Speed Work Day: Squats, Bench Press, Deadlifts

There’s a first time for everything in life. And there are also times where we make substantial changes as we venture towards a different path for new results. For me, this new path is a strength training program focusing on ‘The Big 3’ power movements: squats, bench press, and deadlifts.

I’ll get more into why I’m going down this path, from bodybuilding to more of a powerlifting style of training. Of course if you’ve been following me on Facebook, you’ve been seeing my daily strength training workouts. But I first want to talk about today’s workout. Speed work day.

Speed work day involves doing reps as fast as you can (with good form) with a lighter weight, about 40-60% of your max. The goal with this technique is to build explosive power and overall strength.

Speed Work Day – How To

The are several ways to approach speed work day. Typical speed work is done once a week. For me, it’s the middle of the week.

I’m going with a 10 x 3 protocol (10 sets of three reps). At a glance, this doesn’t sound like much given the fact that you’re training with seemingly light weight. But I’m taking this advice from a friend (Ben Asman…thanks dude!) who has dead-lifted over 700 lbs in competition and also a competitive ranking bodybuilder. I think he may know what he’s talking about! So I’ll listen.

Here’s the caveat. This is my first speed work day, ever. I think I may have tried this with just bench press years ago. In fact, this is my first time ever performing the Big 3 (squats, bench press, deadlifts) on the same day, three-times a week. This is an entire new program for me, and I’m really liking it so far.

I’m going to get into my actual numbers here, so please don’t laugh! Obviously strength and amount of weight are relative. We’re all at different places. My bench press is ‘ok’ but even my so-called heavy days of doing squats and deadlifts are light to those who strength train and power lift on a regular basis. I’m taking is slow with my lower back.

Speed Work Day

Squats: 135 – 10 x 3

Bench Press: 185 – 10 x 3

Deadlifts: 135 – 10 x 3

Those numbers are between 40 and 60% of what I do on my heavy days, which are Mondays and Fridays, not my actual max. I haven’t maxed out in a while but plan to soon as I’d like to get a better idea of where I’m at.

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Why I’m Training for Strength

I wanted to cover this real quick. Because we always have to revert to our ‘why‘ we do something in order succeed in our pursuit. Contrary to what many so-called experts may say, being strong vs. having bigger muscles is healthier. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still training for hypertrophy (I’ll get to that more below). But my focus isn’t on bodybuilding; rather, it’s on strength. Muscle growth will be an obvious result.

Lifting heavy also has an impact on both testosterone and growth hormone levels. There are several studies on this; feel free to do your own research there.

Lastly, it’s just something I wanted to do. You know that thing that hits you out of nowhere? I just woke up one day and decided I wanted to be stronger. I guess I have decent strength but I think ‘more show than go‘ if you know what I mean. It’s time to reverse that.

Strength Training and Hypertrophy

I’m getting slightly off the topic of just my speed work day here. But I’m also incorporating some exercises, sets and reps for hypertrophy, as stated earlier. Yes, I still care about the cosmetic part of my physique. I think we all do some some extent, if we’re honest with ourselves. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, my training style has strength gains as the ultimate goal.

So after this morning’s speed work day with squats, bench press, and deadlifts, I continued my workout by targeting my legs with leg press and leg extensions. I also did some leg curls and ended with pull-ups (pull-ups are another exercises I’m doing several times a week).

Stay tuned for more posts on my new strength training workout routine.I have my core workout routine for squats, bench press, and deadlifts in place. But I am testing the waters on the exercises I do thereafter, and on the days I’m not doing squats, bench, and deads.

Train with Passion,


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About the Author Jason Stallworth