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Mike Tuchscherer
03-25-2013, 01:08 PM
Here's the article on the JTS website: http://www.jtsstrength.com/articles/2013/03/25/why-speed-work-doesnt-work/

I figured with the folks we have around here, we might get a little discussion going.

Mark Jamsek
03-26-2013, 12:05 AM
Great article, Mike. I always thought speed work (in the Westside sense as I was introduced to it) was a waste of time. As I understand it they used as low as 55-65% 1RM, which just seems like folly.

I see more efficacy in your (or is it Dr Hatfield) "version" of speed (read: power) work. ~80-85% doubles, or x2 @7.

In the vein of your article though, why don't we exclusively use protocols of x2-3 @9-10? Excuse the novice question.

Adam Johnson
03-26-2013, 01:27 AM
I've pretty much felt this way for years now. Like a lot of Powerlifters I tried to apply parts of the Westside programming to my own when I got back into competing. I did speed work religiously for over a year and in the end determined I just wasted a bunch of my time. Nice to see an accomplished lifter not afraid to come out and say it as well.

Mike Tuchscherer
03-26-2013, 02:42 AM
Mark, I agree. The higher your intensity, the better the force production. And that's essentially the answer to your question, too. There are goals and objectives out there beyond the scope of force production and those will require different protocols. If you care about power production, then perhaps speed work would be effective. But if you're a powerlifter who cares about power production, then you're either a multi-sport athlete or confused.

And to be fair, there are other instances where speed work can be useful. The thing is all training modalities need to be tailored to the specific objective you have. If your goal is hypertrophy, select among the best hypertrophy protocols. If your goal is SPP, select protocols that will develop SPP.

Mike Tuchscherer
03-26-2013, 03:58 AM
Interestingly enough, the data I gathered showed that when weights were very submaximal, Fmax wasn't reached. BUT, the peak force values on the last rep of, say x4 @9, was actually HIGHER than the peak force values displayed in my near-1RM sets.

Mark Jamsek
03-26-2013, 10:33 AM
Mark, I agree. The higher your intensity, the better the force production. And that's essentially the answer to your question, too. There are goals and objectives out there beyond the scope of force production and those will require different protocols. If you care about power production, then perhaps speed work would be effective. But if you're a powerlifter who cares about power production, then you're either a multi-sport athlete or confused.

And to be fair, there are other instances where speed work can be useful. The thing is all training modalities need to be tailored to the specific objective you have. If your goal is hypertrophy, select among the best hypertrophy protocols. If your goal is SPP, select protocols that will develop SPP.

Fair point. An interesting observation is that in all weightlifting programs I know of, intensity never falls below 75% - and even then briefly at the onset of a new macrocycle. Where this sport is highly dependent on RFD.


Interestingly enough, the data I gathered showed that when weights were very submaximal, Fmax wasn't reached. BUT, the peak force values on the last rep of, say x4 @9, was actually HIGHER than the peak force values displayed in my near-1RM sets.

Does this observation support the protocol prescribed for wedge shaped force curves?

sidhant172
03-26-2013, 07:40 PM
Mark, I agree. The higher your intensity, the better the force production. And that's essentially the answer to your question, too. There are goals and objectives out there beyond the scope of force production and those will require different protocols. If you care about power production, then perhaps speed work would be effective. But if you're a powerlifter who cares about power production, then you're either a multi-sport athlete or confused.

And to be fair, there are other instances where speed work can be useful. The thing is all training modalities need to be tailored to the specific objective you have. If your goal is hypertrophy, select among the best hypertrophy protocols. If your goal is SPP, select protocols that will develop SPP.


A bit confused. So, should a powerlifter use 2@7 work?
I understand that this will depend on his force curve. But assuming that for this powerlifter's specific force curve, you would recommend 2@7 work, why would
it be any superior to 2@9-10 work, since that latter is going to allow more force production?

Also, isn't doubles at around 80% supposed to allow maximum force generation?

Donald Lee
03-27-2013, 12:53 AM
Mike, what does the force curve look like with accomodating resistance, at lower (6-7) and higher RPEs? It seems like Louie's speed work prescriptions are usually much heavier than people usually think, because of the accomodating resistance and because the numbers thrown around are usually based off your multiply competition numbers. And he uses like 65-75% of your 1-RM for the Squat and DL, while sticking with like 55-65% for the Bench.

