T Nation

Training Only Explosively, No Grinding Reps

Hi friends.

Just a random thought I had the other day after a few of my final reps in my final sets of my floor press were “grinders”: “what if you all of your training was done in the most explosive manner possible??”

No grinding reps, just explosive. If the weight was not going up fast enough, you would reduce the weight to increase bar speed. If cardio/conditioning is involved, then it is sprints done at almost 100%.

How would this effect your strength, mood levels, performance, physique, recovery etc etc.



are you still performing slow eccentrics on these movements?

That is essentially what the olympic lifters did at the gym I went to to learn the O-lifts.

Personally, I felt great. Mood, performance, recovery, etc. were all very good. It could be an individual thing, but I like lifting in the fast/explosive range. Its the max effort stuff that kills me.

@Yogi1: Good question. For the sake of this conversation lets assume that the eccentric portion is still involved, but with no extra emphasis on it. Example no super slow eccentric movements.

@SkyzykS: From your experience, have you changed your lifting to obtain the benefits you have listed?


I have only brushed the surface of reading Wendler’s new book, but a lot of emphasis seems to be placed on bar speed. I’m probably doing a horrible job of paraphrasing, but he speaks about ensuring good bar speed on all the lifts. He would reduce a lifter’s TM if bar speed begins to be sacrificed, or that lifter is ‘grinding’.

I’m going to start training more consistently in this manner going forward and see what my individual experience is with it.


I did. At that point I was working toward a couple of weight goals, and finding out first hand what “fast” means was a big boost. Its one of those things that once incorporated changes the way you lift.

I’m currently coming back from a (way too long) hiatus due to work schedule and parental responsibilities, and just working on general strength and volume. Even with that, my lifting partner said during the first couple of sessions “I thought you weren’t going to be doing that right off the bat” meaning dynamic effort/speed work. Unintentional, and not nearly as fast, but it sticks with you.

I’m going to need a good 6 mos. to get to the point of actually going real “fast” though. I used to tear muscles from time to time even when I was fully conditioned for it. I don’t want to find out what kind of havoc that would wreak unconditioned.

1 Like

I would basically get no training done, because the majority of my work sets/reps are grinders. I’m just a slow lifter.


Check out CAT training. Jay Nera and Same Byrd did a lot of it. It usually works well for guys that are already VERY strong, because it allows them to train hard without putting excessive loads on their frame. If you are not already very strong, I’m not certain it will have the same effect.


Basically exactly how I have trained my squat from day one. Took my squat to low 800 raw w wraps with 90% of my training never having more than 4 plates on the bar.


Yeah, Wendler really stresses keeping bar speed up on the big lifts. Since I really started following this, I’ve gotten so much stronger. If I get to a point where I’m grinding any of my reps, it’s time to lower the training max. He’s really perfected the 531 system with the new book and methods, and there’s no way else I’ll ever train. I’m probably the strongest, fastest, and in the best condition I’ve ever been in. Training for performance also has me looking better than I probably ever have.


You train similar to Byrd right? I know he trained you at one point, so I’m assuming you followed the same style of training? Also, did you do it on deads or bench at all or just squat?

I’d probably respond that in slow valocity movements(such as the bench press),it would only make sense to have some heavy work.Not all of it,but some heavy load and some work to failure where you have to grind,but what Reed said blew my mind

Would you mind describing your training,giving an example of a training cycle maybe,cause this is really interesting,since training like that would probably reduce greatly the risk of injury and help perfect form


I was his training partner up until this past year when he retired. Trained every week for about 3 years. But, to answer the other question we pretty much only did it with Squat. Did see some success with bench and next to nothing with pulls. I figure because weight was to light for us to actually train proper postioning off the floor.

1 Like

12-20 weeks squat cycle.

Day 1- CAT Squat
Squat 50% of best wrapped or 60% of best sleeved foe 5x5 this doesn’t change the entire time. The only thing that changes is reducing rest between sets. But that is only done when all 25 reps are perfect and identical.
Hack Squat or Leg Press: 3-4 of 10-20
GHR: 3-4 of 8-15
Leg Curls: 3-4 of 8-15

Day 2- Weak Postion Squat
This day is about making he squat suck. So if you suck really bad at high bar, front squats, pause squats or what ever this is the movement you choose.

Front Squat or SSB for us: 5 sets of 3,5,6, or 8. Last set is an amrap. If you get 5x8 you add weight and start back over at 5x3 working back up.

Deadlift of some sort: 3-5x5-8
Unilateral leg movement: 3x8-12
GHR: 3-4x 8-15

6-8 weeks out we began peak which immediately drove us into wraps at about 70% of our best with progressively heavier singles.


Thanks for the detailed response,really appreciate it

If I’m not mistaken you had used conjugate in the past.Would you recommend CAT over speed work with bands for any reason?

1 Like

I always felt like it lacked enough volume. Do you do BBB?

When you say you felt 5/3/1 lacked volume, which program in particular are you referring to? I can’t imagine saying something like that about spinal tap.

Or anything really. If you do the three day a week version with fsl and potential jokers that’s anywhere from 6-10 sets of main work times two before any assistance work. I can only see 531 not having enough volume for people who aren’t already strong. If our deadlift 600, it’ll take you a lot longer to warm up to your top set for the day versus someone who can only pull 300.

The first and second edition books didn’t have the FSL or Jokers. A lot of people (myself included) buy Jim’s first books and start there. I can see how volume is considered low by some who are doing those versions.

The Sheiko powerlifting programs are like this.

There have also been many PL’ers that use Prilepin’s table to program their routines. Not mention, Prilepin’s table was made for Oly lifters. The premise of it is that there isn’t any straining and that every rep is damned near perfect, crisp, and clean.