Author Topic: Better for the Big3: Variations or speed work?  (Read 6182 times)

Offline GatorBison

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Better for the Big3: Variations or speed work?
« on: September 10, 2016, 08:38:34 PM »
I lift 3x a week, and haven't been seeing the gains, especially on my DL, that I'd like. My question is, what do you guys think can really drive the Big 3? I'm trying to hit each 3x a week.

Monday is heavy Squat, Wednesday is heavy BP, Friday is heavy DL.

Deadlift example: Would I benefit more from speed DL at a light weight on Monday and then a variation (based of weak point) on Wednesday? IE pause deficit DLs or block pulls?

Or would I be better off doubling the speed work, and going speed x2, heavy x1?
How about if I do 2 variants and hit the weak spots hard? Variation x2, heavy x1?
Or just go speed x1, variation x1, heavy x1?

Which way is a better utilization of 3 workouts?
And as you get closer to a meet, my thoughts are you would drop the variant first, then the speed work right at the end.

What are your thoughts crew?

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Re: Better for the Big3: Variations or speed work?
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2016, 09:01:27 PM »

Deadlift example: Would I benefit more from speed DL at a light weight on Monday and then a variation (based of weak point) on Wednesday? IE pause deficit DLs or block pulls?

I think variants are more valuable, especially with deads. Most of the strength you need for deads is built with squats, really just grip and shoulders bridge the gap. People always have a sticking point that variants will help with, greasing the groove might be fine but I would save my lower back for comp day.
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Offline GatorBison

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Re: Better for the Big3: Variations or speed work?
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2016, 10:11:08 PM »
Thanks B, I have lower back issues, and speed reps on DL really bother me.  The over extension at the end, mostly. 

I go sumo, so stiff legged DL are pretty much the only conventional stance DL I do. 


So many great variations for DL.  Pause DL, deficit DL, RDL, block pulls, etc. 

What are your favorites?  And have those favorites changed as you get older?  I'm feeling my workouts become much more malleable nowadays.


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Re: Better for the Big3: Variations or speed work?
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2016, 10:38:29 PM »

What are your favorites?  And have those favorites changed as you get older?  I'm feeling my workouts become much more malleable nowadays.

Deadlifts variations are torture to me. I can't stand any of them. The most effective has been deficit deads where you're on a box. That will cure your getting it off the floor issues in a hurry.
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Offline BLK00TJ

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Re: Better for the Big3: Variations or speed work?
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2016, 11:13:49 PM »
For me, it depends on the lift.  For bench it is volume.  More volume promotes gains for bench.  If I'd try that on deadlift I'd likely go backwards.  My squat likes a little bit of volume with some variation, but not too much.  Deadlift?  When I figure that out I'll let you know.

Offline doughnutgut

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Re: Better for the Big3: Variations or speed work?
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2016, 04:31:58 AM »
Thanks B, I have lower back issues, and speed reps on DL really bother me.  The over extension at the end, mostly. 

I go sumo, so stiff legged DL are pretty much the only conventional stance DL I do. 


So many great variations for DL.  Pause DL, deficit DL, RDL, block pulls, etc. 

What are your favorites?  And have those favorites changed as you get older?  I'm feeling my workouts become much more malleable nowadays.

Do you have lower back issues?
Or is it poor mobility, tight hams that are causing the lower back issues.

Lots of issues in lower back can be a result of poor mobility.

Just chucking that in for thought.

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Re: Better for the Big3: Variations or speed work?
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2016, 09:39:42 AM »
I never do any speed work.   I like to do all my movements slow and controlled.

If you're plateauing try wave loading.

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Offline GatorBison

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Re: Better for the Big3: Variations or speed work?
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2016, 11:38:34 AM »
Thanks B, I have lower back issues, and speed reps on DL really bother me.  The over extension at the end, mostly. 

I go sumo, so stiff legged DL are pretty much the only conventional stance DL I do. 


So many great variations for DL.  Pause DL, deficit DL, RDL, block pulls, etc. 

What are your favorites?  And have those favorites changed as you get older?  I'm feeling my workouts become much more malleable nowadays.

