Speed Reps

Last week, I wrote about super slow strength training. Today I want to focus on the other end of the spectrum.

While super slow strength training can emphasize form and stability, speed reps can help build explosive power and agility. Both are important things to have if you aim to be well rounded in your fitness.

Speed training is similar to plyometric training in that the movements are performed fast and explosively. Unlike plyometrics, however, you do not get airborne when you perform speed reps. In fact, when performing speed reps on exercises like pull-ups and dips that involve gripping a bar, I recommend holding on tightly!

Additionally, it can help to think about doing the negative portion of the rep as fast as possible, which will engage the antagonist muscles. This means if I am doing speed pull-ups, I will think about pushing myself down away from the bar at the top of each rep.

Before attempting speed reps of any exercise, make sure that you can first perform the exercise at a normal tempo with proper form. It’s also a good idea to thoroughly warm up before this type of training.

In the video below, you’ll see me doing some of my favorite warm-up drills before getting in my speed reps. I’ve borrowed some elements of parkour training as well as some Animal Flow movements, adding my own personal style as well.

25 thoughts on “Speed Reps

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  • By Feinguy -

    Thanks Al. Still the best! 

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Thanks, Feinguy!

  • By Etienne -

    Wow, you can really bang out those pistols. Question, currently I use a 10 pound counter weight when doing my pistols, I can preform pistols slow (and very controlled) and can complete the twenty challenge. However, once I lose the weight I cant get over the balancing aspect, without the weight I cant even preform one. Can you recommend anything to help with the balancing? should I try using less weight progressively? Or should I lose it completely and try to focus on getting one without weight? if the answer is simply to keep praticing, thats fine too. I got no issues with that, Thanks again for the great site.

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Hey Etienne – It sounds like you already have a good idea of how to progress to a full pistol!  Keep working on it!

  • By Lauren -

    Love the monkey looking slide in the warm-up… I’ll have to give that a try! 


  • By Lauren -

    Love the monkey looking slide in the warm-up… I’ll have to give that a try! 


    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Cool – give it a shot!

  • By Anil -

    Great video. Infact the warm-up itself looks like a great workout itself 🙂  By the way I have been working for the shrimp for a while now and it really helps about the pistol squats :))

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Thanks, Anil!  Keep at it!

  • By Franc1989 -

    hi al, i’ve been using your 50 pull up challenge in the last 3 months do increase my reps on pull ups, i use the same approach do dips as well, all i can say is thank you!!! 3 months ago i was stuck as 9/10 pull ups and today i max out and i was able to do 21 pull ups, im so excited right now, cant what to hit the bars again tomorow, my question now is, what i do do continue improve my pull ups?

    Thank you again al:):)

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Nice progress – congrats!  Now go for a higher number of reps or do harder variations.

    • By Robby Taylor -

      additionally, you may want to start training for the back lever!

  • By Steve -

    Al, do you have a set dynamic warm up routine or does it vary every time depending on what you’re doing that day?  I’m fairly injury prone, think I need to spend a little more time on warm up/mobility/stretching.

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      I don’t really have a set anything.  Maybe you should try some yoga.

  • By Rob White -

    Hey Al,

    Nice work. I saw a kipup at the end of that warmup!
    Would love an article on how to learn to do the kip up. 

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Thanks, Rob!  I’ve been planning on doing a kip-up tutorial for a while now but haven’t gotten around to it yet.  I promise I’ll do it this summer!

      • By Rob White -

        Nice one Al, i look forward to it! Every time i throw myself back i end up misplacing my hands and feel like im damn near gonna break my fingers!

  • By Patrick723123 -

    I tried the handstand but can not balance my training a long time,how do I overcome you please tell me

  • By More detail -

    Well guys!!!I read out thoroughly this article and watch out this video.It is the best
    information keep the good body fitness.I will be looking forward to the other

  • By Electronic Medical Records -

    All this video shows that the yoga training in order to fitness of the body because some body needs such material at home basis so very great improvement.

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