Speed and Dynamic Efforts

By Shane Sweatt and Laura Phelps-Sweatt

In Powerlifting, Videos

March 08, 2012

Video Article

Lifting heavy is only one part of the Westside Barbell Method. Another important part is lifting fast. Shane Sweatt and elite powerlifter Laura Phelps-Sweatt explain.

Dynamic-effort days find powerlifters racking up a certain amount of volume by moving percentages of their max very quickly in small sets, usually with additional resistance added to the bar in the form of bands and/or chains.

The dynamic sessions are programmed in a three-week wave: in the first week, you load the movement at 50 percent of your max—plus bands or chains—and you increase the bar weight by five percent each week. At the end of the cycle, you move on to a different movement and start building up again.

Sweatt says the mistake that’s most often seen in dynamic-effort training is loading too much weight on the bar and moving it slowly. If you aren’t generating optimal bar speed—0.8 to 1 meter per second—you need to reduce the load.

5min 10sec

Additional reading: CrossFit Strength Training by Louie Simmons, published Feb. 1, 2011.



7 Comments on “Speed and Dynamic Efforts”


wrote …

So helpful! Thanks for the video. A few questions:

1) The 25% accommodating resistance. My squat max is 350, my 50% DE day would be 175 assuming good speed on bar.

Is the 25% accommodating resistance 43.75# in addition to the 175# bar weight ?

Is that additional 43.74# resistance at the bottom or top of the movement?

The breakdown of the goals for the intervals really helped me understand the bigger picture of DE days.


wrote …

Resistance is at the top of the movement. 25% of 350=87.5 pounds. Doesn't have to be exact. Light Bands would fit the bill here at around 80lbs at the top depending on how tall you are and how you set it up. or 2 sets of 5/8" chain with two or three links on the floor when you are standing up.


wrote …

Seems like there would be a lot of goodness in getting the bar speed technology to an affordable level, since there will be so many of us implementing this without benefit of a coach, and therefore, likely to load too light or too heavy and miss the point of the high speed at peak load for that speed.

IOW - if the point is to keep hitting the crossover on the speed/load curve at which you are hitting the .8-1m/s with the highest load you can, more precision in knowing the bar speed would be very valuable.

Have been playing around with using a camera to measure this - perhaps if I had a real time clock (with tenths of seconds) visible in the video that would help. Someone who's camera/software proficient could probably contribute here by showing how to use some cheap software to allow the precision in bar speed measurement. both my squat and deadlift bar path approximate a meter, and my time in motion approximates a second; not sure if that's "close enough for govt work."

Have been playing with DE days now for six months and I love it. I like having days with a different focus than "what's the biggest I can lift." I like the variation in positions and bars. I like the slow build over time. If it's possible to build speed with this approach, I need that - always a deficit. The bands/chains are time killers to learn the set ups but not overwhelming. I like the confidence that comes with doing high speed reps w so many variations in bars, positions, bands, and chains. When the time comes to grab a bar and rip it, I know I can keep the position.

The variation that I have used vice doing short rest intervals is to use super sets - pairing deadliest with some press variant, and pairing squats with a pull-up variant. I also build in a ten minute clean or snatch ladder prior to the DE work. I hope the data will give me some sense of the value of this programming by year's end. In terms of the experience, I like it so much I really hope it works for me.

The Westside vids are a GREAT resource, well worth the cost of the CFJ subscription all on their own.


wrote …

Excellent video, well laid out training. I was wondering if there was any alternative to using the bands/chains since some athletes may not have access to them. I realize the accommodating resistance is essential to the dynamic effort days and was wondering if training with the method without them is pointless....

Thanks for any help!


wrote …

Bands are cheap. There is virtually no excuses to buy a set of minis and light bands. No only can they be used for dynamic days, but they can be used for stretching (check out mobility wod), they can be used for prehab and can be used to add a lot of exercises that aren't typically used at a box to hit ones weak points--band leg curls, band only good mornings,pull aparts, tri and ab work plus you can add them to other stuff too--banded KB swings.

It's a great investment.
I wish chains were cheaper, but they aren't, but they look cooler.


wrote …

Be careful not to overthink this and get caught up in the math. A lot of these percentages and movement speeds are guidelines, not set in stone. Unless you are training for a powerliting meet you don't have to be that perfect. The bottom line is if the bar is moving fast and your lifts are going up then you have it right. If the bar is slow and you are no good on max effort day then you are using too much weight.

One thing I like to do is make my speed work like a metcon. I had great results from doing 3 benches, then 5 pullups for 8 rounds for time. Same with the squat and deadlift: I set up two bars and alternated doing two squats and then one deadlift for 10 rounds.


wrote …

Very good info many thanks!
Me and de days rock big time. Check out the CFE programming for the endurance take on this amazing system.

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