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Whole Body Speed Set Training

With this 5-day full-body program, you’ll be killing it in all areas – muscle power, size, strength and endurance – on every set.

Whole Body Speed Set Training

Killing two birds with one stone is something. But blasting your muscles on four different levels – power, size, strength, endurance – on a single set is a whole other beast. If getting the absolute most out of every working set sounds appealing, Speed Set Training is the program for you.

On the heels of some intense superset training, we'll be getting back to straight sets – well, sort of. With Speed Set Training, you'll do 15 reps per set for one exercise at a time. But the 15 reps are anything but typical.

Each set you do consists of three distinct tempos or rep speeds: (1) fast, explosive reps on the first five reps, (2) super slow reps (at a cadence of five seconds up, five seconds down) on the next five reps, and (3) normal speed reps (2 seconds up, 2 seconds down) on the final five reps.

The weight used will be extremely light (50% of your 10-rep max), and volume will entail only two sets per muscle group, but your muscles will hardly know the difference. The weight you'll be using (50% of 10RM) would be one you'd normally be able to do 30 reps with. But with the Speed Set technique, your muscles will be totally spent after 15 reps.

I’ve covered Speed Set Training before on JimStoppani.com – in this article as well as in the below video – but this is the first time I’ve designed it as a full-body program. The benefits of the protocol are the same, only with the added fat loss benefit from training the whole body in each workout.

First off, Speed Set Training enhances all major aspects of muscular development and performance: power, size, strength, and even endurance. And it does so on every set.

Power and explosiveness are trained on the first five reps, when you’re moving the weight as fast as possible and targeting fast-twitch muscle fibers (the ones with the greatest potential for growth, compared to slow-twitch fibers).

Hypertrophy (muscle size) is emphasized on the slow reps due to the increased “time under tension” (TUT) and the accompanying muscle damage it elicits. The normal speed reps will also promote growth, as they always do.

Even though the weight is light, strength will also be enhanced, as it’s a byproduct of increasing both muscle power and size. Big, explosive muscles are strong muscles.

Finally, endurance comes into play because Speed Sets are long sets, due to both the high rep count (15) and the fact that five of those reps take 10 seconds each. The TUT principle applies to endurance as well as size.

Speed Set Training offers a practical benefit, too; it’s great to use when you have limited equipment available – for example, in those times when you’re stuck at a hotel gym or at home with dumbbells that top out at 30 or 40 pounds. The slow reps in particular are great for making a light weight feel heavy. Plus, fast reps intended for increasing muscular power should always be done with light weight.

The Speed Set protocol will make you feel differently about those 20-pound dumbbells you have sitting in the corner of your garage – it’s time to dust those things off!

Program Details

My full-body Speed Set program consists of five workouts designed to be performed on five consecutive days. In all workouts, you’ll do one exercise for each of 10 major muscle groups (chest, back, legs, shoulders, traps, biceps, triceps, forearms, calves, abs), doing two sets of 15 reps per exercise in Speed Set fashion.

As I covered at the beginning of the article, each set will break down like this:

Reps 1-5: As fast and explosive as possible on the positive (concentric) portion of each rep, while still controlling the negative.

Reps 6-10: Super slow reps – five seconds up, five seconds down. About 10 seconds per rep, 50 seconds total for these five reps.

Reps 11-15: Normal pace reps. If you choose the correct weight, you should hit failure right around rep #15.

That's one set. Rest 1-2 minutes, then complete one more set in the same manner.

Don't worry if you can't complete all the slow reps (6-10) or regular speed reps (11-15); and feel free to do more sets if you like.

You don’t have to do all of the same exercises I do, but use my workouts below as a guide to help you choose comparable movements. When I do compound (multi-joint) exercises, try to mimic that in your workout, even if it’s with different equipment – for example, doing a dumbbell press instead of a machine chest press, a cable row in place of a barbell row, a seated calf machine instead of dumbbell seated calf raises, etc.

Following my Speed Set program will help you make gains in size, power and strength while shredding body fat and boosting your endurance levels. I believe that’s killing five birds with one stone (workout).

Stay JYM Army Strong… Muscular, Powerful, Lean and Fit, everyone!

Speed Set Training video demos:


Whole-Body Speed Set Training Workouts

Workout 1

The first time through sequence features a general assortment of moves to show you that you can use this technique with a variety of exercises and variations.

  1. Machine Bench Press
  2. Seated Cable Row
  3. Dumbbell Squat
  4. Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press
  5. Cable Shrug
  6. Cable Standing Calf Raise
  7. Triceps Rope Pressdown
  8. Cable Curl
  9. Dumbbell Wrist Curl
  10. Crunch

Workout 2

This workout gets extra "speedy" with my dumbbell-only version of Speed Set Training. Doesn't matter how busy the gym is – all you need are dumbbells and an adjustable bench. How fast can you get this workout done?!

The following 10 exercises are the ones I did, in the order listed. Feel free to choose other dumbbell moves, or feel free to not limit yourself to only dumbbells.

  1. Reverse-Grip Dumbbell Bench Press
  2. Incline Dumbbell Straight-Arm Pullback
  3. Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
  4. Dumbbell Shoulder Press
  5. Dumbbell Behind-Back Upright Row
  6. Dumbbell Seated Calf Raise
  7. Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extension
  8. Incline Dumbbell Curl
  9. Dumbbell Reverse Wrist Curl
  10. Hip Thrust

Workout 3

Here, I show you how to combine Alternating Rest-Pause with Speed Set Training to work single-arm and single-leg exercises like step-ups, concentration curls, etc.

Apply the technique to the 10 exercises I used (below), or choose your own.

  1. One-Arm Cable Flye
  2. One-Arm Seated Cable Row
  3. Step-Up
  4. One-Arm Dumbbell Lateral Raise
  5. One-Arm Cable Shrug
  6. One-Leg Standing Calf Raise
  7. Dumbbell Kickback
  8. Dumbbell Concentration Curl
  9. Dumbbell Wrist Curl
  10. Cable Woodchopper

Workout 4

In Workout 3, I threw a wrench in the plan and showed you how to combine my Alternating Rest-Pause with Speed Sets, So today, we get back to basics with my Power Rack Speed Set Workout. All you need is a barbell, a power rack, and an adjustable bench… and about 30 minutes to CRUSH your entire bode courtesy of Speed Sets! Yes, today it's okay to do curls in the power rack! If anyone complains, tell them Jim Stoppani gave you permission just this once!

  1. Bench Press
  2. Barbell Power Row
  3. Squat
  4. Barbell Upright Row
  5. Barbell Behind-Back Shrug
  6. Barbell Seated Calf
  7. Barbell Lying Triceps Extension
  8. Barbell Curl
  9. Behind-Back Wrist Curl
  10. Hanging Leg Raise

Workout 5

In this final workout, I'm showing you how to pull off all 10 exercises in a cable station. That way, it doesn't matter how busy the gym is – all you need is a cable station. I also throw in some single-leg and single-arm moves. For these ones, use my Alternating Rest Pause version of Speed Sets. But feel free to do any version you prefer of the 10 moves here.

  1. Cable Standing Reverse-Grip Chest Press
  2. Straight-Arm Pulldown
  3. Cable Reverse Lunge
  4. Standing One-Arm Cable Shoulder Press
  5. Straight-Arm Pushdown
  6. Cable Standing Calf Raise
  7. Reverse-Grip Triceps Pressdown
  8. Rope Cable Hammer Curl
  9. Standing Cable Reverse Wrist Curl
  10. Cable Crunch

View The Complete Workout

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