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How fast / slow should I lift weights?


"Hello! I have read that there is advantages and disadvantages to going faster or slower while lifting weights. What are the pros and cons?

- K. Duncan"



Yes, you are correct there are pros and cons.

The best thing to do is to go slowly and keep your form correct. Correct form while weightlifting reduces injuries. Going slowly builds more muscle and brute strength.

Fast Weightlifting will feel a bit like a cardio. It still builds strength, but it builds muscle speed and endurance more. 'Muscle Speed' is more desirable for people into martial arts. But it increases your chances of injury so it is better to stick to lighter weights.

It really depends on your goals. Strength = go slowly. Endurance = quickly, but pay attention and try not to hurt yourself.

If you get into the whole muscle speed topic then what you will be doing is aiming to activate "fast twitch muscle fibres", muscles that are responsible for explosive speed and strength. Unlike brute strength (which can live large amounts), fast twitch muscle fibres work on a different principle whereby they utilize energy differently.

Here are some tips when trying to build those fast twitch muscles...

#1. Do Jump Squats, Jumping Jacks and Push Presses and similar exercises - they require your muscles to fire quickly.

#2. Practice Reflex Exercises - such as catching a ball or juggling.

#3. Take up a sport that requires fast reflexes - like tennis or table tennis or even boxing / martial arts.

#4. Smaller Reps when Weightlifting - Only do 3 to 5 reps with a weight, focus on form, but try to do it really quickly. Don't over do it, rest a lot between reps.

#5. Rest a lot in-between sets / exercises. Anywhere from 90 seconds to 2 minutes. For example if you were practicing sprinting you would want to sprint for 10 seconds, then rest for 2 minutes, then sprint for 10 seconds, rest for 2 minutes, repeat.

#6. Speed Boxing or Kicking - Punching or kicking really fast, but do short reps and take lots of breaks.

The photo below of the cat amused me so I have included it just for fun.

Although to be fair the one below is even funnier.

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