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Dynamic Training

Article written by Jay Stadtfeld for
Most of the time, people think of speed as something that Olympic lifters need, but nobody else. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Powerlifters and Strongmen both can benefit from adding this into their training.
Dynamic training is as simple as it sounds. Dynamic. It’s training as fast as possible under load (bodyweight or otherwise). It doesn’t necessarily have to be set up like Westside’s Conjugate system, but adding speed work to your program could certainly benefit you, and here’s why:
  • Speed will power you through a sticking point
  • It will allow you to be more efficient
  • Improves explosive force
  • Increases maximal strength
 Shane Hamman knows squat
If none of those reasons above stand out to you, you’re probably in the wrong game.
The idea with Dynamic Effort (or DE) work is to move a submaximal weight as fast as possible. I realize that this type of training makes people think of triple ply lifters who waddle up to a monolift, but it certainly has an effect on the raw lifter, as well.
There are a plethora of exercises that can be used for dynamic work, and I prefer to set it up so it’s at the beginning of my training day (after SMR and mobility work, of course) so that maximal force can be applied to any particular exercise.
Below is a list of exercises that you can use to improve your force production, and not all of them have to be with bands, chains, or a barbell:
  • Bench Press
  • Deadlift
  • Squat
  • Olympic lifts (Clean, Snatch, etc.)
  • Box Jumps, Depth Jumps, etc.
  • Any kind of throwing (shot, discus, or Highland Games style)
The biggest mistakes people make with dynamic effort training that I’ve seen involve using too much weight, not emphasizing the concentric action of the movement (the “up” phase) and instead dive-bombing the attempt, and training at too high of a rep scheme.
The percentages and rep schemes vary, dependant on if you’re a geared or raw lifter, and experience under the bar. If you’re a raw lifter, using a higher percentage will be necessary than if you’re a geared lifter. Jim Wendler has a very good write-up on EliteFTS about this particular style of training, complete with band, chain, and “straight weight” cycles, which can be found here.
Hopefully this gives you a good idea as to why you need to include some type of speed training into your program. When in doubt, train like an athlete. Get fast; get strong; get big; prosper.

4 thoughts on “Dynamic Training

  1. This article was poorly written. It’s just opinion and hear-say with no data or even a solid theory to back it up.
    Not to mention, none of the videos have anything to do with speed work. It’s like someone who has never seen or done speed work wrote this.

  2. The videos have a lot to do with speed work, showing that dynamic speed training will improve the explosivness in your lifts. It doesnt take an idiot to figure out that if you train with speed, then when it comes time for competition of any kind and you need to use that explosive power that you have developed there will be an ample amount there. Its funny that a video of Shane Hamman was used as he is from my hometown, and a very good friend of mine, I have trained with Shane before and he trains with unbelievable dynamic explosiveness in his workouts. I am a former D-1 Offensive Lineman and every workout/practice we did was nothing but explosion and technique. Tons of Squats, Power Cleans, Olympic Cleans, Bench, and Incline. EVERYTHING was done with 100% explosion and when we stepped on the game field having to call on that explosive power and dynamic speed that we had worked to develop was nothing. so no Anonymous (whoever you are) this actually was a pretty well written article. There doesnt need to be much data to back this up it was more or less a common sense theory that is used every day that not many people, especially beginners, would really think about.

  3. They posted video saying “this is proof that dynamic effort training works” but they provided 0 video of actual dynamic effort work.

    They had a theory that says “dynamic effort training works” so they got video of 1 good lifter and said “see, he was successful so it works”. If they really wanted to talk about Shane Hammond doing dynamic effort work they should have put a video of Shane Hammond doing dynamic effort work instead of his record lifts or a long side it.

    I have no idea what the other 2 videos are supposed to support; they are not done explosively and they are not impressive weights. Both videos contained heavy conditioning which has nothing to do with dynamic work, explosive strength, or any level of respectable velocity.

    Jay talks about how it is an error to train dynamic at too heavy of a weight or too high of a rep scheme and then proceeded to post a video of just that. Weight that was too heavy to be dynamic and too many reps to be dynamic. There was a clear loss of speed during that set, meaning maximal speed was not maintained the whole time, which is what dynamic effort is supposed to be. Sub-maximal weight at maximal speed.

  4. I agree with the critic here with respect to the videos. At CrossFit Ocean Beach we do a lot of speed and DE work, but we do 8×3, 10×3, 6×2, etc. at 40-50% of 1RM. The dead lift video is a very poor choice – she’s going slow with too much and doing too many reps. You can see her tire and have to pause midway through. Proper speed work would not produce this result.

    That said, I do support the article and the idea of speed work. As CrossFit becomes a sport unto itself, my athletes need to be fast, strong athletes. Doing WODs over and over does not necessarily continue to bring gains to experienced CrossFitters, especially strength gains. Mixing in extra speed and strength work consistently pushes my athletes through plateaus.

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