T Nation

Speed and Max Effort Work

Is it ok to use max effort work and speed work in the same workout, and if so which would you use first?

I do sometimes, I see no reason why

I like to do the speed stype stuff after the heavier stuff, since your msucles/tendons and joint will be nicely warmed up and the weights will feel like a feather after the heavier stuff

You’re not going to reap the benefits of doing speed work with max effort work. If you have to do it, do speed work first because speed work has such a high threshold, you don’t want to do this after your max effort work.

Your max effort work could be kind of like your supplemental work. Good luck.

I will agree with Landon here. A lot of guys using Westside do heavy movements after their dynamic work anyway.

Louie Simmons said specifically not to do dynamic and max effort work on the same days. The reason being that both exhaust the central nervous system, and you want your nervous system to be fully rested on max effort or dynamic days. Combining them will just negate the benefits of either. This is also mentioned by Zatsiorsky in the Science and Practice of Strength Training. Repetition work that is pretty heavy is ok after dynamic work but do not work up to a max.


I disagree, but that’s my perogative :slight_smile:

ever heard of complex training?

it works

hey CoolColj,

ive seen your videos and what you describe as max effort work is probably only 60% of your true max anyway. so do you have any personal examples to back this up?

hey, just bustin your balls , man (but i still know you can lift a hell of alot more than you do…)!!!

seriously though, what is “complex training”?.

I always lift within myself, form comes first, within reason anyway. If you look at the way olylifters squat/press/etc, they use damn heavy weights, but they make it look light even if it’s not. It’s just the fluidity and control I guess :slight_smile:

That is something everyone should strive for .

anyway with complex training, look at the numerous examples CT and discussion posted in his old forum. Since it’s no longer around, doing a search will bring em up.

from CT

It it important to note that ‘complex’ training is not limited to supersetting one power and one strength exercise. In fact,the original complex methods (Russian and Bulgarian) used a succession of exercises that were NOT supersetted.

You would do one set of each exercise, but with 2-3 minutes between each. The Russian complex method would use 2 exercises and the Bulgarian complex method four.

Here’s a small portion of my upcoming book, dealing with complex training:

"Russian complex training

A Russian complex involves a continuous alternating between exercises of heavy and light loads in the same session; or more specifically alternating between a slow-speed strength exercise and a high-speed strength exercise. In most cases a complex is made up of two exercises. For example:

Lower body Russian complex

Exercise 1. Back squat
3-5 repetitions with a load of 85-95% of 1RM
Rest 3-4 minutes

Exercise 2. Jump squat
10 repetitions with a load of 15-20% of the back squat 1RM
Rest 3-4 minutes

The complex would be repeated anywhere from 2 to 5 times in a workout.

A variant of this form of training would be a Russian supersetted complex. Ironically it was not used in the former Soviet Union, but rather it?s an adaptation of the Russian complex by western sport-scientists. The basic technique would be the same, except that there is no rest between both exercises of a complex. For example:

  1. Lower body Russian supersetted complex (strength-speed emphasis)

Exercise 1. Back squat
3-5 repetitions with a load of 85-95% of 1RM
No rest

Exercise 2. Jump squat
10 repetitions with a load of 15-20% of the back squat 1RM
Rest 3-4 minutes

The complex would be repeated anywhere from 2 to 5 times in a workout.

  1. Lower body Russian supersetted complex (speed-strength emphasis)

Exercise 1. Jump squat
10 repetitions with a load of 15-20% of the back squat 1RM
No rest

Exercise 2. Back squat
3-5 repetitions with a load of 85-95% of 1RM
Rest 3-4 minutes

The complex would be repeated anywhere from 2 to 5 times in a workout.

I am not a big fan of the supersetted version as it prevents one from producing a high quality effort on both exercises. I think that it became popular mostly because it?s a good way to save time and since it?s more tiring, athlete believe that they are working harder.

Bulgarian complex training

The Bulgarian complex is basically an extended version of the Russian complex: instead of doing a complex of 2 exercises, you use a complex of 4-5 exercises; going from the heaviest one to the lightest one. For example:

Lower body Bulgarian complex

Exercise 1. Back squat
3-5 repetitions with a load of 85-95% of 1RM
Rest 3-4 minutes

Exercise 2. Power snatch or power clean
2-3 repetitions with a load of 85-95% of 1RM
Rest 3-4 minutes

Exercise 3. Jump squats
10 repetitions with a load of 15-20% of the back squat 1RM
Rest 3-4 minutes

Exercise 4. Depth jumps
10 repetitions from 0.5m
Rest 3-4 minutes

Exercise 5. Vertical jumps
As many jumps as possible in 15 seconds
Rest 3-4 minutes

Because of the high number of exercises, only 1-3 complexes would be completed in one workout."

Originally Posted by anaerobic
Christian, could you just explain the CAD complex and regarding jump squats should legs be bent to parallel or 1/4 squat and I presume performed continuously?


