Here it is. The single most neglected component of bodybuilding training is—drum roll, please—speed. If you think of speed at all, it’s probably only to caution yourself to slow down and increase your time under tension. Quickness is something powerlifters employ to rush the weight up via reflexes and momentum—but it doesn’t build muscle, right? Wrong. Moving the metal as fast as possible allows you to use more of it and that, in turn, increases strength but also size. This month we examine the Weider Superspeed Principle and explain how rapid reps can speed up your muscle gains.

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Asia MendozaThis tenet prescribes you get through the positive portion of each rep as fast as possible. Studies have proved that such quick reps build strength more rapidly than slow and steady reps. You may think that’s all well and good for powerlifters, Olympic lifters, and others focused primarily on moving maximum metal, but as a bodybuilder you’re much more concerned with adding muscle than boosting strength. The good news is added strength can result in additional mass—if you use the Weider Superspeed Principle correctly.

There are three keys:

  • First, do superspeed on only the positive portion of reps. Get the weight up as fast as possible but then lower the weight at a normal pace.
  • The second key is to do superspeed on only some of your sets. At least half of your workload should still be performed at a normal pace. For example, do the first one or two sets of standing calf raises at superspeed and the last two or three at a normal pace. You’ll be able to use more weight on the rapid reps, and by doing sets of them first for each exercise you’ll physically and mentally accustom yourself to using greater resistance in all sets of that exercise. That, in turn, will boost growth.
  • Finally, you must maintain correct form when going fast despite the incentive to cheat the weight up. Stay in the groove. There are a few exercises, such as walking lunges, that are too difficult to do rapidly with good form. But you can apply superspeed to the vast majority of lifts.


_PB51513 ©PERBERNAL 3Our H.U.G.E. ®superspeed routine includes five back exercises, each of which is performed for one or two superspeed sets followed by two sets at a normal rep rate. There is nothing special about these particular exercises. With a few exceptions, superspeed sets can be done on virtually every exercise for all body parts.

– ADVANTAGES – Here are the pluses of superspeed 

INCREASED STRENGTH Moving faster through the positive portion of reps allows you to use more weight. Training with explosive reps has also been proved to increase strength more rapidly than going at a normal pace.

ATHLETIC BOOST Increasing your power (strength plus speed) helps you outside of the gym, as well. From basketball to tennis to soccer, virtually every sport values the sort of rapid reflex movements that superspeed reps emphasize.

_PB51567 ©PERBERNAL 3– DISADVANTAGES – There are two potential pitfalls of superspeed. Here’s how to avoid them. 

REDUCED TIME UNDER TENSION If all you did were fast reps, you’d gain strength but not size. Do most of your work at the usual pace to maintain enough tension on the muscles to stimulate growth. Use superspeed as an adjunct to regular reps. 

CHEATING INCENTIVE With increased rep speed many trainers start cheating the weight up, using momentum instead of muscle. You must resist this urge. Use a weight you can control, and lock your reps into the correct groove. If there are exercises you can’t do fast without relying on momentum, don’t use superspeed with those lifts. 


One excellent technique for getting all the benefits of slow and fast reps is to combine them within the same set. Because you’re stronger during fast reps than slow reps, end your set by going fast (when your strength is depleted) and start it off slow (when your strength is greatest). Choose a weight you use for 12 regular reps before reaching failure. Then, start the set with four superslow reps. Take 6–10 seconds on the positive halves of these reps. Next, do four regular reps, spending 1–2 seconds on the positive halves. Fi- nally, end the set with four superspeed reps, going as fast as possible on the positives and at a normal pace on the negatives. By cycling from harder, superslow reps to your regular reps and then to easier,superspeed reps, you should still hit failure at around 12 total reps, and you have stimulated muscle growth with the slow and regular reps and strength gains with the explosive reps. – FLEX