Super-Slow Weight Training for Superior Muscle Growth
If you’ve never tried super-slow weight training, you’re missing out on a superior method of muscle growth. Learn more about this effective training method and what “super-slow” really means.
What if I told you super-slow weight training could work your cardiovascular system to the same intensity as sprinting while also building muscle and superior strength and the same time? What if I also told you that you could improve your insulin sensitivity and growth hormone production simply by changing your routine and how you structure your sets and repetitions? Do you think that would be something you might be interested in?
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Here is what you need to know:
Traditional steady state cardio is very hard on the body and can lead to chronically high levels of cortisol and cause the body to cannibalize hard earned muscle.
Fast twitch muscles store the most glycogen, so in order to discourage fat storage we need to deplete our excess glycogen store and focus on working these motor units.
Traditional weightlifting may not adequately stress muscles enough to optimally trigger the adaptive response needed to stimulate growth.
So, how can you address the limitations above, stimulate growth hormone production, build muscle, and get a far superior cardiovascular workout? Easy, simply replace all or part of your normal routine with full body super-slow weight training sessions.
What are super-slow weight training sets and reps?
Unlike regular weight training sets where you complete a certain number of reps, super-slow sets are usually done for time, with the goal being to do one continuous set for one to two minutes without stopping. Also, instead of using a speed of 1 second up and 1 second down, super-slow sets use a speed of 3 to 5 seconds up and 3 to 5 seconds down, or even 10 seconds up and 10 seconds down.
So what are the benefits of super-slow reps?
Below are four primary benefits of using super-slow reps and sets:
Benefit #1: Continuous Tension
Using super-slow reps keep the muscles under continuous tension causing all muscle fibers and motor units to be recruited in the movement. This causes a superior pump and a deeper level of fatigue.
Benefit #2: Superior Aerobic Stimulus
Super-slow reps provide a superior aerobic stimulus by causing your body to circulate a large amount of blood and oxygen in an attempt to supply the muscles with enough fuel to maintain the movement. (If you do these sets properly you will feel like you have been sprinting)
Benefit #3: Fast Twitch Muscle Fatigue
Super-slow reps deeply fatigue fast twitch muscles which can cause an increase in the muscles ability to store glycogen. This can help normalize blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity. The result is that your body may resist turning excess sugar to fat helping you to stay lean.
Benefit #4: Trigger Growth Hormone
Super-slow reps can trigger a superior growth hormone response by getting your muscles closer to complete failure. This signals your body to build more fast twitch muscle fibers. Researchers like Dr. Doug McGuff believe that this may have an anti-aging effect on the body due to every cell in the body receiving additional growth hormone. As we age, the body experiences “somatopause,” a natural process where our HGH production declines. It becomes incredibly important over the age of 30 to stimulate these systems in the body regularly to help build new tissue.
So what is the overall take away? Super-slow reps can provide a far superior cardiovascular workout to steady state cardio. It may also provide a greater stimulus for muscle growth than traditional reps and sets due to the deep level of fatigue that is created. There are a three things to keep in mind though: 1) high intensity reps like these are not meant to completely replace your normal routine. It is a tool to be used periodically to jump start growth and improve cardiovascular health; 2) super-slow training is very hard on body, so increased rest is recommended between sessions; and, 3) You will need to use a much lighter weight to ensure that you can control the weight through the full range of motion.
Check out this body weight version of a super-slow rep.
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