Please to enjoy my foray into what I’d anticipated would be the mind-numbing world of super slow weight training.
Please to indulge me as I realize this is long. I yammer because I love.
Please to enjoy the fact I was entirely wrong.
An important rule with regards to exercise is to never allow your workout to grow stale.
We’re all aware it’s human nature to slack off if not challenged and one can easily see examples of exercise stagnation in my house gyms everywhere.
The same members on the same machines exercising in the same manner they’ve been doing for years.
Thankfully for those of us who are lifeslammed and semi-undermotivated altering one’s regimen in the smallest fashion can serve to break even the most tenacious of plateaus.
It was with this notion in mind I decided to explore super slow weight training.
I’ve lifted weights for weights for eighteen years (!) and had become stuck in a results-free exercise routine.
Clearly I’d hit a plateau.
So clearly, in fact, I’d become obsessed with the idea that members at my gym could tell you which machines I’d use in what order if given only a body part as their clue.
I desperately needed to shake up my workout routine and had a sneaking suspicion I wasn’t alone (am I right, People?).
Enter super slow resistance training.
A weightlifting concept of which I’d been vaguely aware yet hadn’t found the motivation to explore.
In fact, super slow lifting has been around since 1982. Ken Hutchins created the method so older women, lifting weights to prevent osteoporosis, could perform weight-bearing exercise safely.
Beyond the obvious safety factor, Hutchins discovered a reduction in speed of the lift increased how hard a muscle worked on both concentric & eccentric portions of the exercise.
Translation? If you lift weights slowly your muscles are quickly exhausted, rapidly brought to failure, and your workout time tremendously decreased.
Translated even more simply? Less time. More muscle. Higher metabolism. Happier you.
According to Hutchins, our body requires less exercise than we’d previously thought to elevate our metabolism IF that “less” is exercise of the proper variety.
Using Hutchins’ theory, I could cut my lifting back to two twenty-minute sessions per week, endeavor to put on three pounds of muscle in eight weeks, and burn an extra nine thousand calories a month.
Look better, feel better, save time and break through my plateau? I was in.
First, a little do as I say not as I do.
It’s entirely possible to lead yourself through a super slow workout. The attempt brought to mind, however, the adage only a fool hath herself for a personal trainer.
While my personality doesn’t typically mesh well with the role of the client, I did wish I’d explored super slow personal training & had a little guidance along the proverbial way.
Even sans trainer I was pleasantly surprised by my eagerness to lift on the first day of my new routine. I hadn’t realized how much of a rut I was in until I committed to (super slowly) shaking things up. This attitude shift alone was a point in super slow’s favor.
During each super slow session I made a point to wear a watch with a second hand.
I’m notorious for rushing through my workouts and, since super slow lifting mandates a ten second lift & ten second lower routine, I knew I needed a guide.
Most importantly, however, I planned my workouts the night before.
I might have been the fool with herself for a client, but I didn’t wish to waste any of my client’s time.
Super slow training recommends you start gradually doing one or two sets of an exercise, use only machines, and focus on lifting with control over all else.
I chose the basics (chest press, lat pull down, bicep machine, tricep machine, leg extension, leg curl) and did two sets per exercise. I also stretched between sets for thirty seconds to allow my muscles adequate recovery time.
My first few super slow workouts? One word: burn.
Another word, after 4 weeks, was LOVE and not for the reason Hutchins would have guessed if given the chance.
Sure, I loved that I was once again sore after my workouts (Im weird. I like being sore and hadnt been as of late since my muscles had grown accustomed to lifting the same loads repeatedly).
Sure, there is a touch less flab and a tad more muscle on my frame after a month of supa slow.
Surprisingly, however, neither my body composition nor the shorter workouts motivated me to stick with the plan.
The bulk of my incentive for remaining super slow was that I now leave the gym far more relaxed and stressfree than before.
I hadn’t realized that Carla’s Frantically Fast method of strength training never let me slow down enough to truly unwind!
Being forced to lift at a snail’s pace transformed my weight training routine into a more yoga-like experience.
My gym time has become both mindful and present.
As a result, my twenty minute lift is far more restorative than my 30 minute “would you like a porch with that swing?” fast-paced routine ever was.
As a result, I wholly and entirely invite you to superslowly join me.