• Faster Bench Progression From Faster Concentrics

      From Ergo-Log

      Experienced strength athletes can increase their maximal weight for bench presses by ten percent in just a couple of weeks by raising the bar faster than normal and lowering it more slowly than normal. Researchers at the University of Rome write about this in the International Journal of Sports Medicine.

      The researchers believe that lifting weights at higher speed gives muscle growth extra impetus. They also suspect that strength athletes tend to train at the speed they find easiest - which is probably not the speed that will produce the best results.

      The researchers performed experiments with 20 subjects in their forties, all of whom had been doing weight training for 18-19 years. The researchers divided their subjects into 2 groups. The subjects in one group continued to train as they were used to doing, moving the weights at their own preferred speed for the bench press [SPS]. This was the control group.

      The experimental group did bench presses at a fixed speed. The subjects pushed the weights up at 80-100 percent of their maximal speed [FPS].

      The figure below shows that the upward, concentric movement took the experimental group 0.8 seconds to perform. This movement took the control group 1.3 seconds. The downward, eccentric, movement took 2 seconds in the experimental group and 1.5 seconds in the control group.

      Both groups trained twice a week using weights that were 55 percent of the weight at which they could just manage 1 rep [1RM]. Between sets they rested for two minutes. For the experimental group bench press training ended when the athletes could only lift at 80 percent of their maximal speed; the control group continued training until the point of exhaustion.

      After three weeks the researchers observed that the maximal strength of the control group subjects had remained constant, but that of the subjects in the experimental group had increased by 10.2 percent. The maximal speed had also increased by more in the experimental group than in the control group.

      The researchers suspect that speeding up the concentric movement resulted in the muscle tissue receiving stronger electrical impulses from the nervous system. And as a result, more muscle fibres contracted, and therefore developed, than otherwise would be the case.

      "This study shows that the speed execution of an exercise leads to a specific muscle recruitment during the whole period", the researchers conclude. "This information is useful as a guideline to work out an optimum training as well as training protocols particularly useful to resistance trained subjects."

      Int J Sports Med. 2012 May;33(5):376-80.

      Source: http://www.ergo-log.com/faster-conce...nch-press.html
      Comments 2 Comments
      1. Torobestia's Avatar
        Torobestia -
        Pretty cool research. This supports the implementation of speed work for bench in Westside, as well as the countless addendums by elite benchers that say you should actually do the eccentric slowly on DE bench days rather than bomb it down to your chest for best results.

        My only qualm is that there should have been a third experimental group (a second control) that used the exact same volume as the experimental group. As it stands now, it looks like the research concludes speed bench training is more effective than training to failure for increasing your bench. However, the way ergolog describes it the research does not conclusively make the case for using a slow eccentric for speed work.
      1. LizKing531's Avatar
        LizKing531 -
        That 3rd group would help a lot -

        Hmm....I started working on increasing the speed of certain lifts recently - I mapped out my future goals & noticed I need an investment in more weight, so I'm hoping to buy a little time with the weight I've got at home... When I add weight, I'm going for 8 reps, if I can do all 8 reps, then the next time I do that exercise, I'll go 10 or 12 reps, if I can do that, then the next time I'll go for a faster speed (keeping form clean) - all those aspects met, then I'll up the weight again.... So far, I've noticed some quick strength increases, especially on dips, as well as rows.

        I know I'm just gonna have to bite the bullet & buy more wieght, but I've gotta manage the "don't piss of the wife" part of the budget... :)
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