Increasing Your Bar Speed to Increase Your Lifts

There are many factors that play into how much weight you can lift. Factors that play into this are muscular strength, power, motor unit recruitment, technique, and so on. One aspect that I feel is over looked is the rate at which you can move the bar, or “bar speed”.

Strongmen event: the Deadlift (phase 2).

Why It Matters

When you are performing a lift it should be controlled going down and fast up.  This is true for most lifts. Too often you see people on either ends of this model, either controlled all the way with no speed or uncontrolled down and fast up. The first person is not going to develop power with being controlled all the way through the lift, and the second person is letting the weight control them. This could end in injury.

With this being said, the individual with a faster bar speed is going to be able to successfully complete more of their lifts, missing less lifts. Reason being, the faster you can move the bar the more force you will be putting into the ground. The more force you can produce the more work you can do, resulting in heaver weights lifted.

How To Increase Your Speed

The great thing about speed work is that you are able to perform two multi joint lifts in the same day. For instance, you could do a deadlift and then perform a speed squat directly after or the other way around.

This is because when performing speed work you are using less weight and focusing of the speed in which you can move the bar. The weight of the lift is going to be less then 80% of your 1 rep max, and the reps will be in the 1 to 5 range. The rule here is that the greater the percentage the lower the reps and vice versa. You want your rest intervals to be in the 30 second to 1 minute 30 second range.

Example: 10×1 80% 1RM, 8×3 60%, 4×5 35%, or something like this.

The Wrap Up

If you train slow you’re going to be slow. This is true with lifting weights. If you want to lift heavy weights then you need to get that bar speed up. The faster you can move the bar will result in more force and the more force produced equals more weight lifted. So get out there and increase that speed.


Josh Williams

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Posted on February 21, 2013, in Training and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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