I picked up a little flyer at one of the major gym chains the other day. It appears to be noob training advice for their 2012 Fitness Challenge. If I may quote:
Get the most out of each rep by contracting and releasing slowly. Aim for a 5-second count in each direction.
In which sport exactly do you train to function slowly? As a football coach are you going to train your offensive linemen to aim for five seconds to come off the line when the ball is snapped? The play will be over by the time he makes it out of his three point stance! Ok, that’s a bit generous, he’ll be flat on his CENSORED before he gets to 3…
Now, there are times and places to include slow-count work in your training program, but if you don’t know why you’re doing it, do yourself a huge favor – just don’t. This flyer spews one of the single worst pieces of training advice I’ve ever read (IMHBCO). I already spend far too much time training new lifters to speed up their lifts, and complete them explosively.
If I were to give advice to new lifters without knowing their training goals, I would go in the opposite direction:
- When learning a new exercise, perform it in a deliberate manner until you can perform it properly – deliberate does not mean SLOW, perform the movements only as slowly as needed to complete the exercise properly
- Control the bar throughout the range of motion on both the eccentric (downward portion of the lift) and concentric (upward portion of the lift) movements
- Lower the bar in a quick but controlled manner
- Raise the bar explosively, try to complete the concentric portion of the lift as powerfully as possible