There’s a misconception out there on exercise: that it has to be hard and fast in order for it to be effective.
This may sound funny when you hear me talking about the benefits of HIIT – but this is a totally different thing.
One of the most common barriers to consistent exercise (as in, creating a more active lifestyle) is the concept that it does have to be hard and fast. And I want to tell you – this is not the case. In fact, slow and controlled movements are HIGHLY beneficial – let’s explore this!
Slow and controlled movements do a few things:
- They protect you from injury
- They prolong time of tension on the muscle – further developing strength.
- Muscle burns calories. When you have more muscle, you burn more calories.
Now, I’m not talking about becoming Herculean. Although, if that is your goal, you can certainly do it. I’m talking about building an amount of strength and muscle mass that tones your body, makes you stronger overall, and burns more fat.
Think about it – maybe you can do 5, 10, 15 push ups without thinking about how slowly or how quickly you’re doing it. Much of that work is based on momentum, versus strict muscle work. However, slow that tempo down (let’s say, count for 3 seconds down and then 3 seconds back up), and you’re strictly causing the muscles themselves to lower you and to push you back up.
The time your muscles spend under tension has a GREAT deal as to your strength, endurance, and productivity if building muscle is your goal.
Funny thing, too – maybe you can bench press a lot of weight at a 1-1 tempo (one second up, one second down), but drop to a push up for a 5-5 tempo (5 seconds down and 5 seconds up), and it’s a whole new game.
Exercising for muscle building does NOT have to be hard and fast. In fact, it should be a bit slower to truly engage the muscles to work on your behalf. Use muscle, not momentum. This is a big principle that I consistently use with my clients in the studio and remotely.
If you’re in a place where you’re not experiencing the progress in your fitness routine that you really would like to see, reach out to me. Let’s have a conversation about how we can switch things up to get you the results you are spending your time and energy for!