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Is that weight too heavy for you?

A solid question, however the answer is not always the easiest thing to ascertain.

The other day I saw a cracking little video that displayed some new tech available on an app to measure bar speed.

I know right, it’s pretty cool.

Back in the day you could only track this with some elaborate contraption or a rather costly tend unit, now though we have a whole host of tool available for the cost of a mere tuppence, yay for technology.

All you need do is type in ‘Bar speed tracking app’ on the google’s and boom, endless options.

So, bar speed.

Do you know what it should be?

Based on the collective data (mostly from weightlifters) you want to me moving the bar at 0.8m/s to achieve optimal rates of force development.

*m/s=meters per second

Depending on what info you read and the context that comes with it you may see the bar speed range being 0.6-0.8m/s, however you’d do far better to aim for 0.8m/s.

Hitting this every rep would mean a high level of motor unit recruitment, a decent amount of muscle fibres hit (1,2 a/b etc), you can also find a lot of this linked in with the older work of Dr Squat (Dr Fred Hatfield, a great mind and damn strong lifter).

Tracking you bar speed and trying to keep in the 0.6-0.8m/s will yield some rather positive results because it means the loads are optimal.

How can this help you understand/track your strength?

As you get stronger you may find that in a set of say 6 reps at the start it looks like this:

1- 0.8m/s
2- 0.8m/s
3- 0.8m/s
4- 0.72m/s
5- 0.68m/s
6- 0.65m/s

That shows the loads was just about right, if the reps had dropped below the 0.6m/s, while you could have ground out the reps you’d be actively making yourself slower.

Louis Simmons of WSBB compares it to, Tow Truck VS Ferrari, one is slow and constant,the other is powerful, worth digging in to.

Back to the point.

If you get stronger over time the above set of 6 may end up looking like this:

1- 0.9m/s
2- 0.87m/s
3- 0.85m/s
4- 0.82m/s
5- 0.8m/s
6- 0.78m/s

Give the higher velocity overall adding some load to the bar would be useful.

How much load?

For arbitrary purposes I’d say one that takes off about 10% of your bar speed, so if it topped out at 0.9m/s about, then that would take the average down to about 0.8m/s again, you get the idea.

*Of course the opposite to the above is also relevant, if you can’t maintain bar speed then you should lower the load by around 10%, just as a starting point.

We have all these lovely tools at our disposal.

First things first though, know how to use them because once you do you’ll find your programming knowledge shoots through the roof.

There you go, a basic breakdown.

This is a massive topic and one that is well worth your time delving in to.

Any questions, pop them down below.


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