Thursday, August 14, 2014

 "I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature."
-- John D. Rockefeller

Super-Slow Exercisings (SSE)

Back a number of years ago, a lad by the name of Ken Hutchins developed the Super-Slow protocol that differs from traditional strength training. When a muscle is contracting  it shortens and is know as the "concentric" portion of the repetition and when it lengthens it is called the "eccentric" portion of the repetition.  Example, in a bicep exercise, when you pick up the weight to curl it, the muscle contracts, and is in a concentric state.  When the weight is lowered, or lengthened, this is called the eccentric stage of the exercise. Now in traditional strength training the time to curl the dumbbell would be about 2 seconds and the time to end  or relax  the muscle, the time would take about 4 seconds.  In super-slow training the timing would be about 10 seconds to curl the weight and the same time for the eccentric movement.  When you do any movement in resistance training, you have to use a lighter weight if you hold the muscles longer in the concentric stage than if you hold it for 5 seconds. The main reasoning for super-slow strength training is to maintain the muscles in greater tension for a longer time period than in traditional strength training.  The muscles "fatigue" and the repetitions are fewer in SSE because the movements of the exercise are so slow a lower weight is necessary.

So what is the practical use of SSE?  For a senior person or as a variation from traditional strength training it has it's place.  Seniors are safer with lighter weights and the chance of dropped weights and the resulting harm it can do to the trainee, is reduced.  The total length of the workout is usually shorter as fewer sets of the same exercise are completed.  The "fatigue to failure" of the muscles exercised results from the slow movements in both concentric and eccentric stages. As explained many times in this blog exercises should be varied, with different tempos, weights (resistance), equipment (barbells and/or dumbbells), or rubber bands.

In both SSE and traditional strength training, muscles strength, size and efficiency of movements results
and you may want to incorporate SSE in your workouts.