View Full Version : Slower is better!

05-25-2011, 05:59 PM
Something i've been told about alot, but that most people seem to ignore

When doing your exercises, for example Bicep curls, you'll get much better workouts and results by using the full range,
instead of just pulling the bar up, then letting it drop down, where you'll only be getting the benefits as you lift up
Lift the bar up, then slowly use your bicep to lower it back down, this way your muscle gets the strain of lifting the weight up AND down

05-25-2011, 08:24 PM
Slow also allows you to focus on the form too. I also pause for exercises like squats (when crouched).

05-26-2011, 05:32 PM
The one thing I see all the time at the gym that makes me shake my head more than any other are these guys who are doing shrugs by just jerking the bar or dumbells up and relaxing as quick as they can. It makes me wonder if they really think they are doing themselves any good.

05-29-2011, 01:09 AM
A lot of my thoughts on rep tempo mirror things that Christian Thibaudeau has been saying lately. He uses a concept called force spectrum to explain it. Let's take an exercise for which there is a generally accepted proper form - barbell squat. Now let's assume your 1 rep max with proper form is 405 lbs. Now a reminder that Force = Mass * Acceleration. For any set, at any weight, we would like to exert maximal force on the weight being moved. So in the F=MA equation, F is always the same - the maximum force we can create regardless if the resistance. M is the weight you have selected. Since we want F to be the same (maximal) no matter what resistance we use, the rate of acceleration will have to change based on what percentage of your maximum proper-form weight is being used. Think of it this way - when you do your maximum weight, you likely have to grind that repetition out in order to complete it. In order to create the same force with only one rep with 50% of your max you would need to double the rate of acceleration.

The numbers are nice, but here is how I think you apply this practically. The concentric portion of the lift needs to be performed with correct form, through the greatest possible range of motion, and you should accelerate the weight at the highest rate you can. If the weight is so light or so heavy that you can't use perfect form, you aren't working with a weight that's going to create an ideal adaptation anyhow. Think of it this way - you may not NEED to create maximal force to move a certain weight, but if you aren't creating maximum force, you are leaving motor units and the corresponding muscle fibers unused during that set!

The eccentric, or negative portion of the lift, should be controlled (ie slow like the OP says). I don't get hung up on counting the tempo or anything, but I make an effort to perform the negative part of the rep slower and I make an effort to go through the identical motion that I used to lift the weight. Form is they key to it all, put your muscles into the position that puts the most stress on the muscle to be worked, eliminate momentum (ie. the above jerk shrugs example), and LIFT the weight the the full ROM.