Speed Training is a very important aspect of any lifter or athlete’s programming. It’s also very confusing and easy to screw up. Today’s post is going to answer a frequently asked question (FAQ) regarding Speed Training workouts. 

Question: I want to use the speed training method you mentioned in this article. How much weight do I use, how long do I do it, and how do know if I’m progressing? Also, since I feel I’m slower than I’m supposed to be, should I do the speed work twice per week instead of the second session being a heavy day?

Answer: First things first, NO don’t do speed days twice per week with no max effort or heavy days. Ideally, you do the speed day 48-72 hours before the heavy or max effort day. So for example, in the squat movement pattern, do your speed day (using 40-60% of your max) on a Monday. Then come back on Wednesday or Thursday and do the Max Effort (ME)/heavy training day for the same squat movement. 

You can set this up in phases or blocks of any length – 4, 6, 8, 12 weeks, etc, etc. Most strength athletes do 4-6 week blocks and rotate movements every block/phase. By that, we mean change the variation of squat, bench or deadlift. Keeping the squat as our example, you could do Front Squats for one block, then box squats, then safety bar squats…Whatever movement you choose, perform that same movement for both the speed day AND the heavy day.

It is the heavy day that shows your progression – you should be getting stronger and seeing improvement on that day. Whether you realize it or not, jumping, throwing, and sprinting are ALL max effort actions. The speed day teaches your body to produce force as rapidly as possible. The heavy or Max Effort day trains your ability to produce as much force as possible. It is the combination of producing lots of force AND producing that force rapidly that makes a powerful, explosive athlete.

Sample Speed Day

Upper Body = 5-8 x 2-3 reps (40-60%)

Lower Body = 7-12 x 1-2 reps (40-60%)

Sample Max Effort Day (2-3 days later)

Let’s say your Squat max was 185. A sample ME session would look like this:

bar (45) x 5 x 2-3 sets

75 x 3

95 x 3

115 x 2

135 x 1

155 x 1

175 x 1

190 x 1 (New PR)