T Nation

Question on Explosive Lifting


I understand the notion of explosive lifting where the negative portion of the lift is controlled at a slower rate and the positive portion moves rapidly. What I don't understand is if you're lifting heavy at a lower rep range, the weight isn't going to "explode" at all due to the workload. Should I be reducing the weight to a point where this is possible,or should I be "trying" to explode with the weight so to speak?


It's the "intent" that counts. Attempt to lift the heavy weight as fast as possible. If the weight is too light, then it would become a ballistic lift.


I'm under the impression that 50-70% of 1RM is a good range for speed/power. That's what i mostly use. I prefer multiple singles instead of reps when I do snatches or cleans. When I use heavier weights I lift technically in the same manner (explosive), the bar only travels slower.


Yes. It may not move fast, but you want to still focus on exploding with the weight and moving it as fast as possible.

When training with lighter weights (50-70% of 1RM), the weight will move faster, but you should be putting the same amount of force in it as if you were lifting your 1RM.

Read up on Dave Tate's "The Periodization Bible Part 2" for more information about these methods.


And refer to Prelipin's Table for rep ranges that maintain peak power...

Depending on your training age, MaxF (force) is produced anywhere from 40-70% (classic lifts) or 60-85% (O-Lifts)....

I have never Tendo'd these myself. I trust the men who give these figures... and spent my money on Speed Traps...


Could just be me, but when I used too much weight for explosive strength, it didn't happen. On the other hand, dropping the weight to 60% 1rm and being able to accelerate throughout the range of the lift has worked wonders. Just broke 305 on the bench 2 wks. ago after a long plateau at 285-290.


Intended Versus Actual Movement Velocity (Behm & Sale, 1993)

Don't have that info handy, but they did some studies on this. Might can look it up.

Research indicates that movements such as a heavy squat, even when performed in an explosive manner ("intent vs actual velocity") "is an insufficient stimulus for improvements in muscle power..." (McBride, J. M., T. McBride, A. Davie, and R. U. Newton. The effect of heavy- vs. light-load jump squats on the development of strength, power, and speed. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: 16(1): 75-82. 2002.) Different loads and velocities of the movement evokes different training effects. Starting-strength is developed with lighter loads, acceleration-strength with moderately heavy loads, and strength with heavy loads. (Fundamentals of Special Strength/Verkhoshansky). High load/low velocity movements appear to develop IIA muscle fiber. Low load/high velocity are much better at developing IIB muslce fiber. (Strength and Power in Sport Olympic Encyclopaedia of Sports Medicine/Editied by Komi)

"IMO "speed movements" at lower percentages that allow for faster movement, while not totally ineffective, are not optimally effective, because the speed is still slow in comparison to most sporting movements, and often the resistance would be less. Furthermore, at lower percentages being able to actually release and throw the implement would allow for much higher power, force, and speed production. However, one must understand that training at a higher power, force, or speed output, is not necessarily the best way to train to improve any of them in particular."

J Sci Med Sport. 2001 Jun;4(2):168-78. Related Articles, Links Velocity specificity, combination training and sport specific tasks. Cronin J, McNair PJ, Marshall RN. Sport Performance Centre, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. Whether velocity-specific resistance training is important for improving functional sporting performance was investigated by studying the effect of isoinertial training velocity on netball chest pass throwing velocity. Twenty-one female netball players were randomly assigned to a strength-trained group (80% 1RM - average training velocity = .308 m/s), power-trained group (60% 1RM - average training velocity = .398 m/s) and a control group. Resistance training was combined with sport specific motion training for both groups over a ten-week training duration. Pre- and post-training testing revealed that the training velocity associated with the strength-trained group produced significantly greater improvement in mean volume of weight lifted (85kg) and mean power output (13.25 W) as compared to the power and control groups (PThis one suggest Rate of Force Development, not velocity of movement is the most important factor for improving speed of movement. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1995 May;27(5):648-60. Related Articles, Links Resistance training modes: specificity and effectiveness. Morrissey MC, Harman EA, Johnson MJ. Department of Health Sciences, Sargent College, Boston University, U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA 01760-5007, USA. There is considerable demand for information on the effectiveness of various resistance exercises for improving physical performance, and on how exercise programs must match functional activities to produce the greatest performance gains (training specificity). Evidence supports exercise-type specificity; the greatest training effects occur when the same exercise type is used for both testing and training. Range-of-motion (ROM) specificity is supported; strength improvements are greatest at the exercised joint angles, with enough carryover to strengthen ROMs precluded from direct training due to injury. Velocity specificity is supported; strength gains are consistently greatest at the training velocity, with some carryover. Some studies have produced a training effect only for velocities at and below the training velocity while others have produced effects around the training velocity. The little, mainly isokinetic, evidence comparing different exercise velocities for improving functional performance suggests that faster exercise best improves fast athletic movements. Yet isometric exercise can improve actions like the vertical jump, which begin slowly. The rate of force application may be more important in training than actual movement speed. More research is needed into the specificity and efficacy of resistance exercise. Test populations should include both males and females of various ages and rehabilitation patients. Just to highlight, a quote in this one, "It may be that irrespective of load and limb velocity, the repeated intent to move an isoinertial load as rapidly as possible might be an important stimulus for functional high velocity adaptation." J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2002 Sep;42(3):267-73. Related Articles, Links Is velocity-specific strength training important in improving functional performance? Cronin JB, McNair PJ, Marshall RN. Sport Performance Research Centre, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. john.cronin@aut.ac.nz A variable considered when designing programs to optimize athletic performance is training velocity. It has been suggested that training at a specific velocity improves strength mainly at that velocity and as velocity deviates from the trained velocity, the less effective training will be. However, the research describing velocity-specific adaptation and the transference of these adaptations to other movement velocities is by no means clear. Compounding the problem in this area is the failure of research to detail the relationship between training velocity and actual movement velocity of a given task or athletic pursuit. In most cases there is a great disparity between training velocity and actual movement velocity. Factors that may better develop and explain velocity-specific adaptation in relation to functional performance are discussed. Developing qualities such as strength, power and rate of force development would appear of greater importance than training at the actual movement velocity of a task. It may be that irrespective of load and limb velocity, the repeated intent to move an isoinertial load as rapidly as possible might be an important stimulus for functional high velocity adaptation. The ability of the nervous system to activate and coordinate agonist, synergist and antagonist activity would seem essential. It was suggested training techniques that simulate the velocity and acceleration profiles associated with the desired functional performance, such as throw or jump training, may optimize functional adaptation. Furthermore combination training that incorporates same session sport specific training with either a heavy load or a mixed training load approach might provide an optimal strategy for promoting intramuscular and intermuscular co-ordination and improving functional performance.