One thing I have always wanted to help people understand in the fitness/ training industry is that faster is not always better.
At Bodybybrando we are passionate about helping the general population Build Bodies that Look, Feel and Move better. We have a real concern with the status quo of how people train in regular commercial gyms and we want to help change the standards, so that people can not only get more effective results, but so they can also stay injury free and feel what it’s like to have unrestricted movement in the process.
One of our biggest concerns is with the quality of movement that we are faced with daily, from social media posts as well as with our own eyes walking past commercial gyms (and even some “coached” gyms).
In particular, I am referencing the speed at which people complete their sets and reps, whilst showing total lack of control.
Of course ‘speed’ and ‘rate of force development’ can be used as a tool for performance coaching in producing power for your athletes, but when you’ve got a member who has just completed their fundamentals and realised that a squat means that their bum cheeks actually have to drop more than 5mm for it to count, I suggest leaving the speed component out of their repertoire until they have developed motor patterning and recruitment efficiency.
Not that I condone drink driving, but let’s use that as an example right now.
If you’re blind drunk, it’s fair to say your ability to react to situations will be inhibited and your control of the situation will be limited.
In that situation, would you:
A) speed up as fast as you can so that you get home as quick as possible because the less time on the road the better?
B) slow down so that if there was a slight lack of control, you would have the ability to correct it with return to a safer position, saving yourself from whatever bad result may occur.
This is the same for training. If you’re a novice at a movement (less than 6 months experience), you are the ‘drunk driver’. You have limited control over the situation and you should take all precautions to slow that movement down in case you need to rectify and correct the positions.
Failing to slow down whilst learning these new movements will lead to overcompensation of surrounding muscles, which is one of the biggest cause of injury whilst strength training and lifiting weights.
So while you may make it home safe the first time, everyone knows it’s not the safest option to continue pushing your luck.
Whilst learning a new movement or trying to perfect a movement, add in some tempo to the eccentric or isometric phases of the movement.
This means, taking your time whilst in the lengthening phase of the movement, or pausing in a particular position so that you allow the brain to connect with the muscle spindles and create an engrained “motor pattern”.
If you find that a certain position doesn’t feel quite right, your tempo will allow you to adjust and fix the issue so that you can find the correct position.
Yes, slowing it down may make the movement a shit tonne harder and mean you have to drop a couple kilos off the bar whilst still making the same grunting noises you were before, but the point of strength training was never to be easy. So deal with it.
I have added an example video of 5 seconds down, 2 second pause front squats. I suggest decreasing the rep range for a while and increasing the number of sets so you can decrease the intensity and focus on positions, whilst still maintaining the overall training volume so you create a mechanical stimulus and get the benefits of lifting weights.