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  Is Training Slower Faster?

by Jack A. Medina, M.A.

and Roy E. Vartabedian, Dr.P.H.

August 20, 2008


When you are designing a training program, there are a number of variables that can affect your potential results. You have to consider everything from the type of exercise and number of sets, to how many weeks you are going to train.

Lifting weights
What About Lifting Speed?

Many coaches and athletes believe that if you train with very slow lifting speeds, taking up to 20 seconds per repetition, you minimize your momentum and maximize the work the muscle has to do. Previous research shows this is not the case, that slow lifting speeds are not as effective as traditional speeds for improving strength.

New Research

An interesting study entitled "The Impact of Velocity of Movement on Performance Factors in Resistance Exercise" was published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research - 20:760-766, 2006, Hatfield, D.L., et al.

After all the data was collected, the researchers found that the subjects who performed fewer repetitions had lower force and power outputs, did less total work, and had higher "rate of perceived exertion" (felt they worked harder) when they did the very slow movements as compared to the movements at the speed of choice.

It's interesting to note that despite the greater performance with faster movement, the subjects felt they were working harder at the slow speeds.

What Does This Study Show?

It clearly shows that when you do very slow lifting movements, you simply do not get as much done in the training session. You do fewer repetitions, you do less total work, and the force and power outputs are lower. In addition, you feel like you are working just as hard to do less.

This was not a perfect study. Female subjects were not included, so we don't know if the results would be similar for women. Also, the subjects were young (average age of 24 years), and the results might not be the same for older subjects. However, there is no physiological reason to think that the results would be different for any other type of subject.

Final Thought

Very slow lifting might have some use in improving muscle endurance or in muscle rehabilitation, but it is simply not as good a method to improve strength and power for an athlete.

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See you next month!

Yours for fitness and health,

Jack A. Medina, M.A.

Roy E. Vartabedian, Dr.P.H.

Designs for Fitness & Wellness

phone: 541-474-2454 or Toll-Free Order Line: 1-866-204-8786

Author/speaker and an expert in Sports Performance Enhancement”. Jack Medina is available for speaking engagements, consultation and personal training of athletes in various sports, professional and amateur. Jack has written a new book, “The Winning Edge: Fueling & Training The Body For Peak Performance” with Dr. Roy Vartabedian, an internationally known New York Times Best Selling Author of the “Nutripoints” program for optimal nutrition. Both books are available online at Jack also has a monthly ezine (newsletter) available free which can be subscribed to on his website. All subscriber’s addresses will be confidential and not sold or given to any other organization or group.

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