Build Strength Twice as Quickly

Slow down your weightlifting reps and build strength twice as quickly.
by David Segal
CPFT., ACE., AFAA., PFIT

It’s hard to believe that if you take 12 seconds to complete a repetition of an exercise (a squat for example) that you will gain twice as much strength in your legs and glutes than if you did fast reps.

Approximately 20 years ago the University of Florida School of Medicine conducted an extensive study that proved that extremely slow weight lifting improves strength, bone density and overall functionality. These findings were confirmed in later studies done at Harvard Medical School.

So how does lifting weights at a snail’s pace work? Instead of bench-pressing a weight up and down on a count of 1.2.3., try letting the weight come down slowly for 12 seconds, holding for 2 seconds then pressing it up slowly for 12 seconds. Immediately you will find that one, you cannot handle your normal heavy weight and two, that your ‘burn’ is greater. You can also decrease the number of repetitions for each body part exercise to only four (yes, that’s right four) and repeat the exercise twice.

With publicity in Newsweek, Business Week, Men’s Journal and even the American Journal of Preventative Aging, these slow cadence workouts are quickly regaining popularity.

When you push your muscles to failure with this latest technique, they will take a minimum of 24 hours to recover. The muscle will thicken and require additional nourishment (protein) to thicken. By providing the needed protein through changing your type of food intake fewer sweets, pasta, rice, potatoes and bread and replacing the calories with protein-rich foods your body will take on new proportions of less body fat, greater muscularity and definition.

Because of the intensity of the workouts, you should only repeat the 12-second workout twice a week.

I suggest you break the exercises into two sessions. The list may seem like a lot of exercises but remember you are only using a moderate weight and doing each exercise twice for four repetitions.

Day 1

Swiss ball squat, bent over row, push up, abdominal sit-up, lying pull-overs, incline press, lying on a bench leg lift, lunge, inclined dumbbell fly, side-to-side twist holding a weight.

Day 2

Dumbell shoulder press, barbell curl, triceps press down, abdominal crunch, standing bent over dumbbell raise, dumbbell curl, close hands push up, dumbbell front raise, triceps kick back, lying bicycling with legs and upper body elbows to knees twisting.

If you working out at a gym ask one of the trainers for an explanation of the exercises for any that you find confusing.

Try this program for a month twice a week along with some cardio workouts and you will be surprised at how your fitness improves.