“I didn’t invent toilet paper, but I’m smart enough to use it”
These days it seems a lot of people in the strength training world are most interested in lifting heavy. I get it, lifting heavy is cool and very rewarding. I also believe that too much of anything is a bad thing.
Unbeknownst to most, lifting heavy is simply one method we have available to us does not lend it itself to developing rate of force production; which must be improved in order to become more explosive with Olympic lifts.
Also, lifting for speed is a much higher volume than that our max effort work, so utilizing both methods of training as opposed to just one we’ll allow for more symmetrical gains.
You probably know someone that’s done a strength cycle or maybe you’ve done one yourself. Linear periodized cycles are quite common and progress typically in terms of loading, intensity and/or volume.
Consequently, when you increase your loading bar speed invariably decreases (think about grinding out slow reps) and if you only lift slow, improving explosiveness is difficult.
Moving slow on a continuous basis neglects one piece of the puzzle: development of higher-threshold motor units that are responsible for force production and rate of coding of Type 2x fast-twice muscle fibers.
First – let’s examine the differences between the Max Effort Method & Dynamic Effort Method.
The Max Effort Method (ME)
“Lift heavy every day” is the last thing you want to do with your training.
Of course, the max effort method (ME) is the best method of training we have available to us, but too much of the ME method will cause you to go backwards with your progress. (Just to be clear, I’m specifically referring to 1-rep maxes, or your “1RM”).
Anything greater than a 1RM becomes more strength-endurance than maximal strength. Of course, multiple-rep maxes have their place in certain programs, but if your overall goal is to increase maximal-strength, then this style of training should be limited.
Let’s address some of the traits of the ME method:
- Strength-speed work is low velocity and will not facilitate rate of force development (RFD). Bar deceleration is inevitable with loads higher than 90% of one’s 1-rep max.
- Neurological improvements from both a central perspective as well as a movement pattern perspective (intra vs. inter-muscular firing).
- Intensity = 100% (or more), or maximum
- Volume is intended to be low (typically 60% or less of our Dynamic Effort Work).
- Can lead to accommodation if variations are not rotated weekly or done too often.
- Must be separated from DE work by at least 72 hours.
- Is incredibly safe when used with athletes that already demonstrate proper movement patterns.
- Follow Prelipins chart performing no more than an optimal number of 4 repetitions with loads that exceed 90%.
The Dynamic Effort Method (DE):
- Speed-strength work is intermediate velocity using loads of 75-85% of one’s 1-rep max (1RM).
- Utilizes high-threshold motor units and facilitates RFD.
- Can be used as a teaching tool for those that do not present efficient movement patterns because we are using sub-maximal loads with the focus on movement efficiency.
- Volume is high with moderate intensity.
- Accommodating resistance is recommended to ensure we have proper loading throughout full range-of-motion (ROM)
- Must be separated from ME Method by at least 72 hours.
- Is incredibly safe for all levels and can help athletes with higher concentrations of Type 1 muscle-fiber (slow twitch) to develop Type 2 muscle fiber (fast-twitch) which later translates to other aspects of fitness.
- Follow Prelipins chart performing the optimal number of repetitions with loads ranging from 50-60% of 1RM using 25% of accommodating resistance in the form of band tension or chains.
These methods have been used with our clients all over the world, as well as our first-hand clients, with great success – our ability to ensure our training is efficient is enhanced because our objective when it comes to using the ME and DE method is clear.
The overall message here is that our programming needs to be diverse. Sticking to only one method is like trying to build a house only with a hammer and a box of nails.
Using all of the tools available to us allows us to ensure our training is dense but well-rounded with the overall intent of keeping you healthy while allowing you to become stronger, better conditioned and more resilient against injury.