Home to Birmingham Barbell Club
Home to Birmingham Barbell Club
Training with Intent6 min read
Welcome to our latest blog!!
Hopefully everyone at MSC appreciates the importance of good programming, and how smart progressive programming can help improve performance and minimise injury in the gym and help keep you robust for any sport/the game of life outside of the gym. But is it enough to have the best programming without performing it to its fullest? If you aren’t performing your Strength + Conditioning training with max intent, you could be missing out on a lot of progress!
From a strength perspective, lifting weights at maximal velocity (while keeping form) is the best thing you can do to ensure the fastest rate of strength progress possible! Henneman’s principle states that muscle fibers are recruited from smallest and slowest, moving up to largest and fastest twitch fibers based on a needs basis. This mean lifting slowly and submaximally will not lead to the development of the larger, faster twitch fibers until failure is reached (which we don’t recommend you do often), or until maximum force is being produced. In one of the few studies that looked at bar speed (that also equated intensity and volume), there was a 18% increase in strength for the group that lifted the concentric at maximal speed, while the group that intentionally lifted slower gained 9% strength from the 6 week programme. Obviously the strength gain is massive, and reflective of the participants of the study (low training age), but the difference between the groups is significant, and shows the importance of aiming to produce maximum force on the concentric phase!
If you goal is maximal power/Speed (Met-Con could fall into this category), the same study saw a greater increase in Concentric speed and power too, with the max effort group increasing bar Speed by 36%, compared to 17% for the slow concentric group, showing that if power output and maximal speed is your goal, then it’s clear to see lifting at maximal speed, for both heavy and lighter loads is most beneficial.
Post activation Potentiation (PAP) research has been around for a while now, and has been shown to acutely increase performance on both speed and maximal force production. As part of a warm up, this could include some speed efforts at submaximal weights (ie 50% + light band for doubles) , or some higher velocity work such as jumps and sprints. The third option? performing your warm up sets at the highest velocity possible! This is the simplest way to take advantage of PAP. The aim of the warm up should be to feel good under the bar, practise technique, and increase your potential performance as high as possible. If you are new to lifting weights, your warm ups may need to be slow to begin with, but as you practise the skill of the lift and you have greased the groove, you should be looking to move your warm-up sets as quick as you can, this could potentially increase fast twitch fiber recruitement, this increase in recruitment can potentially increase performance in the short-term. So performing you warm-ups with maximal velocity can increase the performance of your working sets, meaning more volume and intensity= More gainz!
Shifting your focus from going through the motions, to moving all your sets with maximum intent, while maintaining good technique can offer massive benefit to your pursuit of strength and power goals, and should be something you are all striving to do!
Want to read more on the topic? Start here!