Super slow weight training was made famous over a decade ago by researcher and physician Dr. Doug McGuff.
In his book, Body by Science, Dr. McGuff outlines the science and protocols behind super slow weight training and how to use it to unlock incredible strength gains and muscle growth.
Why You should Consider Doing Super Slow Weight Training Sessions
According to Ori Hofmekler, the author of The 7 Principles of Stress, traditional steady state cardio is very hard on the body and can lead to chronically high levels of cortisol, muscle loss, and potentially diminished heart function.
Fast twitch muscles store the most sugar, so in order to discourage fat storage we must activate these muscles increase fat loss.
Traditional weightlifting or lifting too fast may not adequately stress muscles enough to optimally trigger the adaptive response needed to stimulate growth.
So, how can you address these issues, stimulate growth hormone production, build muscle, and improve cardiovascular health all in one workout? Use super slow weight training. Here's why and how.
HOW DO YOU PERFORM SUPER SLOW WEIGHT TRAINING SETS AND REPS?
Unlike regular workouts, where you complete a certain number of reps, super slow weight training sets are done for time. When doing a super slow workout the goal is not a set number of reps, but total muscle failure.
An ideal super slow weight training exercise would be performed for 2 to 3 set of up to 2 minutes of continuous work.
Additionally, instead of using a speed of 1 second up and 1 second down like traditional sets, super slow weight training sets use a speed of 5 to 10 seconds up and 5 to 10 seconds down.
4 Primary Benefits of Super Slow Weight Training Workouts
BENEFIT #1: CONTINUOUS TENSION
Super slow weight training workouts keep the muscles under constant 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 CARDIOVASCULAR PUMP
Super slow weight training provides a superior cardiovascular workout 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 done properly, super slow workouts can make you feel like you've been sprinting.
BENEFIT #3: INCREASE FAST TWITCH ACTIVATION AND GLYCOGEN USE
Super slow workouts deeply fatigue fast twitch muscles which can cause an increase in the muscles ability to store glycogen.
This rapid depletion of glycogen according to Dr. Mcguff, can help normalize blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. The result is that your body may resist turning excess sugar to fat helping you to stay lean.
BENEFIT #4: INCREASED HORMONE PRODUCTION
According to Dr. Mcguff, super slow weight training 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.
Dr. McGuff believes 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 growth hormone production declines, so it becomes incredibly important as we age to stimulate these systems in the body. Super slow weight training is a great tool for doing just that.
Conclusion: Obviously, we have only just begun to scratch the surface on the topic of super slow weight training, but it is obviously a great tool that you should be using in the gym regularly to improve your results.
As we discussed, super slow weight training is excellent for triggering complete muscle failure, improving endurance, improving sugar utilization, and stimulating growth hormone production.
A few last thoughts:
High intensity reps like these are not meant to completely replace your normal routine. It is a tool to be used here and there to jump start growth and improve cardiovascular health;
Super slow weight training is very hard on body, so increased rest is recommended between sessions; and,
You will need to use a much lighter weight to ensure that you can control the weight through the full range of motion.