Friday, January 2, 2015



       WHY?  WHEN?  HOW?

WHEN?The SuperSlow program began when its developer, Ken Hutchins of Orlando, Fla., led a program investigating the effects of resistance training on older women with osteoporosis. "These women were so weak we were afraid for their safety," Hutchins recalls.Even before then, Hutchins had toyed with the idea of slow exercise before, only to lose interest. But low weight combined with slow movements seemed like the perfect program for these women: Following it, the women made dramatic gains in strength.


Wayne L. Westcott, PhD, fitness research director at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Mass., heard of the program and staged two informal studies in 1993 and 1999. In each, about 75 people trained with the SuperSlow program -- for 8 and 10 weeks, respectively. Those doing SuperSlow in both groups experienced a greater than 50% gain in strength. In fact, the results were so difficult to believe that Westcott had them verified at Virginia Tech.According to Hutchins, the key to SuperSlow is to never let the muscle rest -- to remove the element of momentum from each exercise, making the muscles do the work instead of capitalizing on the tendency of a weight in motion to stay in motion. Muscles are worked beyond the shaky phase to the point of failure, when the person is physically unable to perform one more repetition.


It is a "Killer Workout"The people in Westcott's study did 12-13 exercises. The comparison group did 10 repetitions of each exercise, pulling the weight up and lowering it over a period of the usual 2 seconds in each direction. The other half did five repetitions, but lifted slowly, 10 seconds on the upstroke and 4 seconds on the way back down. (Hutchins and others recommend 10 seconds each way.) That's 20 seconds of muscle contraction for each repetition instead of 4 seconds. Multiply that by five repetitions and 12 exercises, and you have a killer workout, Westcott says. Despite the fact that the technique started with elderly ladies, it is intensive and tough, Westcott says. (It also requires machinery in good working condition to minimize friction, which "unloads" the muscle.) But the uniqueness of super slow workouts doesn’t stop there. Rather than doing multiple sets for each body part, super slow training typically involves just one long set for each exercise, and each set is performed until your muscles are completely fatigued.


Does Super Slow Training Work?The idea behind super slow training is that by decreasing the speed of movement, you can create more tension in your muscles. Theoretically, the more fatigued muscle will respond by growing, thus making you stronger and potentially boosting your metabolism.Super slow weight training is a new and growing phenomenon in Western United States. However it is not a new concept in the Eastern U.S.Super slow weight training originated in 1984, at the University of Florida. A physician approached an employee of Nautilus to find a way of helping six patients who had osteoporosis. He believed that strengthening the women’s’ back muscles would help reduce their pain. Ken Hutchens, the Nautilus employee, developed a routine on Nautilus equipment for the women, using a 12-second extension and 10-second contraction, using the heaviest weight they could handle. They were only to do six to 10 repetitions, at which time the muscles would reach failure. The women worked out for a relatively short period twice a week. At the end of six months their physician evaluated the women. He found that not only did the women have less pain; the bone density had actually increased. They had increased their muscle mass and their osteoporosis had diminished. 

Benefits of super slow weight training

A recent study by the American Medical Association showed that the benefits of super slow weight training are that it:

  • Increases metabolism•        
  • Builds muscle strength and lowers body fat       
  • Strengthens heart and improves heart rate        
  • Lowers blood sugars, even reversing diabetes       
  • Strengthens bones, even reversing osteoporosis       
  • Retains strength in old age thereby reducing the risk of falls and broken bones.
  • Improves joint movement increasing mobility       
  • Increases the body’s ability to regulate its internal temperature        
  • Improves balance       
  • Improves sleep patterns        
  • Creates endorphins, which makes you feel better and reduces the risk of depression        
  • Lowers your cholesterol LDL/HDL ratio        
  • Reduces symptoms of arthritis        
  • Reduces lower back pain 


How muscles work

Muscles are made up of multiple fibers. When the nervous system calls on the muscles to work, it only calls on the number of fibers needed. Muscle fibers work on an ‘all or nothing’ basis. As a fiber tires, it drops out of use and an inactive one steps in to take its place. Once rested, the fiber returns to action. 

When the effort is greater, two few are rested to complete the work so more reserve fibers are called to action. When all the normal fibers fail, only the reserve fibers are working. The development of these reserve fibers increases the muscle strength. At a cellular level, super slow weight training builds more efficient use of glucose in the cells. 

Glucose is the energy for cells. This is important, as people age there is a greater tendency toward diabetes. It is not uncommon to completely reverse diabetes in those using the super slow weight training protocol.The average body generally loses 30% of muscle mass between the ages of 25 and 50. Another 30% is lost between the ages of 50 and 70, and yet another 30% between the ages of 70 and 80. This is why it is common to see very old people stooped. They simply have lost their back muscles. In tandem with loss of muscle is the loss of bone density. 

Bones become brittle as people age, unless they use strength-building exercises. The most effective strength building exercise is super slow weight training. Super slow weight training is not done with free weights. The movement must be constrained so that the proper muscles are worked and there is no injury. Using weight machines constrains the movement so that the muscles are worked properly and there is less likelihood of injury. 

Also, performing each movement at such a very slow speed, an individual can stop the movement if there is discomfort, before an injury occurs. Although super slow weight training can be performed by an individual alone, it is very important to start with a trainer, who has been certified in super slow weight training. This ensures the proper machine settings are made, and that the client performs the exercise properly. 

While cardio exercise is important, it is less important with slow weight training. This is because the heart only knows the exerciser is working hard. It does not differentiate between the super slow weight training and other exercises that exercise the heart. 

To top it off, super slow weight training takes less than half-an-hour per session, reducing the time in the gym. It can be done in street clothes, so people who are in a hurry can get in-and-out quickly. This leaves time to do the other activities, such as bicycling, running, or walking, for pleasure… not exercise. 

In the Central Massachusetts Area there is a facility with a trainer expert in the super slow weight training. 

Here is the address:YMCA of Central MA.766 Main st.Worcester, Ma 01601Phone: 508-755-6101

Herfel Torres is and has been a dedicated athlete & always in the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle. With a background of competitive cycling, judo (from childhood to making the college team 4 times) and gymnastics (college team 3 times/ one of them as assistant coach) is an example of Super Slow training.From recovery patient, practitioner to trainer, Super Slow has and it is the main focus of his everyday training. 

He is available for personal training sessions at the 
YMCA Central Community Branch
Located in 766 Main St. Worcester, MA. 01610For more info please call 508-755-6101