So, it might be natural that we also think “fast” must mean “best” when it comes to exercise. And sometimes, for some people, it might be. But should you be cranking up the reps and speed as much as possible?
Not so fast!
Some workouts emphasize speed and volume, like High-Intensity Interval Training and As Many Reps As Possible (AMRAP). So do gimmicky “seven-minute workouts.” But for many people — especially beginners and those over 50 — slowing the tempo might be a better and safer option.
When you slow it down, you’re able to really feel the movement, and there’s less chance of injury. Also, most of us later in life have developed some improper movement patterns — it’s just natural. When we’re not rushing through exercise, we have more time to make corrections that can make the exercise more effective.
Moving more slowly also leads to more “time under tension” or TUT, which is effective in building muscle and engaging stabilizers. And, if you don’t have access to heavier weights, extending TUT can increase the challenge.
Lastly, going slower builds more strength in the ligaments and tendons and can improve balance, which is so important later in life.
Talk to us about the pace of exercise that’s best for you.
Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.