The Benefits of Slow Training
Little is as discouraging as toiling away at the gym or on the mat but never experiencing substantive or lasting results in muscle strength and definition. As it turns out, the problem may not be you or your equipment but rather the way you’re using the equipment (whether that equipment is a fitness machine, free weights, or your own body in bodyweight exercises).
Although it’s a bit counterintuitive, the faster path to well defined musculature is going slower, according to most fitness experts. “When you slow down the tempo of the exercise, you create a much more intense workout,” model trainer John Benton explains.
Dr. Mercola, another advocate of slow training, says that “the super-slow movement allows your muscle, at the microscopic level, to access the maximum number of cross-bridges between the protein filaments that produce movement in the muscle.” In simpler terms, by slowing down your reps, you have a better chance of engaging the entire muscle, resulting in more overall tone.
When it comes to toning your legs, an area that is often fraught for women in the weight room for fear of bulking up, the slow method is a godsend. Benton advises, “think of small and slow up-and-down pulses rather than big fast intensive lifts and kicks.”
How to do it: There are many variations of slow training, but the easiest way to get started is by simply adding a few seconds to each rep, drawing them out to the extent that you feel the muscle engaging more fully. Avoid using momentum and locking your joints.
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