Do you have lower back issues?
Or is it poor mobility, tight hams that are causing the lower back issues.

Lots of issues in lower back can be a result of poor mobility.

Just chucking that in for thought.


Very likely both.  My back is whack, but I have been slacking on my foam roller.  And rushing my stretching pre workout.  Not stretching/rolling post workout either. 

I lift at home, with a great many advantages.  But my 4yo angel of a daughter wants to play with her Daddy if she knows I'm here, and she's doesn't understand why NOW is not always the best time.  So I tend to rush.  :(
« Last Edit: September 11, 2016, 11:50:42 AM by GatorBison »

Offline GatorBison

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Re: Better for the Big3: Variations or speed work?
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2016, 11:39:55 AM »
I never do any speed work.   I like to do all my movements slow and controlled.

If you're plateauing try wave loading.

Have heard the term, but not that familiar with it.  Will look into wave loading.

EDIT:  Now I remember where I read that before.  Really interesting, but I shelved it because I was I was thinking about it in terms of BP.  With no lift-off, I  struggle to maintain set-up on anything >90%.  ( but I'm saving up for a modified monolift for my bench, so hopefully will be eliminating that limitation!)

Really short sighted on my part, no reason wave loading can't be used for DL, SQ, etc.

Thanks Flex!
« Last Edit: September 11, 2016, 11:49:15 AM by GatorBison »

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Re: Better for the Big3: Variations or speed work?
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2016, 11:52:03 AM »
What has helped me are more variant lifts and less actual deadlift volume.
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Offline GatorBison

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Re: Better for the Big3: Variations or speed work?
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2016, 03:17:07 PM »
How much over the course of a training week?  DL 3x a week, with 2 being variations?

I have to go back to some old logs, and see what was working.  But I also had the noob gainz working, so I'm not sure how viable that old info is.

Offline GatorBison

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Re: Better for the Big3: Variations or speed work?
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2016, 04:49:38 PM »
Different question: how do y'all feel about wave loading being used as a peaking cycle?  Run it for a few weeks, and increase weights dependent on waves completed?

Offline Get-n-fit

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Re: Better for the Big3: Variations or speed work?
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2016, 08:19:20 AM »
How heavy are you squatting?   I find it very difficult to make gains in squat and DL at the same time.  When I want to improve my squat, I focus only on that.  This last time around I didn't DL more than 1 or 2 times a month.  My squat went up and my deadlift wasn't negatively affected at all.  Right now, I'm focusing more on Dl and staying steady on Squats.  In my experience, hitting very heavy deads and very heavy squats wreaks havoc on my lumbar and hips.
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Re: Better for the Big3: Variations or speed work?
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2016, 09:51:33 AM »
For me front squats help me with my deadlift.  This summer due to an boo boo I've been married to a yoke bar and though I've only been doing deadlifts for a couple weeks it looks like there is some definite carry over for me.  I've got a meet in a couple weeks, so if there wasn't any carry over I'd be screwed. 
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Offline GatorBison

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Re: Better for the Big3: Variations or speed work?
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2016, 12:02:11 PM »
How heavy are you squatting?   I find it very difficult to make gains in squat and DL at the same time.  When I want to improve my squat, I focus only on that.  This last time around I didn't DL more than 1 or 2 times a month.  My squat went up and my deadlift wasn't negatively affected at all.  Right now, I'm focusing more on Dl and staying steady on Squats.  In my experience, hitting very heavy deads and very heavy squats wreaks havoc on my lumbar and hips.


Well, I do pretty much try to advance everything during my cycles.  I will increase volume sometimes to drive gains, but for the most part I start my training at 70% and add 0-10lbs per week on primary lifts; 0-5lbs per week on accessory lifts. 

I've only been back training for less than a year, and that's after an 8 year lay off.  But maybe I need to completely rethink how I train/program.  I just run with linear progression until I can't add more or I adjust to peak for a meet.  Never considered myself an advanced lifter, barely intermediate. 

While I am beat up, and sore as hell, I've only missed lifts on the DL. 

What are some suggestions to vary my focus during training cycles?