Feb 17, 2003

Slow Rep Speed StrengthTraining

"The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender." –Vince Lombardi

Slowing down the Rep Speed

A January 30, 2003 article published in the Omaha World-Herald, Slow Burn Catches Fire, by Corey Ross discusses some of the issues surrounding this training practice. Ross visits with those who wish to promote this type of training as well as those who are staunchly opposed.

  • "Lifting so slowly, advocates say, stimulates the muscles more than traditional training and reduces injuries by eliminating momentum and encouraging good form." –Corey Ross

  • "A claim that SuperSlow isn’t for athletes, Colleen Allem, a trainer from Colorado, says that couldn’t be further from the truth. SuperSlow not only produces adequate intensity, she said but it also spares athletes from injury. She also noted that the Australian bicycling team uses SuperSlow." –Ross

  • "Most athletes overtrain. They don’t allow enough recover time." –Allem

  • "According to the Boston Globe, a YMCA study found that SuperSlow produced a 50 percent greater strength gain than conventional lifting. But only two people reportedly continued the workouts after the study. The others found it too taxing." –Ross

  • "It’s intense. It’s challenging. It takes as much mental strength as physical strength." Allem
We maintain that in order to recruit the most efficient number of muscle fibers, especially the fast twitch fibers, one should train in a deliberately slow manner. First and foremost this creates the safest environment both for the lifter and those around him, but additionally allows the muscle to become fully exhausted in a brief training session.

While Ross spends most of his article discussing the Ken Hutchins’ SuperSlow technique, one can apply these same principles with a more conservative cadence. In SuperSlow, coaches want their athletes to use a 20-second cadence: 10 lowering and 10 lifting. We like for our athletes to work a 4 down, 2 up but we do not split hairs over this issue assuming they are not using momentum or training too fast.

As expressed by Allem, training to failure is NOT EASY! The coach will be required to push the athlete to the limits. Penn State Coach John Thomas makes no secret about the fact he trains the mental strength of his athletes just as much at their physical strength.

In conclusion, The "old-wives-tale" that is perpetuated by football coaches that one must train fast to be fast is simply untrue. Again we maintain that the weight room is where we develop the strength and power of the athlete and the field is where we express the power of the athlete.

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***No Liability is assumed for any information written on the StrongerAthlete.com website. No medical advice is given on exercise. This advice should be obtained from a licensed health-care practitioner. Before anyone begins any exercise program, always consult your doctor. The articles are written by coaches that are giving advice on a safe, productive, and efficient method of strength training.***