Facts about super slow training, muscle growth
and weight loss...
As the name suggests, super slow training (http://www.superslow.com) calls for
lifting and lowering a weight very slowly. Instead of completing multiple sets of
various different exercises, super slow training involves one set which might consist
of just six repetitions of the bench press. However, each repetition lasts between 15
and 20 seconds. One set of each exercise, and you’re done.
Super slow training
A typical workout lasts less than 30 minutes, and you do just one or two each week.
Performed strictly according to protocol, you’ll need to take 3-7 days of complete
rest between workouts. And the more advanced you get, the less frequently you
need to do it. According to advocates of super slow training, this is all the stimulus
your muscles need to grow.
Not only does super slow training promise to deliver greater gains in muscle size and
strength than conventional programs, it’s also said to be better than other forms of
exercise for helping you lose weight. In fact, the guidelines dictate that aerobic
exercise (such as running or cycling) is unnecessary, and keeps you from improving
as much as you would if you just stuck to super slow training.
Although it might sound easy, don’t make the mistake of confusing a quick workout
with an easy workout. When you spend 10 to 15 seconds lifting a weight, and
another five seconds lowering it again, it hurts. Super slow training doesn’t take a lot
of time, but it does take a lot of work.
Super slow training isn’t anything new. Bob Hoffman — founder of The York Barbell
Company — sold weight-training courses that involved very slow training speeds in
the early part of the last century.
The recent interest in super slow training was generated by Ken Hutchins. Back in
the 1970’s, Hutchins was working with elderly women suffering from osteoporosis
(also known as brittle bone disease). He felt that the traditional speeds of lifting (an
average of two seconds lifting, a pause lasting one second, and four seconds
lowering) were too fast for such frail patients. So, Hutchins began using slower lifting
speeds. Encouraged by the progress of the women, Hutchins began using super slow
training with people of all ages and abilities.
Although super slow training has been around for some time, it’s only recently that
research comparing it with traditional training has reached the pages of peer-
For example, in a study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical
Fitness, Wayne Westcott examined the effects of regular speed or super slow training
in untrained men and women .
Westcott, a research director at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts,
assigned subjects to one of two groups. Both groups trained up to three times each
week on Nautilus exercise machines. The major difference between the two groups
was repetition speed.
• The regular speed program involved one set of 8-12 repetitions, with each
repetition lasting a total of seven seconds (2 seconds lifting, 1 second pause, and 4
• The super slow training program involved one set of 4-6 repetitions. Each
repetition lasted a total of 14 seconds (10 seconds lifting and 4 seconds lowering).
All of the participants were tested for either their 10 repetition-maximum (regular
speed group) or 5 repetition-maximum (super slow group) before and after the 8-10
week program. A repetition maximum (abbreviated as RM) is the greatest weight
you can lift with proper technique. A 1-RM, for example, refers to the maximum
amount of weight you can lift once. A 5-RM refers to the maximum amount of weight
you can lift five times.
In both studies, super slow training resulted in about a 50% greater increase in
strength compared to regular speed training. In the first study, for example, the 5-
RM in the super slow training group increased by an average of 26 pounds. In
contrast, the regular speed group showed an increase of JUST 18 pounds.