Speed work can be beneficial for both powerlifters and bodybuilders. However most benefit goes to powerlifters as it’s a sport specific thing. It should go without saying, that other sport specific task like sprinting benefit from this as well.
Here you can find out if your speed strength is wack.
The key idea behind the speed work is simple. If you are not able to generate the rapid power output from i.e. the bottom in the bench, you wont be able to develop a momentum during your set to lock out heavier weights. So if you got a really good push out from the bottom, you can power through a weak point towards the top, even if you triceps isn’t strong enough to lock out. All thanks to pecs and delts.
Implementing Speed Training Into Your Workout
Before we start, here are few things to take care of.
Squats: Your form must be perfect before you start any speed work, it can turn out to be counterproductive, and in fact, cause injury.
Bench: Watch your bar path as it tends to change during speed work on a contrary to a regular work.
Deadlift: During speed work, bar can be a bit further like 1 inch in front, all due to gravity.
Speed training: Bands and Chains.
Now, bands are useless for bodybuilders, unless you want to use them to stretch.
Bands and chains allow you to acquire maximum speed, and on the top portion of the lift during bench press and hip extensors during squat and deadlift.
So basically bands and chains get heavier towards the end of movement helping you to contract maximum power output.
Chains are preferable choice for speed training due to them being more friendly towards gravity pull when bands can be pretty annoying and have pretty distorted pathway.
How to incorporate speed work.
Speed training will always come first if you are training for a sport specific activity since it activates the largest and fastest motor units. It’s very important to get maximum benefit from speed training before you’ll get fatigued from weight training. If you do hypertrophy first, you will get very tired before the end of the workout, and by the time you will start speed training most of your units will be fatigued and you won’t be able to generate maximum power output that will be benefit for your program. Regardless of what you will be doing it should be first in your program and as a general rule, no more than once a week for each lift for 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps.
For Powerlifting, once a week bench, deadlift and squat. Everything over once a week can be overkill in a long term, as speed training usually is generating maximum power output thus taxing on your CNS ‘central nervous system’. If you do that too often it can be as similar stress as trying 1 rep Max even if effort is not near, after 3 sets of 8-10, fatigue can accumulate and will be felt badly.
Rests between sets should be around 1 minute. You want to accumulate a bit of fatigue during training. If you take too long every set will be equal in difficulty. By the end of your sets you should be at least a bit tired and burned out.
If you are doing squats, you should actually do only 2x sets, reason for this is rooted deep in biological phenomenon, when you are squatting, first 2x sets engage and produce way more output than the third, so the third set is not being really productive during speed work. For some reason this is not case for bench or deadlifts.