Does the speed of a rep affect the results you get from an exercise?
Today I’ll explain the differences between slow reps vs fast reps, and show you why it can have a big outcome on the type of physique you are building.
Check out this email from website member Jamie:
I have noticed lots of guys in my local gym performing the same exercises in very different ways. Some guys really focus on every rep and go slowly, while others seem to explode through the set in no time – which is the right way for building more muscle?”
This is an interesting subject.
Because much of the time, people perform slow reps and fast reps without even realizing.
They’re often just trying to get through their set and haven’t given any thought to the speed they are performing their repetitions.
But, much like high reps and low reps, it actually makes a significant difference to the results which come out at the other end of your session.
Slow Reps Vs Fast Reps
The main thing which I need to establish here is that neither way is inherently “wrong,” so to speak.
Sure they are different.
But different is good.
And in the battle of slow reps vs fast reps, both methods are very useful and should be taken advantage of at different stages of your training program.
- Performing reps in a slow and controlled manner will create far greater time under tension.
This will lead to greater overall muscular hypertrophy – muscle growth.
This is why you’ll typically see a professional bodybuilder really trying to zone in on every single rep and “feel” the muscle working as hard as they can, aka the mind muscle connection.
This is a big factor in bodybuilding.
But although someone may be going slowly purely as a means to focus on building this neuromuscular connection, in doing so, they are also creating greater muscle growth as they are prolonging the time that the muscle is under tension and therefore increasing the blood flow to the area which is under duress.
The longer the repetition, the more you’ll tear down your muscle fibers.
Try my slo-mo method in your next workout:
- focus on the concentric – lifting – phase for around 4 seconds
- pause at the top for 2 seconds
- focus on the eccentric – lowering – phase for around 4 seconds
- pause at the bottom for 2 seconds
- And go as heavy as possible doing it!
What Do Fast Reps Do?
Conversely, hitting reps with more speed will take a different route.
- Performing reps in a faster manner will create more explosiveness.
The muscle will be under tension for less overall time, but it’s by no means “easy” – and that doesn’t mean you need to go light.
In fact, you’ll be surprised at the resistance you can lift in an explosive manner.
This approach is best used when training for sporting performance, particularly in events which require explosiveness, such as sprinting and rugby.
From snatches to cleans, they all have their benefits.
Applying This Knowledge
If you are using my online workouts in your gym, you’ll recognize one recurring theme in a well-structured program – periodization.
That means you should focus on different things during various phases of your routine.
It is proven that a periodized plan returns greater overall results – whether for bodybuilding purposes or strength purposes – than simply doing the same thing over and over.
It’s also proven that a properly periodized routine yields greater results than randomized training.
So if your main goal is to build lean muscle, then your main focus should be on slower, more controlled reps.
And if your main goal is strength, your main focus should be on explosive training.
However, from time to time it’s worth jumping over the the other side and reaping the rewards it has to offer.
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You might also enjoy my last post, The Rules To Ripped.