There is a common debate among regular gym goers. How fast should we lift? I am going to outline both sides of this debate and leave you with my thoughts and philosophy on the subject, which by the title of the article I am sure you can tell where I stand.
Reasons for Lifting Slow:
When we are lifting weights and moving through the range of motion slowly we are putting the muscle under more stress through a longer contraction. This prolonged contraction on both the eccentric and concentric motions of a lift causes the most muscle hypertrophy due to more micro tears in the muscle. The main basis behind slow lifting is based on studies that have found the greatest amount of tissue damage resulting in muscle hypertrophy can be created through the eccentric (muscle lengthening) motion of a lift.
Reason for slow lifting = increased muscle mass
Reasons for Lifting Fast:
For every movement we make no matter how big or small our nervous system sends a signal to the muscle that we want to contract, allowing it to contract. Simply put the speed in which our nervous system communicates can actually be trained to respond faster or slower depending on how we train. Also, muscles are like elastics in the sense that they store elastic energy, the greater the speed of the muscle lengthening, the greater the speed and force of the contraction. This principle of elastic potential also needs to be practiced and trained. The combination of these two principles creates faster and more powerful movements.
Reason for fast lifting = increased; response time, speed, strength, power
What are we training for?
In the end you need to ask yourself what your goals are and what the purpose of your training is. As a body builder you would benefit from a slow tempo, but as an athlete there really isn’t much room for a training program based on slower temp lifts. The fact of the matter is hypertrophy can still be gained through increasing the volume (more sets and reps) in a fast lifting program.
Reason for writing this short article:
I have been a football player for most of my life, through out that time I have had worked with and seen several different types of programs. Keeping in mind the basic necessities of a football player being speed, power and strength, it is clear that the tempo of the program should cater to such needs. An overwhelmingly high number of the programs I have seen over the years have been based on slower lifting tempos.
Determine what the demands of your sport or activity require and work to develop those attributes.
Justin Andrushko, SSC-ISSA