Here it is. The single most neglected component of bodybuilding training is—drum roll, please—speed. If you think of speed at all, it’s probably only to caution yourself to slow down and increase your time under tension. Quickness is something powerlifters employ to rush the weight up via reflexes and momentum—but it doesn’t build muscle, right? Wrong. Moving the metal as fast as possible allows you to use more of it and that, in turn, increases strength but also size. This month we examine the Weider Superspeed Principle and explain how rapid reps can speed up your muscle gains.
This tenet prescribes you get through the positive portion of each rep as fast as possible. Studies have proved that such quick reps build strength more rapidly than slow and steady reps. You may think that’s all well and good for powerlifters, Olympic lifters, and others focused primarily on moving maximum metal, but as a bodybuilder you’re much more concerned with adding muscle than boosting strength. The good news is added strength can result in additional mass—if you use the Weider Superspeed Principle correctly.
There are three keys:
- First, do superspeed on only the positive portion of reps. Get the weight up as fast as possible but then lower the weight at a normal pace.
- The second key is to do superspeed on only some of your sets. At least half of your workload should still be performed at a normal pace. For example, do the first one or two sets of standing calf raises at superspeed and the last two or three at a normal pace. You’ll be able to use more weight on the rapid reps, and by doing sets of them first for each exercise you’ll physically and mentally accustom yourself to using greater resistance in all sets of that exercise. That, in turn, will boost growth.
- Finally, you must maintain correct form when going fast despite the incentive to cheat the weight up. Stay in the groove. There are a few exercises, such as walking lunges, that are too difficult to do rapidly with good form. But you can apply superspeed to the vast majority of lifts.