How to develop speed in your lifting #1

For those of you that follow my instagram account @cheshirebarbell, you will have seen that in a recent poll, most of you highlighted that it is speed, rather than strength, that is lacking in your weightlifting performance.

In the next couple of emails, I aim to help you overcome this barrier by providing you with a series of quick tips.

My first piece of advice is that you need to lift with more intent! More umph! More effort!

Success in the olympic lifts is down to a number of factors, but one of the most important is the lifter's ability to generate force... and do so quickly!

Force is equal to mass (bar + bodyweight) multiplied by acceleration (speed in which the lifter can move the bar from its slowest velocity to its maximum).

How many of you can honestly say that each and every time you put a bar on your back you move it with as much speed as you possibly can?

I know you don't do it, because I didnt, and everybody I've worked didn't until I stressed the importance of doing so.

In the example of a squat, you should descend in a controlled manner however you must try to ascend with as much drive and velocity as possible. Your body will adapt in a way that is specific to the way in which you are stimulating it. Train slow, and you'll be pretty awesome at being... you guessed it... slow!

Now I understand that in the case of the olympic lifts, they're pretty technical and complex, and therefore by default you have a tendency to perform them slowly as you're often overthinking the movement and concentrating on doing it with precision. I get it. I do it myself from time to time. Everyone I work with has done it. I assure you, however, that if you get yourself into a habit of lifting slowly, the moment that weight creeps passed your comfort zone, you're going to struggle.

If you find that your form goes to s**t once you start lifting with umph and intent, then break the movement down into segments. No decent lifter improved their ability by doing only the full competitive lifts. Break the movement down into sections; first pull, pull from low hang, pull from high hang, use blocks, incorporate lifts from the hang position and use a varitey of simpler and less complex derivatives including squat variations.

My clients and athletes here at Cheshire Barbell are fortunate as I have invested in a wireless inertia sensor. It allows me to measure their velocity during the performance of various movements. I can actually measure whether they are moving faster, or not as the case may be.

As an example... I expect most lifters to be capable of ascending out of the squat at an average speed of 0.75m/s when lifting in and around 60% of their 1RM. More often than not, they don't, particularly before they have been made aware of this factor. Once I instruct them to drive with a lot more aggression and we spend a couple of sessions increasing their awareness and ability to move forcefully... they do!

Yes, there are certain factors that may limit an individuals ability to shift weight quickly; neural efficiency, training age, fatigue status, muscular soreness, fiber type, etc, however, everyone has the ability to at least move with more intent, more drive, more umph, more effort.

So next time you feel a little slow during the snatch, clean, jerk, pulls, squats etc, ask yourself... "am I slow because I train slow?"

Chances are the answer to that question is yes!

There are a number of tips and tricks you can apply to your training programme in order develop explosiveness and it is my aim to provide you with some of this information in the next couple of emails. For now, try and apply that which I have suggested today.... and I'll check in with you again in a few days with another tip for you.

Have a great weekend!

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Cheshire Barbell 

Unit 17

Arkwright Court

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+44 7714 232 915