Lifting Weights the Super-Slow Way
Workout Technique May Bring Desired Results
Slower Is Safer
Today, super-slow's popularity is growing. Celebrities like
actor Brad Pitt use the technique as a way to build muscle quickly. Super-slow
can build 50% more muscle in 10 weeks than regular weightlifting.
The idea of super-slow is to bring the muscles to exhaustion by
keeping them bear weight -- keeping them loaded, in weight-room parlance --
throughout the movement.
"The basis of our belief is the in-road theory,"
Hutchins says. "Basically we train your muscles by putting a weight load on
them so that the muscle goes from the fresh strength that you start with to
where, after several reps, it is reduced to the point where you can't move the
[weight]. Somewhere on the in-roading process the muscle gets progressively
more fatigued and we cross a ... threshold, which turns on a signal to the body
to produce greater strength and to grow muscle."
When done properly, in-roading occurs when the muscles fail,
usually within two or three minutes if done properly.
"It's performed slower to be harder," Hutchins
The super-slow method targets the body's major muscles, called
skeletal muscles. Hutchins says the skeletal muscles are the body's engine.
They produce more heat, consume more calories, and receive more blood flow than
any of the body's other muscles.
Until now, skeletal muscles have largely been ignored. And to
top it off , the benefits of weightlifting in general have taken a back seat to
such activities as running and aerobics.
A super-slow workout offers a variety of rewards, according to
For one, slower is safer. Most weightlifting injuries are the
result of poor form and jerky, erratic movements. Also, the slower you go, the
more time the muscles are carrying the weight load. Moving fast can cause
momentum to take over and reduce the weight load.
How to Do It
Before you start a super-slow workout, Hutchins says it's
important to determine how much weight you can lift and then reduce it by
"If you're a novice and we knew the weight that was perfect
for your strength it wouldn't be good to go that high," he says. "You
need to master the technique."
Concentration on form is important with super-slow.
- Find a quiet place where you can work uninterrupted for 20-30 minutes.
- Start with six to 10 repetitions of each exercise, taking 10 seconds to
lift the weight and another 10 seconds to lower it.
- Take as little time as possible in between exercises.
Remember, Hutchins says, the objective of super-slow exercise
is to make the muscles fail.
"Move briskly but safely between exercises," he
A good workout for beginners should include five to six
- Begin with the lower body. Do a calf raise, squat, or leg press.
- Follow that with a chin-up or pull-down. Next, do pushups or a chest
- Finish the workout with a static neck exercise.