Do you recall a fad idea about slow resistance exercise being best?

It was on every news channel that week, and sounded great.
The main idea was that instead of doing “reps”, you would just do one thing to strain your muscles and hold it as long as you could.

For example, you would hold a barbell in the up position as long as you could.

The workouts would last only a quarter of the time, and be done half as frequently, and that was supposed to do you as much good as continual-motion exercises.

Do you remember that? Did it have a name or a guru I could look it up with?

And did it catch on? Did it work at all?

Sure. “Superslow” training was all the rage a few years back.

Mostly bullshit, though. Just google for superslow, if you’re curious.

If for some reason you have a need to move light objects slowly, superslow training is great. Otherwise…

Part of the idea is that you don’t use momentum to get past tough spots, to make sure you are ‘powering’ though the full range of motion and when you reach failure you are closer to failure throuout the entire range.

It is a tougher workout and for many more uncomfortable, but I think it does produce better results (MHO)

I did it for a year or so- I loved it. It’s a hell of a workout, all in thirty minutes or less. I got good results- the only reason I stopped was because I couldn’t afford it.

I dreaded going every Saturday, but I felt the high from the workout all week long, and I never had sore muscles.

It’s about moving heavy weights slowly.

It’s really hard to do strength training if you slow down the movement–you aren’t using momentum to assist you, you can manage your form better, and focus on doing the rep properly. You are less likely to injure yourself if you are aware of when you are reaching the point of exhausting the muscle, and are handling the weight in a control manner.

It’s very taxing, and completely exhausting, and I have not noticed that I am performing other physical tasks in slow-motion. I have seen my strength go up.

I hate exercising, but I’m really trying hard to do this.

**…handling the weight in a controlled manner. ** Argh.

Me want to Slow Slow Post and make fewer errors.

If you can extend a concentric action for ten seconds with a weight, it’s not heavy. Sorry.

Y’all might be interested in this article regarding super-slow training. Particularly telling is this quote from Beau Greer, who at the time of the article was a world record holder in the bench press and an active SST researcher:

I never thanked ultrafilter for introducing me to the “t-nation” site where I have since wasted many hours of my time. I remember reading that SST article, and being surprised since I went to the same high school as the Barr borthers. I’ll bet you didn’t know their grandfather discovered the “Barr body” in the nucleus that is IIRC present in female but not male cells.

Because you move the weight slowly (over ten or five seconds) you are moving for a longer period of time, taxing the muscle more. You do fewer reps, because you reach muscular fatigue faster.

It sure feels bloody heavy while you’re doing it–you can’t, if performing in correct form, use anything but your muscles to smoothly lift and lower. You may, I am not sure, start out with lighter weights than in conventional training, but you do progress to heavier and heavier weights. The goal is progress; increased strength.

No, daily activities aren’t usually performed at slow speed, however, one isn’t training to do everyday activities slowly. One is training slowly to build muscular strength. I don’t see how that argument is valid.

What it comes down to is this: strength is a skill, not an ability, and as with any skill, you’re only gonna be good at what you practice. There’s some pretty complicated physiology behind it, but that’s the bottom line.

Like Greer said, it’s better than nothing, but it’s no magic bullet.

I asked my husband how he would respond to your comments. He said:

Strength is force production by the muscles; the stronger you are, the more force you can generate. Strength is a general attribute. How you apply it (whether explosively, slowly, ballistically, etc.) falls under skill. If strength were only a skill, then it would be activity-dependent on whether or not you could lift something heavy.

Lifting 100 pounds slowly is equivalent to, say, 140 lifted quickly. Everything is relative, and just because you lift a certain weight slowly, doesn’t mean you can’t lift more weight quickly. In fact, the number one discrepancy in Super Slow training is trying to go too fast. Super Slow training minimizes force on the body, which if excessive, can cause injury and it maximises efficiency by minimising the contribution of momentum, which would unload the target muscles.

Many people assume that you have to train fast with weights in order to transfer your newfound strength to a fast activity. This is incorrect. Optimally, train slowly in the gym to develop your strength safely and efficiently, then apply your increased strength to your chosen activity in the required manner.

The notion that training slow makes you slow is like saying that people who walk, can’t run.

Marc is a Super Slow Master Instructor.

I’m not saying SST doesn’t have some merits. But training should indeed be pragmatic and functional – if you train to do a certain activity at a certain speed, you will get better at doing that activity at that speed. In fact, the speed at which you do that activity does influence which types of muscle fibres are involved, and which types of muscle fibres will grow as a result of that activity. I believe different proprotions of muscle fibre types would be involved in holding a weight for 20 seconds and lowering a heavy weight over three seconds. I do not see that lifting 100 pounds slowly is equivalent to lifting 140 pounds quickly, although I would certainly agree it is easier to lift a heavy weight quickly and not slowly. Reducing speed also reduces momentum via stretch reflexes, but this can also be done just by pausing for a few seconds.

I don’t mean to sound snarky here at all, but sometimes people see results on these “fad” exercise routines simply because they were training so poorly before.

You see it all the time in HIT work–people jump to it direclty from these god-awful Weider routines, see massive results and then think HIT is the best thing ever. Just my two cents.

Like Dr_Paprika said, time under tension affects which fibers are recruited. As a general rule, the more quickly you reach fatigue, the more fast-twitch fibers you’re recruiting. Fast-twitch fibers have a significantly higher potential for strength and hypertrophy than slow twitch.