I want to talk about one of my favorite dirty 4 letter words - SLOW. I call it dirty because people treat it as if it is taboo... Quite contrary...
In exercise and many things in life, we tend to rush and go through the motions instead of working through the movement. It's easier to go fast, and we can get it done sooner, but is it giving us the best results?
A great value of slowing things down is controlling the movement pattern, therefore, helping us "feel" how the body is moving. It should feel smooth and pain-free (sharp pain not muscle fatigue).
Limiting momentum will work the muscles through their full range of motion while maintaining good form to execute the moves well. The joints will move better and in the proper alignment when we take the time to do it correctly. We can notice things such as irritation and imbalances.
When we speed up, the joints often move in bad patterns, causing pain and discomfort that we do not feel until after the workout is over, by then it’s too late, the damage is done. This is why so many people injure themselves doing exercises.
If we go slowly we will lift the "true" or actual weight, The intended muscles will fatigue faster, so fewer reps are required, providing more benefit. Do less but do it better.
Slower is not necessarily easier, in many instances, it is harder to lift the same amount of weight without momentum.
Try doing a 4-6 second concentric (lifting) phase then 4-6 second eccentric (lowering).
Even try to slow down Core and Yoga practices - feel the difference.
When we exercise we should be strengthening our body and teaching it to move more efficiently. Our programs should be countering the negative stresses placed on our skeletal systems from our activities of daily living like sitting, head forward, looking down at devices, slouching, bending improperly, and so on.
Through life's trials and tribulations - accidents, injuries, imbalances, and even from birth our bodies are not symmetrical and often do not move with good joint mechanics. When we rush it intensifies that bad motion.
Training slowly allows the body to "learn" the proper mechanics before going faster as in a sports-specific action.
Going faster, jumping higher, and pushing harder is not necessarily the best way to get in shape. This technique involves a higher rate of injury. Training slowly greatly reduces the chance of injury.
I’m not saying don’t ever go fast. I’m just saying there’s a place for it, and it doesn’t have to happen in all your workouts. Think of intentional motion.
Get away from just going through the motions and work each movement completely.
Make sure that you continue to breathe, and even then SLOW IT DOWN.
I believe that part of the reason we get so much arthritis and joint pain is that our bodies are not balanced and stacked properly against gravitational forces, then we rush through our routines. I've said it in previous posts - poor posture and alignment are the roots of much of the evil in your joints.
Slow things down, enjoy the journey, and smell the flowers along the way. Notice what is around you and what your body is doing in space.
Take a deep breath and let it out slowly - this will calm and revive you from life's pressures.