We know the benefits of strength training. It will restore muscle, increase bone density, improve balance, and promote weight loss and cardiovascular fitness. However, conventional strength training requires several hours per week and frequently causes injury. Slow lifting – about 10 seconds up and 10 seconds down – is a better way.
Read on to learn how you can achieve the same results in 30 minutes as you’d usually get from a longer workout.
Benefits of Slow Lifting
Slow lifting is safer, because it reduces injury-causing stress on ligaments, tendons and joints. This means that even the elderly can do it safely.
It’s more effective. Without the aid of momentum, more muscle fibers are exercised.
It’s more efficient. You can get a complete workout in about 30 minutes per week, compared with at least 3 hours for conventional lifting.
How It’s Done
The trick is to complete a set of 3 to 6 repetitions of each exercise in 60 to 90 seconds. If you perform 10 exercises, you can complete your workout in approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Two workouts a week are all you need. To obtain the best results, raise and lower weights at the rate of about an inch per second. Breathe normally. It might be helpful to use a metronome to maintain the one-inch-per-second rhythm.
Repeat each exercise until the muscles are fatigued and you can’t do another repetition in perfect form. If you pass the 90-second point and feel as though you could keep going, the weights are too light. If you cannot complete 3 repetitions in 90 seconds, the weights are too heavy. Experiment to find the right weight.
The following program stimulates all muscle groups. Do 3 to 6 repetitions of each exercise. For exercises that require switching arms or legs, do 3 to 6 repetitions per arm or leg. You will need adjustable hand and ankle weights. Look for sets that adjust from 1 to 20 pounds.
Pushups – Kneeling on a towel with both hands flat on the floor in front of you, shoulder-width apart, with a straight back; ease down very slowly until your forehead almost touches the floor. Without resting at the bottom, reverse direction and repeat.
Doorknob squats – Straddle a door, grasping knobs with both hands, with a stool or chair about 2 feet away from the door edge. Using the muscles of your rear end and thighs, lower yourself to a near-seated position and return to starting position.
Side-lying leg lifts – Without ankle weights initially, lie on your left side with your head propped on your left hand. Bend your left leg slightly so that your right leg rests on top of the calf. Slowly raise your right leg up to the ceiling; pause at the top, squeeze your buttock and hip muscles and return to starting position. Repeat on other leg.
Single-arm back pull-ups – Hold a 6 to 8-pound dumbbell in your right hand, face a stool or chair with your left leg forward and supporting yourself with your left hand on the stool. Let your right arm hand beside the stool, then slowly pull the weight back and upward, pause at the top and return to starting position. Repeat on other arm.
Biceps curls – In a seated position, hold a 5-pound dumbbell in each hand. Tuck elbows into your sides. Moving only your lower arm, curl dumbbells toward your shoulders and back down to starting position.
Abdominal crunches – Lying on your back, with feet flat on the floor and knees bent; hold your arms straight in front of you. Keep your chin tucked into your chest and curl your torso upward and forward to a halfway-up position. Return slowly almost to starting position and repeat.