Athletes are always looking for the newest secret to increase strength and explosive power. We are never short on methods to use for these goals—Vertimax, Olympic lifts, training super heavy, etc. But what if you could get stronger and faster without new methods, but from a simple change in execution? González Badillo et al. looked into this.
Twenty physically active participants were assigned to two Bench Press groups:
- One group trained at Maximal Intent (exploding the bar upwards as fast as possible)
- The other group trained Intentionally Slow on the upwards portion of the lift.
Both groups controlled the eccentric (lowering portion) of the lift.
They trained 3 times per week for 6 weeks. From week 1 to week 6, intensities increased from 60% 1RM to 80% 1RM.
Both groups performed the same lifting program with the only difference being one group accelerating the bar up as fast as possible (Maximal Intent) and the other performing the upwards portion at a lower speed (Intentionally Slow).
Both groups got stronger from the study and increased average velocity (speed) at light and heavy loads.
However, the Maximal Intent group had "significantly greater improvements in all strength performance variables analyzed." They increased their 1RM an average of 18.2% versus only 9.7% in the Intentionally Slow group—that's nearly double the strength gain!
They also saw greater gains than the Intentionally Slow group in average velocity at light (36.2 % versus 17.3%) and heavy (11.5% versus 4.5%) loads.
The researchers concluded training with Maximal Intent is a fundamental component of training since, "for a given loading magnitude (%1RM), the velocity at which loads are lifted largely determines the resulting training effect."
Training at Maximal Intent is crucial to optimizing results. This simple change in execution can significantly increase strength and power. Whatever methods you choose to use in your training, ensure you are exploding upwards with Maximal Intent. It has the potential to give you twice the strength and velocity gain.
González-Badillo, J. J., Rodríguez-Rosell, D., Sánchez-Medina, L., Gorostiaga, E. M., & Pareja-Blanco, F. (2014). "Maximal intended velocity training induces greater gains in bench press performance than deliberately slower half-velocity training." European Journal of Sport Science, 14(8), 772-81.