By Monica Perry
There are three types of workout phases you perform in an given exercise, eccentric, concentric and isometric. Allow me to break down some simple exercise science for you.
During the isometric phase you are completely motionless, think of a plank, wall sit, you can perform this for basically any exercise movement. Hold a bicep curl under tension, lunge, push up, you get the picture. Isometric movements require hardly any equipment to perform and Isometric training maximally increases strength over all joint angles the exercises are performed.
Simply put, concentric phase is the shortening of the muscle, and eccentric is the lengthening. The eccentric phase for the chest press would be lowering the weight, lengthening the pectoral and triceps muscles. The concentric phase of the chest press would be raising the weight up, shortening the pectoral and triceps muscles.
Eccentric training is much more demanding and therefore it fatigues muscles far more than you could concentrically. It damages muscles to a greater extent, so there is a higher possibility of greater muscle recruitment and subsequent growth.
What’s the deal with super slow training?
Super slow training is defined as 10 second contraction phase, with a 4-10 second eccentric phase. As you can see this type of training can use up some time. A round of 4-8 reps can last approximately 80-160 second. The developer behind superslow training, it offers safer workout and superior benefits in terms of muscular fitness, cardiovascular health and fitness parameters, sports performance and over all functionality compared to more traditional resistance and aerobic training. I will visit all these claims in the article below.
Does it work?
To date there has only been one study of super slow training. In this study they looked at 147 men and women for 8-10 weeks. They split up into 2 groups. The first group, a regular resistance training ( 2 seconds concentric, 1 sec. pause and 4 sec eccentric phase or 2-1-4, and the second group was the super slow training ( 10 second concentric, 4 second eccentric). The regular speed group performed 8-12 reps and the super slow training group did 4-6 reps.
Subjects in the super slow group showed an incredible 50% strength improvement from pre-test to post-test. One possible explanation the study offered, was the super slow training offers lower neuromuscular coordination or muscle recruitment. The subjects in the group had an initial low level of recruitment at such a slow and continuous force, therefore making it easier to improve.
If getting big is your goal you may want to think twice about this type of training. While it has been shown to increase strength significantly there is almost no impact on increase in lean body tissue (muscle)
This study also has proven that it does not improve cardiorespiratory fitness. TO study this they measured VO2 max before and after the 10 weeks. The regular resistance group showed an improvement of 10.32% while the super slow group showed no improvement.
The creator of the super slow velocity training also claims that it can enhance athletic performance. Since this super slow training is considered an aerobic (slow twitch) exercise given the amount of time it takes to perform, it is highly unlikely this can enhance sports performance. Super slow training uses only an intensity of 20-50% 1 Rep Max. The cast majority of athletic development comes from fast twitch fibers or high threshold motor units, using workouts like speed, strength and power. You do not get that out of the super slow training.
There are no current studies that claim that superslow velocity testing is safe. We can however gather that the lower intensity (20-50%) and the absent of ballistic movements, may be better for some to perform. I think we can all agree that any exercise is safe given your knowledge and ability to know your bodies limits.
While there are certainly strength benefits to super slow training, there is nothing like changing your workout for a challenge. Am I right? Next time you need to change up your routine, no need to try zumba or crossfit. Just change up your tempo speed for your reps. when your body isnt used to that tempo its almost guaranteed a good sweat!
Greer, B. K. (2005). The effectiveness of low velocity (superslow) resistance training. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 27(2), 32-37. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.jocolibrary.org/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.jocolibrary.org/docview/212535783?accountid=46208