Specifically Speedy

When it comes to being fast, specificity is king. You see, when it comes to our rate of force production there are some universal truths at play.

On one end of the spectrum, the movement that demonstrates the most extreme capacities of strength (moving extremely heavy loads) happens at very slow speeds. For example, you won’t be getting any speeding tickets for your bar speed the next time you go for a true one rep max deadlift. This is because true strength efforts move at a low velocity.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the most extreme capacities of speed happen at very high velocities. As the loads become nearly zero like when jumping, sprinting, or throwing objects of a certain size, our movement can ramp up in velocity, whereas in a strength effort the opposite is true: large loads, small velocities.

Here’s the kicker. Speed is very specific, while strength is quite general.

Imagine a woman in your mind that can front squat 300lbs. Pretty impressive, right? Chances are she’d be a good candidate to help you move your couch whether she’d had much practice moving couches or not, because generally speaking strong is strong across a broad range of disciplines. Speed, however, isn’t the same. Would you bet real cash that your favorite starting pitcher who can throw 100mph fastballs will also win a footrace? Would a boxer’s lightning fast hands instantly equip her to throw lightning fast kicks, too?

Nope. (SEE: Bartolo Colon)

There are two messages in this science for you. Firstly, if you want to be fast in a movement pattern you’ll need to train that speed quite specifically. Want to throw fast? Throw fast. Want to run fast? Run fast. Second, the strength insight is great news! You can build general strength and enjoy that strength across general disciplines. General strength has a return on investment that transcends the movement itself.  

Logan Gelbrich   


6/20/19 WOD


1″ Deficit Deadlift


Then, complete the following for time:

12 Deadlifts (155/105)

10 Burpees Over-the-Bar

400m Run

10 Deadlifts (185/125)

10 Burpees Over-the-Bar

400m Run

8 Deadlifts (225/155)

10 Burpees Over-the-Bar

200m Run

6 Deadlifts (275/175)

10 Burpees Over-the-Bar

200m Run

4 Deadlifts (315/205)