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What is Super Slow?

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  • Written By: J.M. Densing
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 01 November 2016
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Super Slow is a form of strength training, introduced by Ken Hutchins in 1982, that focuses on performing sets of exercises at reduced speeds. It is acknowledged to be an effective strength training method as shown by research. By performing exercises like lifting and lowering weights slowly, the effect of momentum is reduced and the muscles do more of the work. This method is supposed to allow for noticeable results with less weight or resistance and fewer repetitions than in traditional training.

Super Slow training can be done using weights or resistance machines. It is promoted as providing increased results in less time than traditional methods. Some studies have shown that participants using Super Slow methods gain more strength as evidenced by being able to lift heavier weights at the end of ten weeks compared to participants who went the traditional route. Other studies however, claim that both exercise methods can yield similar results. Many experts seem to agree that the Hutchins approach does seem to provide results and can be a good way to vary training to keep things interesting.

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Training using Super Slow methods is different in several ways from traditional regimens. Each exercise is performed in an extremely slow, controlled manner. For example, lifting a weight with traditional training speeds would require a two second lift, followed by a one to two second pause, then two to four seconds to lower the weight. When using a Super Slow method, the same exercise would consist of about 10 seconds to lift the weight, a five second pause, and approximately 10 seconds to lower the weight. By exercising at such a controlled speed, the muscle is fully engaged for a much longer period of time, and any assistance from the motion's momentum is negligible.

Another difference in the Super Slow method is the amount of weight or resistance. Faster exercise methods traditionally utilize heavier weights than slow training. Because of the increased amount of work the muscle is performing in each exercise, less weight is supposed to be necessary to achieve the same results. Those using slow training often reach equivalent levels of muscle fatigue using substantially lighter weights compared to what they would normally lift at traditional speeds.

When using the Super Slow training method, less repetitions of each exercise are supposed to be performed as well. Traditional training generally recommends sets of eight to 12 repetitions for each exercise. Slow training methods usually require only four to six reps for the muscles to perform an equivalent amount of work. In addition, when training with the Super Slow method, a person is only supposed to go to the gym twice a week and less often for those at advanced levels. With traditional methods, workouts usually are needed more frequently.

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