Over the years, you may have seen BEFIT’s focus veer towards encouraging slower tempo in many of the exercises.
And looks something like this on the whiteboard:
These define your tempo or speed on the down phase of the exercise.
There are numerous benefits to taking the heaviest weight you can handle and controlling it slowly.
For one, when you are slower on the down phase (known as eccentric in the fitness world), this helps to build more muscle (especially as you increase the time of the exercise and thus the time the muscles are under tension).
- Time under tension is everything with building muscle.
- You can’t expect a muscle to grow from a 10 or 15 sec set. It just isn’t enough stimulus! (Unless it is a max lift of 3 reps or less).
- You need minimum 40 secs of tension on the muscle to create that burn and reap all the positive hormonal benefits.
This is how you build a foundation and this is how you stay injury free.
By adopting a mentality in your strength training of slow and controlled, you tend to choose a more conservative weight than you may have previously. This is beneficial because you will now control the weight. The weight will not control you. When you are in an exercise and control the weight up and down, you reduce stress on your joints because your muscles are taking the majority of the load.
If you think in the past of times when you felt your joints in an exercise, were you moving the weight or your body slow and controlled or fast with less thought process?
Going slow forces you to think more about your form, feel your muscles, use your breath.
We aren’t about demonstrating strength. We are about building it.
Lifting the heaviest weight you can up and down with minimal control, will look good and possibly show off and make you think you are stronger than you are, but it is not building strength. And worse, if you have any degree of muscle imbalances (who doesn’t these days), you will definitely be putting unnecessary stress on your joints.
- Lifting the weights so that you can pause at any moment if a BEFIT trainer says stop is building strength.
- What is harder? Holding a weight for a longer period of time or a shorter period of time?
- If you are seeking the harder workout, make your sets last longer with the amount of reps it asks for on the whiteboard. If you choose too light or too heavy, adjust the weight for your next set so that you can meet the reps on the whiteboard.
- That will make you better. That builds more lean muscle. More lean muscle burns fat, increases your carbohydrate tolerance, raises your metabolism, and helps you achieve cooler things in the gym.
I’ve been on both sides of this. Trust me, trying to lift heavier without a slow tempo will leave you beat up with sore joints and little to show for your efforts.
There is no reason for ego when we train. We are here to train our minds and bodies and get a little better each week.
Committed to your results,
Josh Saunders, BSC, CSCS
Lifestyle. Strength. Performance.
Voted Langley Times Reader’s Choice Winner (1st place) – Favourite Personal Trainer 2017