Muscle strength is an issue both for men wishing to be physically stronger but also for older people wanting to maintain their mobility and overall health. But the popular method to gain strength is to do long, extended workouts using heavy weights. However, the case can be made for a different kind of strength training that can show impressive results.
In 1982, Ken Hutchins developed a method of strength training focusing on low weights and slow, controlled movements. He found impressive results from this method. In 1993 and in 1999, Wayne L. Wescott, Ph.D. tested out this slow weight training method with 75 participants over an 8-week and 10-week period respectively. An article discussed Wescott’s research and said,
“The people in Westcott’s study did 12 to 13 exercises. The comparison group did 10 repetitions of each exercise, pulling the weight up and lowering it over a period of the usual two seconds in each direction.
“The other half did five repetitions, but lifted slowly, 10 seconds on the upstroke and four seconds on the way back down. (Hutchins and others recommend 10 seconds each way.)
“That’s 20 seconds of muscle contraction for each repetition instead of four seconds. Multiply that by five repetitions and 12 exercises, and you have a killer workout, Westcott says …
“Those doing SuperSlow in both groups experienced a greater than 50 percent gain in strength. In fact, the results were so difficult to believe that Westcott had them verified at Virginia Tech.” [additional notes by Dr. Mercola]
These startling results beg the question of why this contrarian weight training method works so well. Dr. Mercola writes,
“The key to the SuperSlow weight lifting technique is to remove the momentum. By disallowing muscle rest, you “super charge” muscle growth because your muscle has to continuously work throughout the entire movement.
Another key is to work your muscle to the point of failure, meaning the point at which you simply cannot perform another repetition. Besides building more muscle in a shorter amount of time, there are other benefits to this type of exercise as well.
Despite being more intense, SuperSlow is far safer than regular forms of weight training.”
If you are serious about seeking real and significant strength gains, you may want to consider adding this slow, though intense, workout to your exercise regimen.