Sunday, August 05, 2007

Is Super-Slow Weight Training for You?

Gray Iron Newsletter subscriber Leo, from Gloucester England, writes to ask two questions:

1. Do you have any observations to make on the question of rep speed or tempo? Your videos suggest that you use a natural cadence. I am experimenting with super slow which is intense in the extreme (and agonising}.

2. What do you think we actually achieve physically by continuing weight training at seventy. Is it purely maintenance? I acknowledge the psychological benefits

My answers:

Leo, I have tried super-slow repetitions and concluded that they are not for me. It may have to with my being too impatient; nevertheless, I found that after a week or so I began dreading the workouts. But that’s me. I know that some people thrive on super-slow. I do like to change routines in various ways every month to keep things interesting. Still, in general, I find I am most comfortable with a moderate rep speed and the numbers varying between 6 to 12 reps. Once in a while I’ll drop to 4 rep sets or go up to 15. But mostly I stay in the 6 to 12 reps range.

As to what progress can be expected at age 70, I think that once we have a couple of years of training behind us, yes, it is mostly maintenance (after we pass 55 or 60). I personally cannot lift as much or train as long as I could 10 years ago. I wish I could. Still, I’m grateful for a much superior strength and fitness level when compared to my contemporaries that have not been regular trainees. It can be unpleasant to think about further strength loss as time passes. On the other hand, the odds are we’ll stay well ahead of our age group in strength, fitness and health by just keeping at it.

That's a pretty good deal, I think.

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