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Lift Slow to Get Fit Fast?

Can you get results in 20 minutes a week? Here's what the experts say.
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A New Twist on an Old Idea continued...

Still, Westcott, a former track coach and regular runner, says SuperSlow is no magic bullet. The workout, he says, is just too hard.

"I wasn't surprised because I had done this myself for nine months before we did the study so I knew it was very effective," says Westcott. "But I didn't like it; it didn't fit my personality. And I could tell throughout the study that (the subjects) absolutely hated it as well."

In both studies, he says, only one out of 75 participants actually stuck with the program after the study was over.

Is It Enough?

Slow-motion programs are "tough mentally because they don't feel very good," says exercise physiologist Dan Agresti, owner of ProActive Health and Fitness, based in Denver. "It's difficult to sustain that for any period of time. The dropout rate is quite high."

And consistency is all-important in an exercise program, he says. "It's not magic," he says. "All it is, is a consistent change in lifestyle.

Very slow weight workouts also carry a risk of injury, he says.

For one thing, he says, beginning exercisers may be likely to hold their breath when working that hard. That can be dangerous, particularly for someone with high blood pressure.

Further, "the soreness factor is going to be very high," Agresti says. "When you're dealing with large eccentric contractions, the results are a lot of soreness."

Not only that, Westcott says, strength training by itself leaves out a very important part of overall fitness -- aerobic exercise.

"There no research of any kind that says one strength training workout a week will increase cardiovascular strength," says Westcott. And since heart disease is a leading cause of death and disability in this country, he says, "it behooves all Americans to have cardiovascular strength."

Not Anti-Cardio

Zickerman, who was a swimmer and baseball player in college, insists he's not anti-cardio. His premise is that many people overtrain with cardio exercise. When that happens, he says, the body goes into energy conservation mode -- storing fat and calories and breaking down muscle.

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