Super Slow Weight Lifting - The Best High Intensity Training Method

Lift Like a Turtle - Maximize Muscle Growth and Joint Health with Super Slow Weight Lifting

In a fitness world full of influencers doing gymnastic tricks, choreographed kettlebell flows, and other fringy things, there lives a boring old high intensity training method proven to provide better results — super slow weight lifting.

This method, characterized by its significantly slower rep speed, has been seeing a resurgence in popularity due to the work of fitness expert Jay Vincent, Dr. Doug McGuff, and Drew Baye. High intensity super slow has been shown time and time again to have profound benefits on muscle growth, strength, and joint health. 

Understanding Super Slow Weight Lifting

Super slow weight lifting involves performing each repetition over a longer period, typically taking 10 seconds to lift (concentric phase) and another 10 seconds to lower (eccentric phase) the weight. The goal of each set being to complete as many reps as possible aiming for each set to take 1 to 2 minutes. 

However, it is important to point out that the goal of this method is to produce muscular failure. Ideally, you would perform 1 set of each exercise, though more sets may be needed to reach failure.

If you can go the full 2 minutes, then the weight is too light. If you barely make a minute, the weight is likely too heavy. 

This technique drastically increases the time under tension — which is arguably the most critical factor for muscle hypertrophy (growth) — and enhances the workout's effectiveness without necessarily increasing the weight lifted or increasing the strain on your joints.

Benefits of Super Slow Weight Lifting

  1. Enhanced Muscle Growth: The increased time under tension forces muscles to work harder, stimulating growth and improving muscle tone more effectively than conventional training. This is because it fully exhausts all muscle fibers, where traditional weightlifting may only exhaust some of the fibers. 

  2. Increased Strength: By focusing on the slow movement, super slow lifting can lead to greater strength gains by challenging the muscles in a unique way, ensuring every fiber is engaged through the lift. By increasing the weight or time of each set, you can build incredible strength very fast. 

  3. Improved Muscular Endurance: This method trains your muscles to resist fatigue better, enhancing your stamina and endurance over time. There is a saying, "you do not need cardio if you lift correctly." High intensity training is hard on the cardiovascular system and helps build muscular endurance.

  4. Reduced Risk of Injury: The controlled movement minimizes momentum, reducing the risk of injuries commonly associated with faster, explosive exercises. This is especially beneficial if you have pre-existing injuries, or are older with less recovery ability, or simply want to preserve joint integrity.

  5. Greater Mind-Muscle Connection: Slowing down the reps helps in focusing on the muscle being worked, improving your form and the effectiveness of the exercise. When you slow down, you increase the mind muscle connection and the ability to really contract the target muscle. 

The Super Slow Weight Lifting Workout - Try it for yourself.

To get started with super slow weight lifting, try this simple yet effective full-body routine. Ensure you choose a weight that makes completing a full set for 2 minutes challenging but doesn't compromise your form.

Super slow workouts are best performed using machines, but they can also be performed with bodyweight, dumbbells, and barbells. 

Workout Structure: Perform 3 sets of 1 to 2 minutes for each exercise with 1 minute rest between sets. Each rep should take 20 seconds total — 10 seconds up, 10 seconds down. If your muscles fail during the first or second set, then move on to the next exercise. The goal is muscular failure, not necessarily to complete all 3 sets. 

  • Leg Press 
  • Chest Press
  • Cable Row
  • Shoulder Press Machine
  • Leg Curls
  • Tricep Extensions
  • Bicep Curls
  • Plank or Hallow Body Hold

Super slow weight lifting offers a unique and more effective way for building more muscle with less risk of injury. Integrating this high intensity method into your training regimen can unlock new levels of strength, endurance, and muscular potential. Remember, as with any training program, consistency is key. 

Always consult your physician prior to starting any fitness regimen, and make sure to supplement your strength training with regular joint mobility work. 

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