Want More Strength? Slow It Down
A super-slow weight-training program can dramatically improve strength, users say, and the workout is intense.
Killer Workout continued...
Not one person in Westcott's groups had an injury. "SuperSlow is a neat trick," says M. Doug McGuff, MD, an emergency-room physician in Seneca, S.C., and SuperSlow studio owner. "With other exercises, to make them more challenging, you usually have to increase the force required -- the weight level, whatever -- which brings on aches and pains. This makes them more dangerous. With SuperSlow, you can make exercise much more challenging without increasing force."
At his studio, with people who are completely untrained and have never worked out, McGuff says he can bring about a 30% increase in strength in six to eight weeks and almost guarantee a 100% increase in eight months to a year.
Sure, you're thinking, these fanatics go to the gym six times a week. No! This is the best part. You only do SuperSlow once, and at most twice, a week, to get results. In fact, the developers don't want you to do it more often. When pushed to the point of failure, muscles need time to recover. "A workout is like filling a hole," McGuff says. "It needs time to fill up. If you start digging again before it's full, the hole will never fill. You need to get out of your own way."
Substitute for Aerobics?
Some experts do not agree with the notion that one day of slow resistance exercise is enough. Charles J. Ruotolo, MD, director of sports medicine at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, N.Y., says he has heard of holding resistance exercises longer but does not think a one-day workout each week suffices. "It depends on your goals," he says. "For cardiovascular health, you need three to four workouts a week. For muscle strengthening, I advocate exercising each muscles group about every fifth day. So, say you do chest and arms (even super slowly), the next day you would do your back, then the next, shoulders, then maybe a rest day, then start over.
"Exercising more than one day a week," notes Ruotolo, "is more realistic and helps you get into a routine. Three or four days are a routine, not one."