Training Fast to Build Muscle

Power moves or muscle moves?


As a bodybuilder, we look to the muscle moves.


Bodybuilders today have forgot the benefits of training with a movement that will build explosive strength.  The exercise choice is usually selected based on how the movement benefits a bodybuilder’s specific muscle.


The bodybuilding era of today has lost focus on what it means to be powerful.


For a bodybuilder, it’s all about the size and shape of the muscle.


You’ve been told that you can’t train to be powerful, you need to train to build muscle, hell you’re a bodybuilder! 


For decades bodybuilders have been notorious for being more concerned with building muscle. This obsession has left bodybuilders with the stereotype of building “large, slow, muscle.”


As bodybuilders we all too often get hung up on training for the pump or omitting movements that don’t seem so “bodybuilderesq” in our mind.


Training to build muscle is what we all want and what strive for with each blood pumping session we put together.


If training to pack on more muscle is the end game, well then we need to look at training our body every which way.


Growing up I was an athlete, I sprinted, jumped, climbed and did it with fun. I had a quick first step, before I even knew what that even meant.


As I’ve progressed my approach to physique enhancement, I’ve taken a liking to many “non-conventional” bodybuilding workouts.


There’s constantly been talk about athletes utilizing explosive movements or power movements in their training programs.


But what about the bodybuilder?


I’m not saying you have to become the king of Olympic Lifting overnight or a world-class Powerlifter.


No, I’m talking about a simple protocol I use where you train your fast twitch fibers fast.


Now I know what your thinking.


“Did he just say train your fast-twitch fibers fast?”


Yes, I did. (And say that 10 times fast, “Train your fast-twitch fibers fast.”)


Think about it this. How often do you train FAST?


This was something I’d gotten far away from over the last year during my contest prep for the World Natural Bodybuilding Federation (WNBF) World Championships. With my bodybuilding contest preparation taking a backseat, for at least a little while, I’ve taken a new approach in the gym.


This approach is about creating muscular strength, about building a faster muscle, a more athletic muscle, and a more powerful muscle.


Often times I’m using movements that we’re all very familiar with.





Chin Up.




Bench Press


Overhead Press.




Just as you’d use speed deadlifts, speed squats or speed bench to improve those lifts, I’ll incorporate the same with chin-ups, overhead press, cleans (often times with high pulls), push-ups, shrugs, split squats and Romanian deadlifts.


Your probably thinking I just named even more movements I use to “train fast.”


And the answer is simply, yes.


At Tyler English Fitness, we call this “powering through a movement.” But in my training sessions I’ve taken it one step further and used percentages of certain lifts or bodyweight movements to guarantee the increase in speed.


There are 3 factors I’ll focus on when performing this type of “fast training.”


3 Components to Training Fast


  1. Percentage of 1RM.
  2. Concentric Speed.
  3. Eliminate Muscular Fatigue.


Let’s take the Overhead Press, as an example.


For simple math lets say you overhead press 200 lbs, then we really will only need a percentage of this to start.


Utilizing a “Dynamic Effort” type of day I’ll focus on bar speed and power utilizing a percentage format.


Percentage Breakdown for Increased Rep Speed


200 x .60 = 120


200 x .65 = 130


200 x .70 = 140


200 x .75 = 150


200 x .80 = 160


My favorite approach is to utilize a “ratchet set” over a couple of minutes.


Ratchet Set Sample


Set 1


120 x 3, rest 90 seconds, 130 x 1, rest 2 minutes


Set 2


130 x 3, rest 90 seconds, 140 x 1, rest 3 minutes


Set 3


140 x 3, rest 90 seconds, 150 x 1, rest 4 minutes


Set 4


150 x 3, rest 90 seconds, 160 x 1


Utilizing this approach you’re muscles won’t hit a fatigued state and your repetition speed will remain explosive throughout.



A sample training session might look like this.


Sample Fast Training Day


A)   Overhead Press – 4 x 3,1 (ratchet set)

B)   Barbell High Pull – 3 x 3 (75% of 1 RM Clean)

C)   Chin-up – 5 x 3 (Focus on powerful concentric)

D)   Explosive Push-ups – 3 x 8

E1) DB Hammer Curl – 2 x 15

E2) Band Pushdown – 2 x 25


Training for power is every bodybuilder’s weakness and hell aren’t we known for training our “weak points?”


Power is a weakness, that shouldn’t be ignored.


Overall, the increase in power will translate to bigger weights, more strength and increased muscle size.


Work Hard, Train Hard, Get Better



Tyler English