What Is Dynamic Training for Strength?
Dynamic Training for Strength
If you’ve made much progress with building muscle, you probably understand that strength gains are the key to muscle gains. With only a few exceptions, a stronger muscle is a bigger muscle! However, there are ton of methods out there for gaining strength. Provided you bust ass, you’ll get decent results with almost any program, but if you really want to pick up the pace on your strength gains, you need to use dynamic training!
What Is Dynamic Training?
Popularized by the powerlifting coach Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell, dynamic, or “speed” training, involves lifting relatively light weights, explosively, for several sets of very low reps. The main benefit of this type of training is that it teaches you to fire your muscles very fast, producing a great acceleration. Remember, force is just mass times acceleration, so the faster you can lift the MORE you can lift! It might seem weird if you haven’t tried it, but you can dramatically increase your max lifts by lifting light weights with lots of speed.
Dynamic Training for the Bodybuilder
Most powerlifters use speed workouts for the squat, bench press, and deadlift because those are the actual competitive lifts. For the squat, they typically do 8-10 sets of 2 reps on the box squat, using anywhere from 50-70 percent of their max, but sometimes venturing into the 80-85 percent range. For the bench press, they do 3 reps but use only 40-50 percent of their max. And for the deadlift, they typically do just 1 rep per set, using anywhere from 40-70 percent depending on recovery ability and deadlift skill.
However, most of you reading this article probably aren’t planning on competing in a powerlifting meet anytime soon. You’re probably looking to get generally stronger and build an awesomely thick and muscular physique. If that’s the case, you should tailor your own dynamic training to suit those purposes.
For your squat training, you’ll probably want to use regular free squats, not box squats. That movement can be great for lifters using supportive gear like squat suits and briefs, but for someone just using a belt and maybe knee wraps, they are unnecessary. Start out doing 6-8 sets of 2 reps with 70 percent, but adjust the weight as needed. If it’s not moving fast, decrease to 60-65 percent. It SHOULD feel easy! The point is to be extremely explosive, pushing the lighter weights as if they were your max!
For your bench training, you may not want to use the normal bench press at all. For some lifters, it’s a great exercise, but other guys find that the incline bench press is better for building the pecs and shoulders. You could also substitute dips if you really wanted. In any case, use 50-60 percent of your max for 4-5 sets of 3 reps. You’re probably going to get the least out of dynamic training on pressing movements, so don’t waste too much time here.
Finally, for the deadlift, do 3 reps. Powerlifters do 1 rep per set because subsequent reps don’t mimic the starting position they’ll be in during a meet. Since that’s not a concern of yours, it’s better to get more dynamic work in on every set and just try to make every rep solid and fast. Do 3-4 sets of 3 reps, and then move straight into heavier deadlift work at 80-90 percent of your max.
You should organize your dynamic training into “cycles” that last 3-4 weeks. Stick with the same weight for all of your dynamic sets every workout, but increase by 10 pounds the next workout. Once you’ve done this 3-4 times, decrease by 20-30 pounds and start over, so that you’re taking 4 steps forward, 2-3 steps back, etc. This may seem slow, but you can’t just increase by 10 pounds every week! If that were possible, you’d end up increasing your lifts by hundreds of pounds per year – results don’t come that fast!
Also, realize that this dynamic training is just a small part of your overall routine. On the days that you do it, it should be the first thing you do. However, you want to still follow it up with your normal heavy, moderate-rep training for muscle building. Build mass, speed, and strength all at once for optimal results!