How To Use The Dynamic Effort Method

A few months ago I wrote a popular article on EliteFts – “How To Get Explosive Strength.” Based on the great feedback, a more indepth discussion would be helpful.

This is the final part in the Methods Of Strength Training post series.  For your review:

Dynamic Effort Explained

Dynamic effort lifts involve moving a submaximal weight with maximal speed.  The percentage of your 1 RM used for dynamic effort workouts depend on how trained and experienced you are with the dynamic effort method.

With this method of strength training, as with all methods, lifters should keep good for for maximum results and safety.

Example of a dynamic effort set:  Bench Press 8 x 3.  Lower the weight quickly to right above the chest, reverse directions and press it to lock out as fast as humanly possible.  If the lifters 1Rm is 400 lbs example sets could be 185 x 3 sets, 200 x 3 sets, 225 x 2 sets.

Increasing weight is not as important as increasing speed and rate of force development.

Benefits of Dynamic Effort Training

The Dynamic Effort Method primary benefits

  • Increased maximal strength
  • Improve the rate of force development
  • Improve explosive strength

When you properly, the lifter will increase how fast they can move the weight (rate of force development).  Not only will this have carry over to max strength, but dynamic strength is CRUCIAL for athletes!

Ever see an athlete that looks like they can barely move with their arms that can’t touch their sides and walking with stiff legs?  Chances are they never performed the dynamic effort method correctly (or proper mobility drills).

Dynamic Effort Lifts

Part of the beauty of the dynamic effort method is that it can include almost any barbell exercise and a lot of bodyweight vartions.  Here is a partial list of exercises that can fit into the dynamic effort category WHEN PERFORMED WITH THE PROPER WEIGHT.

  • Bench Press
  • Deadlift
  • Squat
  • Olympic Lifts
  • Box Jump and variations
  • Broad Jump
  • Throwing (tire, keg, med ball)
  • Med ball passes
  • Light tire flips

Video Example Movements:

Explosive Barbell Exercises

Box Jumping At Defranco’s

Dynamic Effort Training At Synergy

Many more training videos over on my Youtube – subscribe here – Joe on Youtube!

Coach’s Note

A few things to remember BEFORE trying the dynamic effort method.  This is NOT a beginners method.  Proper general physical preparedness must be completed prior to any of these strength training methods.

I haven’t read this many places online before, so please pay attention to this tip!  An lifter must be able to decelerate weight before they can accelerate it.  Here’s what I mean.  An athlete needs to know how to land before they can jump.  Deceleration jumps and GPP are a great idea to specifically prevent knee injuries.

Lastly, the DE method is often performed incorrectly based on the number of reps that people choose.  LOW REPS should be used so fatigue does not largely effect the movement.  A HUGE mistake is when people think more is better and perform 3 x 25 box jumps for example.  Not good for dynamic strength.


Use all three methods of strength training for your program.  Alternating lifts, speed, and reps will help your body from accommodating and will continue adaptation.


- Joe Hashey, CSCS -

1. Hashey, Joe. Bull Strength. Synergy Athletics 2008.
2. Zatisiorsky, V. and Kraemer, W. Science and Practice of Strength Training. 2nd Edition. Human Kinetics 2006.
3. Simmons, L. Westside Barbell Articles. May 2009.

Synergy Facebook Comments


  • Chris Smith

    Reply Reply January 12, 2010

    Nice post Joe. Lots of people, athletes or not, tend to overlook the value of explosiveness.

    In comparison to the dynamic effort method and traditional power training methods, what are your thoughts on compensatory acceleration as a means of developing power?

    • Chris,

      CAT has been used by Louie Simmons with success, so Ive read. I personally haven’t messed with it much since I have had a lot of success with the current methods used.

      When I have used it, as the protocol recommends, it has been with compound, multi joint movments.

      What’s your experience with it Chris?


  • JR

    Reply Reply January 13, 2010

    Very good post Joe. You did a great job explaining DEs. Many athletes have poor RFD because of inefficient CNS. As it relates to selective recruitment, I have seen improvements in DE tests faster than any other types of training. The great thing is that even the slowest athletes can make significant improvements with the incorporation of DEs. One of the unique things about the Bull Strength Manual is that it blends ALL 3 types of efforts to build a truly complete athlete. Keep the great info coming!

  • Chris Smith

    Reply Reply January 13, 2010


    They say you can’t lift a truly heavy weight slowly, and I agree. Although I include traditional power training in my programming, I always encourage trying to lift every weight as explosively as possible. Intent means a lot. Would I replace regular power training with compensatory acceleration? Probably not.

    • You are right – the pattern at which you are trying to fire your muscles does mean a lot…

      I feel like I spoke about that, read that, wrote about it recently….Everything is blending together in my mind!

      I know there was a recent article I read on Elite about that very topic.


  • Andrew Dunlap

    Reply Reply January 13, 2010

    Joe I use this type of stuff in 95% of my workouts for Baseball. They are great for baseball because baseball is all about force production. You are not going to be applying maximal strength anytime soon in baseball. The speed of the lift(especially Olympic lifts) is an awesome thing to work on for baseball!

    Thanks for posting this!

  • Andrew Dunlap

    Reply Reply January 13, 2010

    Forgot to mention, The explosive barbell lifts are probably the best non focus lift for baseaball players. Talk about an explosive core and hip rotation!

  • jhashey

    Reply Reply May 16, 2010

    How To Use The Dynamic Effort Method

    • ScottFleurant

      Reply Reply May 17, 2010

      @jhashey If I understand correctly, 8 set @ 3 reps per set. Correct?

      • jhashey

        Reply Reply May 17, 2010

        @ScottFleurant hey Scott, sorry my mind is jumbled, 8 x 3 refering to what?

        • ScottFleurant

          Reply Reply May 17, 2010

          @jhashey Dynamic effort.

          • jhashey

            May 17, 2010

            @ScottFleurant thanks, For the primary movement it is typically 6-8 sets of 1-3.

  • jhashey

    Reply Reply August 16, 2010

    [New Post] How To Use The Dynamic Effort Method – via #twitoaster

  • i’ve never been big into dynamic training for myself until i decided to get back in to grappling and mma and let me tell you- it is the key to athletic success. working some of the exercises in these videos into your program will pay huge dividends!

  • Barry Gibson

    Reply Reply November 2, 2010

    Nice vids Joe!! Very true about DE training also – often mis-used!! Great work again man!! Hope you liked the Tee!!

  • Joe Meglio

    Reply Reply December 30, 2010

    Awesome article Joe. I really like he sandbag/keg superset you used in the workout. Also the step up + RDL looks awesome. As always great content!

  • Dominick Amber AndNoah

    Reply Reply January 27, 2013

    how do you know when to add weight on dynamic effort day each week for progression.

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