Slow Down To Make Fast Muscle Gains
by Doberman Dan
I've heard or read at least a hundred times that to really work a muscle you have to eliminate momentum from your exercises. But how many of us actually do it?
A lot of bodybuilding trainers even have a suggested "tempo" for your exercises. They'll suggest something like "4-1-2". That means 4 seconds to complete the negative portion of the exercise, a 1 second pause before starting the positive portion, and 2 seconds to complete the positive portion. That's a total of 7 seconds per rep.
After re-evaluating my training I realized that I had been sacrificing form in order to use bigger weights. I was building my ego more than I was building my muscles! So I decided to slow down, eliminate all momentum, and use the 4-1-2 guidelines I described earlier.
Wow! What a difference! The first thing I noticed is that I had to use a little less weight. Not a whole lot less but when you'd be surprised at how heavy a weight can start to feel when you're moving it slowly.
I also discovered that I could get a better workout and a better pump on much fewer sets. Believe me, if you actually stick to the 4-1-2 guidelines (it helps to have a partner time it with a stop watch), 2 to 3 sets per body part ought to do the trick.
When you maintain these tempo guidelines but are able to increase the weight after a while, you'll know that you've gotten a true strength gain. Before I adopted this slower method of training, I think some of my "strength gains" were simply me loosening up my form and getting the weight up with more momentum.
If you've already been using a tempo similar to the 4-1-2 I described, why not try something like 6-1-3 or if you really want an incredible pump and burn try 10-1-5. If you hit a sticking point, this just might be the formula to help you blast out of it!
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