T Nation

Speed of Lift


hey guys im still confused on this because theres so many different opinions...but whats the fact on this... for gaining explosive strength and trying to maintain muscle mass or possibly gain when trying to lose fat are u supposed to lift really fast? like lets say on th ebench press u go down as fast as u can with proper form and explode up? or u go down slow and explode up? same for the squat?


For anything athletic, the lifting part should be done as fast as possible. You'll find a wider variety of opinions regarding the optimal speed of eccentrics, but most would probably agree that a controlled lowering (1-2 seconds) is fine.


Always explode up. The speed of the descent doesn't matter as much as the tension you put on the muscles when you bring the bar down. Some guys can drop fast without sacrificing that tension while others have to drop a lot slower to maintain the same tightness.


I like to describe it to people as if you're going into battle, would you want 1 person behind you, or a whole army behind you? Well, lifting slowly, you've got that 1 person. Lifting explosively, you've got the army. The speed increases the amount of muscle fibers recruited, bringing more guys to the battle, so to speak.

As you increase in weight, obviously, your speed will decrease. However, you must still attempt to move the weight as fast as you possibly can...


so take like a second to go down and explode up


I think that's the coolest strength training anaology I have ever heard. Definitely going to remember that one, thanks.


Basically, you want to lower the bar as fast as possible and still maintain control and tightness. This might be one second for you or it may be four seconds. Everyone is a bit different, if you have ever seen Doug Young bench press http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlmS1porR7E
he takes an eternity to lower the bar to his chest and then explodes up. Personally, my bench press negatives are about 3-4 seconds but this is what works best for me.

Some of the best advice I got on bar speed came from a 63 year old powerlifter at a meet recently who has been lifting for 40 years. He said "you don't get points for goin' slow". So remember to explode as fast as you can on the concentric, that is most important.


I second that. That's a good line OneDay.


Thanks guys, I do what I can...