Dynamic vs. Repetition

About the Author: Eric Cressey

Q: I’ve heard about people using a “repetition day – upper body” instead of the “dynamic effort day – upper body.” What are the differences? How come you use the dynamic effort day instead of a repetition day in your Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual? Is a repetition day more CNS-intensive?

A: Who says you can’t do both?

Throw a medicine ball, and then do rep work on the bench. Or, do jump squats before you deadlift. Oh no! Heresy!

Most inexperienced athletes need both. Dynamic work usually encompasses drills that help teach deceleration/landing, change-of-direction, and acceleration while improving reactive ability. Repetition work helps strengthen connective tissue and groove appropriate movement patterns. You can do both!

I’d generally say that the dynamic stuff is more CNS intensive, particularly when it involves a lot of jumping/sprinting (due to ground reaction forces, or GRF). For instance, with sprinting, ground reaction forces can anywhere from 4-6 times an athlete’s body weight; the better the technique, the lower the stress from the GRF.

Conversely, if you’re a 1,000 pound squatter who is doing “speed” work with six plates a side, it’s still going to be considerably easier than jumping in and doing four sets of six reps at 750 pounds or so.

The point is that there really isn’t a right answer. It’s influenced by your training age, overall strength, the stimuli to which your body has already been exposed – and the areas in which you need to improve the most.

The Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual