Super suspect weight training
“super Slow” training calls for lifting a weight over the course of five to 10 seconds and lowering it again in the same amount of time. At least one study has shown that Super Slow training can increase strength by as much as 50% over traditional resistance training. However, the multi-set lifting methods used in the study were not those prescribed by Ken Hutchins, president of Super Slow Systems, Inc. Hutchins broadcasts that a regular workout regimen of just one set of Super Slow repetitions will achieve not only greater strength, but greater flexibility, caloric expenditure and endurance than three sets of traditional training. This appears to be unfounded.
There are several variables that seem to routinely confound attempts to quantify the benefits of Super Slow training, not the least of which is the cantankerous Hutchins himself, who has repeatedly spoken out against the exercise physiology community, in one interview even proclaiming that “most research in exercise is faked.”
Nevertheless, to see how Super Slow compared to traditional weight training in cardiovascular demands and caloric expenditure, researchers at the University of Alabama evaluated heart rate, energy use and blood lactate levels–the product of the transformation of glucose to energy during strenuous exercise–in seven resistance-trained men in their 20s. The men each performed 10 different weight exercises, eight repetitions with the Super Slow program and two sets of eight with the traditional, with three days of rest in between. They were randomly assigned which program was first. Both programs took 29 minutes.
The study reports that net energy expenditure was 45% higher for the traditional training, 155 kcal vs. 107 for the Super Slow regimen.
Lactate (the amount of lactic acid in the blood) after exercise was almost two times greater post-traditional training. Metabolic and cardiovascular stimuli were both low with the Super Slow program. While Hutchins’ guidelines even dictate that aerobic exercise is also unnecessary, and actually impedes the increased calorie-burning you would enjoy with Super Slow training alone, the Birmingham study concludes that more energy is used with traditional resistance training than Super Slow training, making the former of more benefit to those attempting to lose or control their weight. Current research is less definitive where strength increases are concerned.
(Journ. Strength Cond. Res., 2003, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp. 76-81; Superslow Exercise Guild, www.superslow.com; Journ. Sports Med. Phys. Fitness, 2001, Vol. 41, No. 2, pp. 154-158)
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