Optimal Speed Challenges for Your Lifts

Dynamic Speed

The following article is a collection of Target Velocities found in literature to help you pick the correct speed considering your goal and your target.

Remember training different kind of strengths requires different target speeds. They’re called Special Strengths for a reason!

If you want to jump straight to the tables, I suggest you skip the whole article and get down to the bottom. We still receive a lot of questions asking more explanations about the different Strength Traits and goals, here some words that go beyond the tutorial in app. The way the app uses training goal is heavy exercise or even set related so the beauty and the versatility of this system allows you to work two goals for the same exercise during the same exercise session, just select the exercise twice.

Max Strength

Max Strength is comprehensive of Absolute Strength and Circa Max Strength. Absolute Strength is basically a display of Max Strength and requires the highest intensity, therefore you won’t be able to do much Volume here, usually less than 10 reps total, most of the time you are satisifed with only half of these. Think about a Powerlifting meeting, that is the perfect display of Absolute Strength and the Bench Press, the Deadlift and the Squat are in deed among the best exercises to work on it.  Circa Max is, as the word suggests, close to Max Strength but not as hardcore.  When you choose Max Strength you’re aim should be to move the heaviest load possible in that exercise, still you want to accelerate it as much as you can, remember the 2nd Newton Law, Force = mass * acceleration.

Hypertrophy

Hypertrophy is more a metabolic stimulus given by a comination of Intensity (%1RM) and Volume than a real Strength Trait and it lays in the background of more than one specific condition. You can develop your muscles targeting Circa Max Strength conditions, and the combination of the volume, the rest you get and most of all, your diet will allow your muscles to recovery and grow. The same thing happens targeting more the Power zone as you can see from the values explained in Table

It has been recently shown by Spanish researchers that different kind of Speeds also lead to different kind of muscles so you want to keep an eye on that depending on your goals.

Power

Power is a wide Training zone where we gathered Strength-Speed and Speed-Strength. This is where your Power Production usually peaks for most of the exercises and you can train here with a lot of exercises from Squats and Variations to Presses to Cleans and Snatches.

You can read more about the differences between Strength-Speed and Speed-Strength here.

If you want to become more powerful this should be staple of your workouts. When you become more powerful, you lift the same load at a higher speed. Pay attention thou, this is not the only training zone you need and it may not represent the best way to produce peak power. In exercises like Squats and Bench Press or their variations you often end up decelerating the load in the top part of the lift. This is a great disadvantage as you loose most of the training effect transferring to the real movement. You are actually learning to decelerate where you should accelerate the most. When this happens, you have two solutions :

  •  combo your weigths with bands and chains to accomodate resistance. This works when you’re interested in the very first phase of the movement, the bottom part, and you want this acceleration to go through the last part.1)“Special Strength Developments For All Sports” Louie Simmons, 2015
  • Alter the dynamic of the exercise getting rid of the deceleration, transforming the exercise from a “Strength” exercise to a “Ballistic” Exercise. For example you could turn a Bench Press into a Bench Throw or a Back Squat into a Squat Jump. Going through this transition, you might also switch velocity zone, going from Power to Velocity. Although this might sounds like a revolution in your training, it might also be the reason holding you back from your goals! 2)“Using Full Acceleration and Velocity Dependants Exercises to enhance Power Training” D. Baker, 20073)“Selecting the appropriate exercises and loads for Speed Strength Development” D.Baker

Velocity

Velocity is the fastest of the Training Zones. This is also called Starting Strength or more generally.. explosiveness. For Special Strengths and specific tasks like jumping highers, exploding from your stance and have a faster 5yds accelerations, increase your broad jumps, you want to share your training between Velocity and Power, constantly waving between the two. Also this is the training zone to pick for most of the Olympic Weightlfting sub maximal work.

Finally, here some golden tables  :

MAX STRENGTHBELOW 0.5 M/S
HYPERTROPHY0.1 – 1.0 M/S
POWER0.7 – 1.3 M/S
STRENGTH - SPEED0.7 - 1.0 M/S
SPEED - STRENGTH1.0 M/S - 1.3 M/S
VELOCITY (STARTING STRENGTH)ABOVE 1.3 M/S

 

You can really be creative once you understand how easy it is to relate the Special Strength you’re looking for and the Speed you need to target.

Anway, here are the most sought after target speeds by power athletes around the globe4)“Developing Explosive Athletes: Use of Velocity Based Training in Training Athletes” B.Mann, 2015:

Optimal Speed for Main Exercises

Exercise Target Speed
Squat (Dynamic Effort)0.8 - 1.0 m/s
Snatch Power Shrug1.45 m/s
Snatch Power Pull1.8 m/s
Snatch 1.5 - 1.96 m/s
Push Up0.7 - 0.9 m/s
Pull up0.7 m/s - 1.0 m/s
Power Shrug1.1 m/s
Power Pull 1.2 m/s
Power Clean1.35 m/s
Military Press0.7 - 0.9 m/s
Lat Pulldown1.0 - 1-2 m/s
Hang Snatch1.35 - 1.95 m/s
Deadlift (Dynamic Effort)0.7 - 1.0 m/s
Box Step Up (different Box Heights)0.8 m/s - 1.2 m/s
Squat Jumps1.5 m/s - 1.8 m
Bench Throw1.2 m/s - 1.6 m/s
Bench Press (Dynamic Effort)0.8 - 1.0 m/s
Barbell Bent Over Row0.8 m/s - 1.0 m/s
Thruster1.3 - 1.5 m/s
Wall Ball Throw1.8 m/s
This table shows the optimal speeds for Power Productions. We're talking about Mean Speed here. Exercises are divided into two main categories, Strength or Power depending on the dynamic of the exercise.

 

Some coaches and athletes are used to work with peak speeds in some ballistic exercises, Bryan Mann 5)Olympic Lifts : The importance of Peak Velocity and Recommended Guidelines, Bryan Mann, Simplifaster Blog provided another great tools thanks to his research and illustrates Peak Speeds for the Olympic lifts based on athletes’ height.

Olympic Lifts Peak Speed Table

ExercisePeak Speed
Snatch from Floor2.5 m/s
Clean from Floor1.85 m/s
Jerk1.8 m/s
Peak Power Speeds for the Olympic LIfts. Values depends on Athlete's height and refers to a 6'2" standard height.

 

References   [ + ]

1. “Special Strength Developments For All Sports” Louie Simmons, 2015
2. “Using Full Acceleration and Velocity Dependants Exercises to enhance Power Training” D. Baker, 2007
3. “Selecting the appropriate exercises and loads for Speed Strength Development” D.Baker
4. “Developing Explosive Athletes: Use of Velocity Based Training in Training Athletes” B.Mann, 2015
5. Olympic Lifts : The importance of Peak Velocity and Recommended Guidelines, Bryan Mann, Simplifaster Blog
Ingtommy

by Ingtommy

Founder, President and CTO of Beast Technologies Aerospace Engineer turned Certified Strength Coach Wide Receiver for Parma Panthers and Italian National Football Team "Lifting is mathematics, physics and biomechanics" cit. Louie Simmons