T Nation

Slow Strength vs. Power


Coach, I'm a BJJ fighter and my strength work has been basic barbell lifts for no more than 5 reps about 3 times a week. I've accomplished a double bodyweight deadlift for reps, double bodyweight squat for reps and bodyweight bench for reps. Until I got to this point, the stronger I got, the easier it felt to perform on the mats, now, it that i've accomplished those standarts, putting more weight on the bar doesn't seem to help much more in my performance, and it's getting harder to progress without the aches and pains (specially lower back and shoulders) that comes with heavy grinding lifts.

Would it be better to move to the explosive lifts, such as high pulls and power cleans and push presses? Thanks


No doubt! Zatsiorsky discusses that EXACT issue in his book Science and Practice of Strength Training... in the beginning, when strength is a limiting factor, increasing strength will lead to a direct increase in sporting performance. But once you have reach the level of strength required to perform optimally in your activity (which varies depending on your sport) even great strength gains lead only to marginal performance increases and the best way to keep improving is to increase explosiveness/power.

A while ago the university of Nebraska found that the strongest players on their football teams (squat and bench results) were the backups (often 3rd stringers) and the starters had better results in the power clean and vertical jump.

Do not drop strength work though, you want to at least maintain the levels you have right now.


Thanks! Ramping to a top set would be enough for high pulls and Power Clean & Press, being interested in performance only, or should I still do some back off sets or layers? Thanks