Mike Tuchscherer
03-27-2013, 07:44 AM
Truthfully, I haven't had time to think about what this will mean, if anything, for the future of force curve analysis. But real world observations make us better.

As Matt Perryman said, "A theory that contradicts experimentation is wrong."

Sidhant, the only time I can think of off hand to recommend x2 @7 would be injury situations and if they were struggling to recover from heavier sessions. I suppose you could do repeats of x2 @7 where the last sets end up as X2 @8 or higher, but I think there are better approaches in most situations.

Donald, his prescriptions may be heavier than most people think. I wasn't writing this against Westside, but I think it's common to see people using weights that are too light thinking they are accomplishing something.

Donald Lee
03-28-2013, 03:53 PM
Out of all the internet debate on this topic, I think Mladen Jovanovic had the best comments (http://www.facebook.com/jimwendler/posts/501349716569125):

"There is one logic MT used that MIGHT be flawed and that is that the force output (along with technique he listed as well) is sole reason for improvements/transfer. The force output is highly related to the weight on the bar. Hence speed work doesn't create much force output.

Yet I wonder if this is really that important. One example: you have DC motor and certain battery attached to it. Force output (moment arm in this case or torque) will depend on (1) voltage and (b) external load (ventilator, inertia, load, etc) [without taking into account characteristics of the motor like viscosity, etc].

So, if you stop the motor with hand then it will have zero velocity but high force. Or if you reduce resistance it will speed up.

In both cases motor is working at his full potential. This is mainly because the voltage is the same.

If you improve voltage you might improve motor potential. Hence, I don't know how much is the force output important (certainly there is some threshold). It might be that speed work might improve voltage sort of speaking, even if the force output is lower that with ME. It might improve voltage (intent - CNS recruitment, coding, coordination - technique) plus allows a lot more volume.

Not sure how Mike achieve high volume he claims to be VERY important along with (near) grinding all the time. Not sure what would guys using Sheiko have to say...

Anyway a great read... We need texts like this.

There is a study of bench pressers doing 'quality work' at 85% of 1RM until the velocity of the lift stays above 80% of the best rep. This usually turned to doing sets of 2-3.

Here is my review of the study: http://complementarytraining.blogspot.se/2012/06/research-review-effects-of-different.html

Not sure if this qualities as speed work, but it is definitely submax work. It is along the line with Sheiko/Prilepin volume tables.

I am experimenting with this approach (velocity-based strength training) and will have more to say in month to come

Anyway, as MT said between the lines in his article is that what brought you from A to B is not necessarily the thing that can bring you from B to C...."

Mike Tuchscherer
03-29-2013, 05:08 AM
Absolutely Mladen had the best reply.

My thinking is that increasing the load a little (into the 8 RPE range) won't compromise your volume tolerance much if at all. Most of the lifters I work with seem to be limited by time at this point rather than work capacity. I also like the DC motor analogy. But the question quickly becomes:
1) Will "speed training" increase the voltage and
2) Will heavier training increase the voltage more/better/faster/etc, then
3) if the answer to both is yes, we have to determine which best capitalizes on training economy.

Anyway, I'm going to email Mladen and see if he'd like to discuss this here. I have a ton of respect for him and I'm interested in what he has to say. It's a major benefit that he can form a logically constructed argument, too! lol

Millul
03-29-2013, 09:37 AM
Yep: with my RTS template, I find that usually my main constraint is time availability.
You can do sets @8 for a very long time, before fatigue sets in, and it is exactly what Sheyko has you doing: triples at 80%, on a "any day" scale, usually rate around @8 for most, I think (especially after a few sets).

keiwil
03-30-2013, 02:13 PM
To my limited knowlege voltage on itself doesn't determine the DC engine wattage.
When voltage increases so is the amperage, so the input power is a product of those two.
P=VxI

The DC engine is to my understanding is actually delivering less mechanical power when the rpm's are low.
output power = (torque) x (rpm) / 9.57

The optimal power output is between the maximum rpm's without resistance and a stalled state of no rpm's and highest resistance to achieve 0 rpm's. Hence input power isn't the only variable that determines the output power of the DC motor.
The body to my understanding doesn't work like a dc motor. The speed-torque curve isn't linear to my knowledge.

