Slow Weight Training

Think you have to move at warp speed to get a heart-pumping, ultra-sculpting workout? Think again! There’s a new fitness trend on the horizon called “Super Slow” or “Slow Weight Training.” It’s one of the safest and most efficient ways to work out without putting extra stress on your joints and muscles. And, you can do it with or without equipment!

By taking your usual weight training moves—like squats, lunges, and push-ups—and performing them at ultra-slow speeds, you can tone up in less time with a lower risk for injury. Slow, steady movements force you to reduce momentum, which requires the muscle to work that much harder. As a result, you reach a higher intensity in less time, giving you a more efficient workout.

Various trainers are now using this practice so ask about it at your local gym, or simply try slowing down your current strength-training workout at home. Here are a few moves you can do in your own living room, no fancy machines or equipment required:

For each of these moves, use a count of 10 to go up and a count of 10 to go down (thus the name, slow weight training):

  • Chair Squats: Stand in front of a sturdy chair with your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart (feel free to spread them even further for a more stable base). Slowly lower yourself as if you were going to sit down in the chair. When your butt touches the chair (don’t actually sit down!), slowly come back up. Repeat until your muscles are fatigued and you can’t do any more while maintaining proper form.
  • Lunges: Stand tall with your hands on your hips and feet shoulder-width apart. In one smooth motion, step back with your right leg and slowly lower your right knee toward the ground, without actually touching down. When your knee is about an inch or two off the ground, slowly come back up. Repeat until you can’t do any more while maintaining proper form, then switch legs and repeat.
  • Modified Push-ups: Get on your knees in a push-up position. Your hands should be under your shoulders, in line with the center of your chest, fingers pointing forward. Press your body up slowly, keeping your torso still and your abdominals drawn in. Once you’re all the way up, pause before slowly lowering yourself back down to the ground. Repeat until you can’t do any more while maintaining proper form. Note: If this is too difficult, you can do your push-ups in a standing position, with your hands on a wall or against a sturdy object, such as the back of a fixed chair. If it’s too easy, you can do the push-ups on your toes instead of on your knees.