Updated: Jan 16
It's easy to feel overwhelmed by all of the information out there regarding exercise. Who should you listen to? One article says yoga is the best, while another thinks that running can't be beat. And, in addition to opposing opinions, there's also the long list of short-lived fitness trends; here today, gone tomorrow. How should one go about finding the best way to get in shape? Well, if muscle is what you're seeking, it's important to first understand the definition of true exercise.
In order for your muscles to grow bigger and stronger, there must be adequate stimulus placed upon them. If you are able to participate in a physical activity for hours at a time, you are not achieving true exercise. This means you aren't stimulating your muscles to get stronger, you're simply maintaining your current level of strength. It is also putting a lot of unnecessary wear and tear on your body. True exercise is achieved when your muscles are challenged and pushed to a level of effort that causes temporary muscle failure.
If your current exercise regimen is to take the same walk everyday, then you are simply staying at the same level of strength. However, if you take your walk wearing a backpack and continue to add weight to the pack, you are then placing an increased demand on the muscles, forcing them to grow stronger.
Working your muscles to the point of complete fatigue, forces them into the phase of repair, which is when they grow bigger and stronger. Sprinting as fast as you can until your legs feel like giving out beneath you is placing much more demand on your muscles than running at a leisurely pace for three hours.
The same goes for performing the leg press at the gym. If you have been lifting 150 pounds every workout for three months, you aren't pushing yourself enough to increase muscle mass.
Superslow is the way to go
As far as your heart and muscles are concerned, nothing takes the place of true strength training. The actual definition of strength training is: "A system of physical conditioning in which muscles are exercised by being worked against an opposing force (as by lifting weights) to increase strength. While everyone loses some muscle mass with age, a condition known as sarcopenia, it's possible to slow or even reverse that loss with regular strength training."
The most effective and safest way to lift weights is by performing slow-movement-high-intensity strength training. This method of strength training has been around since 1981, and doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Other names for this style of training are: Superslow, Slow Burn, Power of 10. Regardless of what you call it, this approach works by removing momentum and places the necessary amount of stimulus upon the muscles to make the weight move. Not only does this make the workout effective, but it also makes it extremely safe by removing force from the equation.
One set is performed on each machine, slowly working through 20-second repetitions until you can no longer move the weight. By working to this point on each exercise and reaching momentary muscle failure, you will achieve true exercise. The best part is, you only need to perform one 30-minute session each week in order to reap the benefits of bigger, stronger muscles.
"Slow lifts can build muscle much faster than regular lifts can. This happens because lifting slowly forces your muscles to hold the weight longer. ... If you go faster, momentum will do a lot of the work for you, and your muscles will be active for a shorter amount of time." -Fitness Republic
Learn from a Pro
Although the concept might sound simple, the Superslow workout is anything but easy. It takes more muscle-to-mind coordination to move a weight slowly, not to mention more effort. Once momentum is removed from the equation, going slow takes focus and mindfulness in order to maintain proper and safe form.
Having a personal trainer that specializes in Superslow to guide you is the way to go. They will teach you how to do it correctly, safely, and push you harder than you will most likely push yourself. If you do it solo, when the going gets tough, proper form can easily go out the window. This can cause you to speed up, use unsafe form, therefore cheating yourself out of a quality workout.
Lifting weights Superslow style is very different from what most people are used to. It is much more challenging that you'd expect. One of the best aspects of this approach is how present you will be in your body. Paying attention to muscle groups and moving slowly will give you the opportunity to become more aware of any discrepancies in strength. Especially when it comes to using the left and right side of the body equally.
You'll be glad you did!
There is something to be said for doing something right the first time and having a personal trainer to guide you will assure you're successful from the start. The beauty of having a professional in charge of your fitness experience means you don't have to worry about setting up machines and whether or not you're doing the exercises correctly. So, as long as you bring the necessary drive, they help you with the rest. A qualified personal trainer will teach you how to safely get the most out of your Superslow workout. If you're looking for a personal trainer in Santa Rosa, CA, click here. Make the call, you'll be glad you did!