How slow can you go?

So more and more I’ve become fascinated with doing an “efficient” workout.

How can I get the most out of something simple that doesn’t take too long?

For one, you can push yourself.

For two, you can challenge yourself by using the heaviest weight you can while maintaining good form.

For three, you can make sure every rep is done perfectly. (Trust me…It is way different when you do a perfect push up and drop your chest to the ground and then lockout than when you don’t have everything engaged or do a complete range of motion.)

And last but not least, you can change rep tempo.

There are lots of different rep tempos you can do.

You can do a rep as fast as possible under control, which may lead you to do plyometric training.

You can do an isometric that requires no movement whatsoever but is merely a hold in one position.

You can do a slow rep where you move slowly on the concentric and the eccentric. For example, you squat for three seconds down and then come up taking three seconds till fully standing.

Or you can do what is popularly called a “negative.”

More and more I’ve become fascinated by the negative.

A negative is taking a long time on the eccentric contraction. You are taking time to “contract” a muscle that is lengthening. A good way to  think about an eccentric contraction is to think about braking. In other words, you are slowly lowering a weight which is making the muscle contract to keep the weight from just pulling your body out of control, but the muscle is also lengthening slowly to lower it down.

There are three main reasons why I’m so fascinated by this specific slow rep tempo or the “negative.”

For one, an eccentric contraction is the one that makes you most sore. It seems to do the most muscle damage.

For two, an eccentric contraction seems to lead to the most strength gains so spending more time on the eccentric contraction during a negative should, therefore, incur more strength gains.

And three, more time under tension, so doing a slower rep, can cause more metabolic adaptations. AKA you burn more fat!

So if you want to burn more fat, going slow through the eccentric part of your rep may get you more bang for your buck. It can also help you gain strength especially if you’ve hit a plateau doing a normal rep tempo.

An interesting side note is that you will also need to use a slightly lighter weight when doing slower reps because you must really control the tempo.

The fact that you can use a lighter weight makes “negatives” or just a slower lifting tempo in general, great if you are a novice lifter. You can really focus on form with the lighter weight while still making great strength and metabolic gains!

This all doesn’t mean that you should just haphazardly throw in different rep tempos to your workout. You need to know what you are training for. If you are looking to lose fat and gain more strength a slow rep tempo may help you out. But if you are looking to gain more power for your sport, a fast tempo may be what you need.

HOWEVER, this post should make you consider whether or not it is time for you to change up the pace…literally.

Posted on January 18, 2013, in Benefits of doing "man" exercises, Man Biceps, Workout and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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