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Manic Monday ~ A Super Slow Rep

Last week I mentioned my recovery time for a back issue that pushed me to some bed rest and many days of no exercise. After a long break of rest, I started back to my usual routine to find that my body wasn’t ready for the “normal” workout I usually perform. I recognized I needed to make a gradual return. Not only so, but my core had been compromised and I had to really be super conscious of isolating my core muscles during my strength training sessions to reduce any movements caused by extra momentum. In fact, trying to isolate without momentum taking over is proper for most strength training exercises. There are some exceptions that use momentum such as kettle bell work, but even with any momentum, proper form can be compromised and cheat the benefit of the exercise. So to ensure that momentum was not going to do more damage than good this past week, I trained using the “super slow” method!

This method is something I had read about several years ago and even tried this technique with a few clients. Essentially the repetition (bicep curl, shoulder press, chess press, leg extension, leg curl, leg press, etc.) is performed in full motion but in super slow motion. This would be a time increase of 8-10 seconds to perform a “one way” motion instead of a 1 second motion. With momentum completely taken away, the contraction and control of the muscle is increasingly challenging. It’s plain tough. BUT, it’s a great way to change up a routine and challenge the muscle groups a little differently. It also prompts extra isolation of indirect muscles. It’s quite the workout. However, with this different method, weights will more than likely need to be adjusted and you will find you won’t be able to perform the same amount of reps as your usual set requires. Ideally this method should be performed to exhaustion in which the muscle group can not effectively perform the next rep. This method can be used with both free weights and machines, however it is much safer with the machines if using heavier weights along with the super slow pace.

I will be the first to tell you, I thought it was a challenge. Also, I was pretty sore for a few days. These were the same exercise I usually perform but with the super slow pace. In the future I will probably integrate this method every 3 weeks. It’s a good way to change things up and challenge those muscle groups.

I you give it a try, STAY controlled and lower the weight if it’s too challenging to perform less than 5 reps in a row. Give me some feedback if you try it!

Have a GREAT week!

~ Rachel Zimmerman

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