Super slow is a high intensity resistance training technique where one set per exercise is performed to failure. As the name suggests, repetitions are executed with a very slow tempo. Repetitions are timed, not counted; and efficiency, control, concentration, and breathing are emphasized throughout the session.
Super slow offers unique and highly effective approach to training in several ways. Because of the slow, controlled manner in which the weight is lifted, momentum is effectively eliminated from the lift. This allows for constant tension to be maintained on the working muscle (or muscles) throughout the exercise. Constant tension prevents the working muscle fibers from recovering during the set, which elicits total muscle fiber recruitment and allows for total muscular failure to be achieved. This total muscle fiber recruitment and achievement of muscular failure allows for a host of beneficial adaptations to occur in the body. Super slow training has been shown to drastically improve muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular function, and hormone levels over more conventional resistance training methods. All of these improvements are important whether an individual is trying to recover from a period of inactivity, improve athletic performance, or to simply improve general health and longevity.
From a training psychology and safety standpoint, super slow has many benefits as well. The concentration on movement quality, breathing, and the working muscles, all serve to emphasize the mind-muscle connection, proper from, and discipline. This allows for the development and reinforcement of proper movement patterns, and greatly lowers the risk of training injury. The intensity and effectiveness of super slow also allow, or in fact necessitate, shorter training sessions in the 15-20 minute range. All of these factors combine to allow the trainee to dispense with all of the superfluous and wasted moments of training time, moments that for most gym goers in most situations, account for the majority of their ‘training session’. Super slow requires complete and total immersion in the training experience. Reps are not counted, and at all times, every second, the focus is on the breath, the movement, the muscles, the body. The result of all of this focus is increased efficiency in all areas: Increased physiologic, metabolic, neuromuscular efficiency within the body; increased work / time efficiency per training session; and because of the high intensity demands of the training, increased availability of time between training sessions. Efficiency in one area makes room for efficiency in others.
Overall, super slow training is a safe, challenging, and highly effective approach to resistance training with applications for many different types of individuals.