When it comes to determining the most effective training methods, science should always face anecdotal evidence. Fortunately, movement science researchers have worked pretty hard to get more conclusive answers about which exercise method builds most muscles. Here's the latest tip from the lab: playing around with your lifting speed can help you grow more.
Not surprised? This is because you have probably heard that trainers or online bodybuilding gurus indicate that repetition rate is an important factor in achieving muscle hypertrophy. In reality, the repetition rate among lifters has always been a controversial issue. Therefore, a group of scientists in Sao Paulo, Brazil, recently conducted a study to remove the differences between "slow speed" and "fast speed" came to some extraordinary results.
In every gym in the world there are a handful of people that everyone secretly hates because they seem to ignore or neglect any basic rule about effective muscle building and still manage to grow like crazy. However, this shouldn't discourage you from following sensible and scientifically sound training tips as such types will always exist – blame their great genetics.
Fast vs. slow lifting speed
The widespread wisdom in the gym tells us that focusing on the eccentric part of the lift is everything when it comes to muscle hypertrophy, while emphasizing the concentric phase can lead to superior strength gains. And although things aren't as black and white as this “rule” makes them appear, it is true that many of the guys who also use slow pace lifting tend to add more bulk than those who do strictly fast lifting speeds use and do any repetition in an explosive manner.
Based on previous studies, we can safely say that stroke speed affects important factors that promote hypertrophy and strength development, such as muscle damage, time under tension, and metabolic stress. But to what extent does speed determine hypertrophy?
A group of Brazilian scientists assembled a group of twelve experienced male weight lifters, divided them into two groups, and had both groups perform Scott curls twice a week for 12 weeks. The training consisted of 3 sets with 8 repetitions. Before starting the experiment, the researchers recorded the 1RM of each subject for later comparison.
The first group had to do “slow speed” repetitions by lifting the weight in one second and lowering it in three seconds. The second group did “high speed” repetitions – they raised and lowered the weight in a second. After 12 weeks of training, the researchers assessed the muscle growth in the test subjects with the help of an ultrasound examination of the cross-sectional area of the brachial bicep muscle. As a measure of the force development, they compared the previous 1RM of each test person with the current one.
The results were really fascinating. This means that not only did the lifters in the "slow speed" group build up three times more muscles, but also almost five times more strength than in the "fast speed" group!
So does this mean that you should give up quick repetitions completely and be obsessed with slow eccentrics? Not really, because other studies have shown that switching between slow and fast lifting speeds gives the best results in the long run. The reason for this is that if you expose your muscles to only one type of stimulus for an extended period of time, they "get bored" and no longer react in the same positive way. For best results, try to include periods at a slow pace in your workout, followed by periods at a much faster pace, e.g. B. 6-12 weeks of slow speed, followed by 6-12 weeks of fast speed.
Have fun and stay tall!