Grandma's Ninja Warrior Diary: Why Slow Beats Fast



One of the first things I learned as part of my fitness training -- and am still learning -- is that when it comes to physical fitness development of any sort, slow is better than fast. That came as a surprise to me, especially since I have been impulsive and near-hyperactive my entire life. Doing things fast comes naturally. Doing them slowly does not--and frustrates me as well.

However, I now understand that I MUST do fitness activites slowly for a number of reasons:

  • to avoid injury
  • to let your muscles fully experience the activity
  • not to confuse cardio training with muscle training
  • to get the full benefit of each activity 
  • to build muscle faster -- more time under tension

Try it. Lift 20 pounds rapidly 20 times. Then lift 20 pounds slowly 20 times. Slowly is harder to do; it taxes your muscles more; it build muscles faster. (Though with faster, you can live more weight or do more repetitions.) A length of 2-6 seonds between repitions seems to optimal.

What you will find as well as that you can do more iterations or ife heavier weights when you do that fast. What I read somewhere (don't remember where now) is that there should be somewhere between two seconds and six seconds between each repetition in order to build muscle mass.

I have learned the hard way that I need to slow down. Most recently, a fall from a rock climbing wall (boulder climbing) reinforced that. I was moving a little fast, as usual, and tumbled off. Now, I do know how to fall, and I tuck and tumble pretty instinctively. Nonetheless, there is always room for injury when falling from heights. The landing, as you might have imagined, did not harm me. It was hitting the wall with the side of my elbow (the bursa) that was the problem. Although I continued climbing for another hour or so, I noticed some swelling, and after I stopped is when the pain (relatively mild) set in.

I got off pretty easily this time. Next time, who knows. So, next time I will TRY to move more SLOWLY because in this case slow beats fast.

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