Do you ever use speed work in training? If so, do you ever perform speed work with bands or chains?

I have regularly included speed work into my training for years. Sometimes I will use bands or chains to provide additional resistance towards the top of the lift. I think most of us were introduced to speed work, and training with bands and chains, from articles written by Westside Barbell’s Louie Simmons in Powerlifting USA magazine. It is good practice to change things up and provide a little different training stimulus to work on strength and power development.

I regularly rotate box squats, speed squats, and front squats into my light squat workout. This cycle I am including speed work with bands as part of my workout. We closely follow the program variables that are utilized by Westside Barbell to determine intensity, sets, repetitions, and rest period length.

Mental intensity in the gym is great during this workout. We keep the pace real fast with 1-minute rest between sets. This works out to about two loud jams of your favorite heavy-metal selection. The short rest periods help maintain the mental intensity that is necessary to focus on moving the weight as fast as possible, and also cuts down on the duration of the workout. We keep the load in the 50-60% of our 1RM with an additional 20% of band tension. I don’t think it matters if you have an exact amount of band tension, as it’s hard to be scientific with a group of lifters that are not all the same height. We are using Rogue Purple bands, and we have them set so that they provide no tension at the bottom of the lift.

Speed work is a great method to include in your training for all three powerlifts: squat, bench and deadlift. This method can be used either as an active recovery workout, or as an additional light training session.

Brad Gillingham

Brad Gillingham is a Hall of Fame Powerlifter who is a 6-time IPF World Powerlifting Champion and has more than 30 IPF World Championship medals under his belt.  Brad is the co-owner of Jackals Gym where he coaches a variety of athletes.  Brad is also strength and conditioning coach for wrestling and volleyball at Southwest Minnesota State University.

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