This is basically a spin-off from the Bulgarian complex. It also includes 4-5 exercises of various loading. The difference with the Bulgarian complex is that you have two workouts for each group of muscles/movements (either a lower body/upper body split or push/pull/lower body split). The first workout is an ascending workout (starting with the quickest but lightest exercise) and the second workout is a descending workout (starting with the slowest but heaviest exercise). So basically the first workout is a reverse Bulgarian complex while the second workout is a regular Bulgarian complex.

There is another slight difference with the Bulgarian complex: in the Bulgarian complex you perform one set of each exercise of the complex then start a new complex (vertical loading). However in the Canadian Ascending-Descending method you perform all the sets of an exercise before moving on to the next exercise in the complex (horizontal loading).

I find this system to be the best of all complex training methods as it allows one to give an equal focus to each of the type of strength in the strength spectrum, while in the Bulgarian complex you would always perform speed-strength and reactive strength exercises in a fatigued state

an example

Negative deadlift: the bar starts from blocks, do a 1/2 deadlift, take 2 steps back and lower it to the floor in 5 seconds. You only do singles.

Power clean from the floor: using 85-95% you do a single.

You take 30 seconds between both exercises in the complex and repeat it 3-6 times. 4mins between complexes

If its true max effort work you wont be able to. Im not talking about the heavy reps but a true max on any given exercise. I work up to heavy 3’s and 5’s after dynamic work but these arent a true max. There may not be another rep in me but i could probably have done 5-10 more pounds.

I assume it would be alright either way, except on max effort work use 3’s instead of maxing out. Machine and Norcross used isometrics and slow eccentrics before doing dynamic work, which was the routine the christian gave them. So i assumed it would be alright.

I seem to recall Dave Tate discussing the value of occasionally performing a max effort after speed work, for the purpose of teaching the body to "strain’.

The percentages you mention for the most part to not fall into the ranges that either dynamic or max effort exercises are done. Dynamic work has been found to be most effective at 50-60%, max effort work is always over 90%
In this complex training the dynamic percentages are way lower and almost fall into the range of plyometrics. So it is not true dynamic work. In terms of what Dave Tate talks about, it is that you should do a heavier set or two at the end of your dynamic work, but it really should not be a max effort.

I remember a q/a at EFTS like this, Dave i think said, it was that after speed work they sometimes work up to a 1RM but like goldberg said it is not a true max, more a conservative max… thats what i think it said anyway, is there anyway of searching q/a from like a year ago over there?

% are up to you, that post shows one way to complex, I don’t complex like that myself.

I use all kinds of % of loads.
Frankly 40-50% is too light for me for speed type work :slight_smile:
I have no problems moving loads in 60 to 70% area fast, even as high as 75%

I sometimes work up to heavy loads -1 rep, and then back down to 70% area and do fast sets, they feel so damn light after the heavy stuff.
If I went directly to the light stuff first, no way I could move em fast and ballisticly.

different horses for different courses I suppose

Westside does speed and ME on seperate days
Joe average powerlifting does speed after ME bench

both systems work
Joe Average did work for Big Gene hit 900lbs
so its all what works for you

Metal Militia does no speed work

Try different things and see how it goes

this sounds a bit like the 1-6 thing charles poliquin does

and yeah if you do a much heavier rep then back to ligher weights it feels like nothing

I think I’ll give that bulgarian and reverse bulgarian split a try since I’m in a most experimenting mode


The lack of thought and mental-composure outside of the regular and what one was merely “handed” by another is depressing - for each one of us/you to move forward as athletes, we/you need to be thinking outside of the square and not on just what this trainer said or that trainer thought; you might be seriously delighted by your findings.

CoolColJ, heard much about you, read a bit too, Adam (aussieboy) says G’day - and complex training is a stunning example of not being pegged into the given system or ideal at any one time.

Whilst there are many valid arguments regarding this, it is without hesistation that I recommend doing speed work AFTER max effort lifts. True, the CNS is stressed, but if that argument suffices, you also wouldn’t train for 7x the length of time after your muscular recovery. This is one type of training principle I have used with many clients with astounding and unprecedented results.

You can do speed work and ME work together,

just becuase westside do seperate them doesnt mean that is the only way to train.

I dont beleive there is a lack of thought in any of my responses, i have looked into various systems and have incorportated the aspects i liked the most into my training which has given me an elite status in powerlifting at age 23. I am all for thinking outside the box, an CoolcolJ and i were simply debating this subject, that is what two educated people do to enlighten eachother. To call Vladamir Zatsiorsky or Louie Simmons a “trainer” is quite an understatement. One the head of his department at Penn State and an ex coach for the Soviet olympic team, the other is a long respected elite powerlifter who has trained a ton of elite lifters. So do not belittle these men. Part of Westside is variety and the willingness to try new things, we are not narrowminded.