Im guessing the optimal balance between speed and resistance might be at 80% but to confirm that i need to run some tests through tracker where i do a movement with little speed and high resistance and high speed and low resistance.

Millul
03-30-2013, 02:24 PM
Mike, some good points are being raised in the powerlifting section of WBB: check it out, the thread could evolve in a very thoughtful discussion

http://www.wannabebig.com/forums/showthread.php?169443-An-argument-against-speed-work

Donald Lee
03-31-2013, 09:32 PM
Here's Mike's 2nd article (http://www.jtstrong.com/articles/2013/03/28/speed-work-not-this-again/) on the topic.

And here's Part 1 (http://www.complementarytraining.blogspot.se/2013/03/does-speed-work-work-my-response-to.html) of Mladen's thoughts.

Mark Jamsek
04-01-2013, 04:42 AM
Regarding Mike's article here (http://www.jtstrong.com/articles/2013/03/28/speed-work-not-this-again/), specifically "THE DATA" portion, and Mladen Jovanović's response here (http://www.complementarytraining.blogspot.se/2013/03/does-speed-work-work-my-response-to.html), specifically his question:


If improving 1RM also improves submax velocities, will improving submax velocities also improve 1RM? And who is first – chicken or the egg and what is the best way to improve each?

I thought studies had already shown that increasing Fmax results in a higher improvement in RFD than an increase in RFD does in reciprocate. I'm too pressed for time now to try find the studies I think I've previously read.

And the rest of Mladen's article, while very interesting, somewhat drifts from Mike's assertion that speed work as he defined it (http://www.jtstrong.com/articles/2013/03/28/speed-work-not-this-again/) is nowhere near as conducive to a powerlifter's goals as some believe. Mladen does refer to some interesting programming protocols (http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/sheiko_shakes_up_powerlifting) that when considered in aggregate with relevant data, albeit it mostly anecdotal, would imply that the majority of time (or training volume) should be spent at submaximal loads (75-85%).

I suppose the best (first) exhibit lending credence to this belief is Ed Coan. Though I could be way off the mark.

Mike Tuchscherer
04-01-2013, 05:27 AM
I thought both of Mladen's response articles were extremely well done. I think we're all in agreement that there is simply not as much force produced with light weights. But I can see how people interpret it differently and use it as a tool for different reasons (hence the subtext of the original article "at least not why you think it does").

In most of the programs I've seen, Sheiko's bread-and-butter protocols are 5 sets of 3 at 80%. This wouldn't fit my definition of speed work, but rather Sub Max Effort work.

Mark Jamsek
04-01-2013, 05:57 AM
Mike, what do you think of the question:

"If improving 1RM also improves submax velocities, will improving submax velocities also improve 1RM? And who is first – chicken or the egg and what is the best way to improve each?"

I would think submax-max effort results in more effective Fmax improvement, and that RFD specific work results in more effective power improvement.

But where I think that improved Fmax results in some* RFD improvement, I don't know that improved RFD results in equal* Fmax improvement.

In other words, you're either weightlifting or powerlifting, as per the SAID principle.

Mike Tuchscherer
04-01-2013, 06:08 AM
Improving 1RM will only improve sub max velocity to a point. Just as hyperbole, every shotputter knows that just because they got stronger (higher 1RM), it doesn't necessarily mean they will throw further. It can help and I do think that max strength is the basis for all other forms of strength.

In my experiences as a lifter and coach, it would appear that you need to practice generating Fmax in order to get better at generating Fmax. Not generating Fmax doesn't seem helpful in developing a higher Fmax. I haven't done a thorough analysis on this yet, but it's where I'm going with things at the moment. I honestly need to take a weekend and think about how this affects different aspects of training because it's potentially a bigger principle than we give it credit for.

Mark Jamsek
04-01-2013, 07:39 AM
Yeah, as you know it's beyond my level of development, but I just enjoy the discussion. Exercise/Sport science is really in its infancy but as far as I know nothing new has disproved old Eastern Bloc methodologies.