Archive for the tag - strategy

What Is Super Slow Training?

Vector stopwatchSuper slow is a strength training technique that was first popularized by Ken Hutchins. As the name implies, super slow training involves moving very slowly through repetitions. For both the lifting and lowering movements of each exercise, a ten count is used.

So what are the benefits of super slow training? And does it work?

I decided to try super slow training for myself by scheduling an appointment at Inform Fitness in Los Angeles. What’s immediately apparent is how much passion the trainers have for the technique - which, they claim, only involves 20 minutes of exercise once a week.

Yup, you heard that right. Just 20 minutes of exercise per week.

The theory is that super slow training is so intense on the body, it takes about a week for the muscles to fully repair and rebuild. And, in just 20 minutes, the trainers can put you through a number of compound exercises that fully fatigue every muscle group.

After trying the technique, I can certainly say that it’s intense. Because each repetition takes a total of 20 seconds, there’s no help from momentum. There’s no cheating. And there’s no rest in between each repetition; it’s constant work for your muscles. It’s exhausting.

Super slow training does work. But, according to the Mayo Clinic and the research that they’ve reviewed, it’s not more effective than traditional training. Instead, it’s a great way to add variety to your routine and guard against boredom at the gym. Because the movements are so slow, it’s also a great way to reduce the risk of injury - especially when compared to other techniques like crossfit.

Will 20 minutes of super slow training per week give you the body of your dreams? Well, I guess it all depends how you envision the body of your dreams. At the end of the day, super slow training can definitely give you some positive results - especially if you combine the training with proper nutrition and cardio.

For me, super slow training isn’t a muscle miracle, but rather another tool to use at the gym - and a great strategy for mixing things up.


What Are Supersets Good For?

77290978_XSIf you’ve done any exercise-related research, you’ve probably come across the term superset. A superset is when you perform two exercises back-to-back without stopping.

In doing supersets, you have two options. You can either superset the same muscle group or you can superset different muscle groups. For example, you could superset pull-ups with barbell biceps curls to really hit your biceps. Or you could superset an exercise like the bench press (that works your chest) with dumbbell rows (that train your back).

If you use supersets to target the same muscle group, you may discover that it’s a really effective way to break through a stubborn plateau. Because supersets performed on the same muscle group will mean hitting that muscle deeper and harder, you’ll probably make some impressive strength gains for subsequent workouts.

Using supersets to train different muscle groups is extremely popular. The advantage here is simple. If you’re planning to do a chest and back workout, using supersets allows you to do more in less time by cutting out extra rest periods. Instead of sitting around for 60 seconds during a rest period, you’re able to go on to another exercise for a different muscle group. You’ll still get the recovery you need, but you’ll be working another muscle group in the meantime.

Regardless of how you use supersets, they will certainly make your heart pump harder. In fact, you’ll probably break a sweat; supersets can be something of a cardio workout and you may test your endurance - but you’ll quickly adjust in a few weeks.

To get the most out of your workout in the least amount of time, give supersets a try! And take a look at drop sets and negatives for additional training techniques.

What is Pre-Exhaustion Training?

Exercisers commonly use pec flys to

Pec flies before bench press is commonly used for pre-exhaustion training.

There are a many different workout techniques that can help jump-start the effectiveness of your workout. Like drop sets. Or negatives. Or pyramid sets.

Another common workout technique is termed pre-exhaustion training.

In a nutshell, the technique involves per-fatiguing a given muscle with an isolation exercise - and then finishing things off with a compound exercise. For example, exercisers commonly perform leg extensions before squats to practice this technique. The theory is that fatiguing a muscle with an isolation exercise before a compound exercise will lead to greater muscle recruitment.

Unfortunately, most bodybuilders would be surprised by pre-exhaustion research. Instead of increasing muscle activity, several studies have determined the technique to be no more effective than traditional strength training.

A recent study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research divided young men into two groups. The pre-exhaustion group did a set of pec flies and then performed bench presses until failure. The second group only performed the bench presses. Researchers found no greater activation of the chest muscles when using the pre-exhaustion technique. However, they did find an increase in triceps activation by 17.8%. As the chest muscles became fatigued, the triceps activated to help complete the movement.

It’s also worth noting that pre-exhaustion exercises can impact form. If, for example, your bench press form is compromised from pec flies, you may be setting yourself up for injury - so caution (and spotting) is definitely advised!

Personally, pre-exhaustion training isn’t something that I implement or that I’d recommend, but let me know what you think in the comments below. Have you tried it? Does it work for you? Let me know! And if you’re looking for gains in muscle size with strategies that work, check out my workout program - Size Matters: Davey Wavey’s Foolproof Guide to Building Muscle!

Kick Your Ass with Monster Sets!

Are monster sets as scary as they sound? Yes. But are they also super effective at increasing muscle volume and capacity? Yes.

Basically, a monster set is performing consecutive smaller sets of an exercise until you reach a large, predetermined number like 50 or 60 reps. To perform monster sets, you should select an amount of weight that is 65% of your one-repetition maximum. This should enable you to do about 15 reps in the first smaller set. Once you reach failure, take a quick rest. Then keep going until you reach your goal.

For example, let’s say that your one-rep max on the bench press is 150 lbs. That means you’ll probably want to use about 100 lbs of resistance for your monster set. Ideally, you’ll be able to do 15 reps in the first set. Take a quick break, then continue for another set. Maybe you can get 10 or 12 reps out of that set. Rest, and then continue. Maybe you get 8 reps. And so on until you reach 50 or 60.

Though monster sets shouldn’t be the backbone of your workout, they’re a great way to occasionally mix things up and really shock your muscles.