EXPLODE!!! - That's how my friend cheered me on. I did it; lifted more explosively and it worked. I spent many training sessions practicing speed deadlifts. I focused on lifting with power, speed and explosiveness. Do you know what happened? The bar started flying off the ground. Even on my 1 RM attempts the speed off the floor was incredible! Some time later, while interpreting at Boris Sheiko's seminars I had to think of my explosiveness experience. Boris Sheiko stressed several times that powerlifting isn't about explosiveness and that the weight should be lifted slowly. I couldn't wrap my brain around it. Why is it wrong to be explosive? Explosiveness helped me to lift at least 10 kg more off the floor after all (to be fair I should mention that it was much more weight than I could ever lock out :P ).
As you may know, I am scientist, analytical thinker, problem solver…I put on my thinking cap and thought about explosiveness for a while.
It seems to me that there is a difference between explosiveness and speed the maximal force a lifter applies when going for the maximal attempt. Imagine, you apply your maximal force to your 1RM lift. The bar will move slowly, because it is heavy as hell. If you apply the same force to 50% of your 1RM, you will get speed and explosiveness. The bar will fly off the ground, because you apply your maximal strength to a sissy weight. The point is that you don't need to put your maximal strength into a 50% lift. Apply just as much force as needed for a particular lift. Anything above is waste of energy. Boris Sheiko pointed out that experienced lifters put just as much energy into a lift, as it is required to move the weight, no matter if 50% or 100% are on the bar.
My personal conclusion from the explosiveness confusion is that a lifter needs to learn how to apply maximal force in order to lift more. Doing speed lifts with light weight might be helpful for getting the feeling how to apply maximal force. However, it is not necessarily optimal. Explosive movements have the tendency to be fast, chaotic and imprecise. When you go for your maximal attempt; however, you should aim for perfect technique and optimal bar path. Rushing (= being fast and explosive) at the beginning of the movement increases the risk of getting into a suboptimal position and missing the lift. Does it make sense?
All good things must come to an end, so does my Boris Sheiko UK seminar series. I would like to complete it with Boris Sheikos powerful (but not explosive ;) ) advice for successful training:
"In my opinion, some of the most important factors are the ability to work hard and self-belief. I tell my students: "Hard work never goes to waste." In other words, hard work always yields good results. If an athlete doesn't believe in himself, doesn't believe in his abilities and that he can reach his goal, then he won't achieve anything."
Happy lifting and PRing :)
What? You would like to know more ? Ok, if you are hardcore powerlifter, I have a special bonus for you:
Powerlifting competition preparation - 5 things Boris Sheiko recommends