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Slow Movements, Quick Results continued...

"Rather than get someone hurt I went back to the drawing board," says Hutchins, who holds four American patents on exercise equipment design.

Off the drawing board came the first draft of what would eventually become the super-slow workout. Hutchins knew from experience that there were benefits to the slow, methodical lifting and lowering of weights. But the common belief was that slow lifting could only be applied to rotary movements. That meant it couldn't be used for things like leg or chest presses or pull-downs.

Hutchins circumvented that problem by designing a turn-around technique. Instead of stopping just before the movement got easy, he kept going and slowly changed the direction.

"The women got incredible results," he says. "Super-slow developed into full blossom from that one study."

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 says.

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 Hutchins.

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.

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