going to still monitor total TUT, but now using very many heavy sets that are not to failure early on. Heres what im basically going to do.

1.) Lift weights >85% 1rm or 50-60% if focusing on speed
2.) The greater the weight the longer the duration of eccentric.
3.) sets of 1-5
4.) short rest breaks, 15-30 seconds
5.) do enough sets to reach a high level of fatigue or failure.

The approach of failure is something that is a result of tension, TUT/set, rest between sets, and # of sets. It doesn’t really matter how long your rest breaks are, or how many sets you do. What matters is that you get a good amount of tension and total TUT in, and gradually reach fatigue in a relatively short time. Density or tension/minute is pretty important.

So im going to experiment with these methods for the next couple of weeks, and then i’ll likely go back to the longer sets, hopefully with greater strength endurance.

I’ll be posting up my new program tommorow to see what you guys think.

Basically it comes down to always stimulating the muscle with something new and intense. Every type of training, tempo, weight and style will work for a while. Lifting fast after going slow is a great way to make gains in size.

Moving half the weight at twice the speed will generate more force in the muscle then a double weight moved slowly. Each will be very good for confusing the muscle.

Im a proponent of feeling what your muscles like. If you do speed reps and get a new better pump and a fresh feeling from your workout, all is good. I use the pump to tell me what my muscles will grow from. All the over thinking with the science of lifting is good but not to the point of being paralyzed as a scientific bb.

[quote]Gregus wrote:
Basically it comes down to always stimulating the muscle with something new and intense. Every type of training, tempo, weight and style will work for a while. Lifting fast after going slow is a great way to make gains in size.

Moving half the weight at twice the speed will generate more force in the muscle then a double weight moved slowly. Each will be very good for confusing the muscle.

Im a proponent of feeling what your muscles like. If you do speed reps and get a new better pump and a fresh feeling from your workout, all is good. I use the pump to tell me what my muscles will grow from. All the over thinking with the science of lifting is good but not to the point of being paralyzed as a scientific bb. [/quote]

I agree completely except for your second paragraph, but youve got the right idea.

Heres the new program I came up with. Its basically TBT 3x a week, but im also having one day for all isolation assistance work, and 1-2 sessions to focus on max strength.

Workout A

a) Stepup (4-10 sets x 1-5 reps, 15-30 sec rest)
b) Deadlift* (Same as a)
c) Pushup (4-8 sets x 20 sec, 20-40 sec rest)
d) back extension + DB row (same as c)

*For deadlift, im focusing on my upper body because it seems to be my weakness. So im using a weight that im able to handle with double overhand grip. Also, im going to lockout and pause at the top of each rep for 3-5 seconds.

Workout B

a) Db swing (3-10 sets x 4-10 reps, 20-40 sec rest)
b) Incline bench (4-10 sets x 3-5 reps, 15-30 sec rest)
c) Split squat (4-8 sets x 20 sec, 20-40 sec rest)
d) Pullup (Same as b, or c)

Strength workout : 1-2 times /week

Rack work for top half of bench. (work up to a max set of 3)

Rack pulls from the thigh (work up to max set of 3

Accessory workout:

This wont be completely planned out, but will likely be low reps for exercises like:

Tricep ext
Curls
Leg curls
Leg ext.
Face pulls
ect.


Thats the basic program, heres how it will look during the week.

Sunday: A
Monday: Strength
Tuesday: B
Wednesday: strength (optional)
Thursday: A
Friday: Accessory
Saturday: OFF

It looks like a lot on paper, and i’ll have to be careful to not overdo the volume or intensiveness of each workout.

The main intent is strength endurance, and ill be focusing on improving the amount I can lift of the various exercises that im performing sets of 1-5 with low rest.

Oh and i should have mentioned my rep speed since that was what this thread was about.

The heavier the weight, the slower my eccentrics will be and concentric will almost always be as fast as possible. The only exceptions to this will likely be deadlift and back extension.

But for example when doing my strength endurance sets, my goal will be sets that last 5-15 seconds. So if im doing 1 rep, ill shoot for a slow controlled eccentric of about 3 seconds. And if im doing 5 reps, then each rep can take anywhere from 2-3 seconds.

My sets of 20 seconds will be pretty much as fast as possible, until fatigue slows me down.