Workout Wednesday #11

by DavalosMcCormack on February 18, 2009

I love going to the gym and watching all the different ways people exercise. Sometimes it feels like you can get a glance into someone’s personality just by watching them working out.

There are people who seem intently focused on everything they do and ignore everything and everyone around them. There are others who seem to just wander around, half in a daze, from one piece of equipment to the next and just seem to stop at random and do something. There are others who just seem to be there to socialize, talking for ten minutes at a time in-between exercises.

In the end they all get a workout of one kind or another. But the ones I really like watching are the ones who seem to be in a real hurry to get it over with. They do every exercise at top speed as if the faster they do it the better the results.

In fact, the opposite is true.

That’s why this workout tip is not about a specific exercise, instead it’s a reminder to slow down.

The slower you do an exercise the greater the stress you are placing on the muscle and the more benefit you are getting from it.

For instance if you are doing a bicep curl, instead of doing it the usual quick way trying raising the weight slowly – say for a count of 10 seconds – pausing, and then lowering it just as slowly.

You will quickly discover you can’t do nearly as many repetitions as you could if you did it faster, but the overall benefits are greater. In fact some studies suggest that lifting slower can help build muscles 50 percent stronger in about 10 weeks.

The same applies to most exercises, whether they are working the arms or back or legs or stomach. Slower, more controlled, is often better.

So, next time you are trying an exercise that you do all the time slow it down, you’ll be surprised how difficult it gets. For example, check out this way of doing slow-motion ab crunches. Or this article for in-depth explanations of the benefits.

The point, as always, is to keep your body guessing what’s coming next. When we do the same things all the time our body adjusts. When we throw in new things our body has to react in new ways. You might be delighted with the end result.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: