Slow strength training is AWESOME.
And it requires different implementation, frequency and recovery than regular training does, as it taxes your body VERY differently, especially the muscles and nerves. I learned these lessons firsthand and have used them to benefit several clients, from a 26-year old who put on 14 POUNDS OF MUSCLE (naturally and supplement-free) to a man over 70 years old to manage his joint replacements and pain so much better than his traditional strength training regimen that he has no pain in his usual suspects.
Also, just like regular tempo strength training, there are wrong and right ways to do it.
What is it?
low strength training i generally considered to be completing strength movements with 8 seconds or more per repetition. Super slow strength training sits at 20 seconds per up. That’s dramatically different than the two to four seconds of traditional strength training. Typically done with eight or less repetitions per movement per workout, often just one or two sets. That’s only eight to sixteen repetitions total per movement per workout.
ho is it for?
Athletes. People with injuries. The aging population. Folks looking to improve strength. Basically, anyone.
Why is it awesome?
1) It’s minimizes joint wear and tear.
With less repetitions compared to traditional strength training (which averages around 30 reps per movement per workout), you SIGNIFICANTLY lower your risk of damaging cartilage, bursas and joint connectors that wear down the more you use them.
2) It minimizes risk for injury while working out.
With slower speed, you necessarily control your movement more, giving you an opportunity to control not only the weight you’re lifting (or your body if you’re doing a body weight exercise) but also how your body works to accomplish the movement. With eight to twenty seconds to perform a squat, deadlift, pull-up, row, pushup, etc...you’ll have ample time to keep great form/technique and know when to stop and how your body feels at all aspects of the movement.
Your ability to stabilize and really control the weight you’re moving improves significantly compared to traditional tempos because you’re going much slower.
3) Less injuries while performing/playing.
Better stability and control in strength movements can lead to less injuries in everyday life and especially in athletic performance.
4) It can lead to muscle growth
Tim Ferris, in his book the 4-Hour Body, discusses how he grew muscle doing one set of slow strength training during his workouts (he was also on a ton of supplements).
5) It’s a nice departure from traditional training tempos and can help you break through plateaus
ow, there are articles out there like this one from T-nation that argue against slow strength training. But the argument relies on certain assumptions that are variable among slow strength protocols and methods, and it doesn't explore in depth the essential components of safety while lifting and long term joint wear and tear.
f you have questions about how to incorporate low strength trainin into your training regime or how it might be beneficial for yo, eel free to call me. Seriously. I'd love to talk about it. I'm at 415.828.2440. Or leave our questions in the comments section below!
Also, please leave comments if you’ve tried slow strength training before and have some tips and feedback!