6 Key Concepts of Super Slow High Intensity Training
1. Speed of Motion
High intensity “Super Slow” style exercise involves lifting a weight (the positive phase of the movement) in 10 seconds and then lowering the weight (the negative phase) in that same 10 seconds. Don’t try to count for yourself (time or repetitions). Instead, concentrate on the pace of moving about as slowly as possible without the movement becoming jerky. I will cadence count often, especially in the beginning as a guide for you to gauge your pace. For effective exercise, we want to apply a steady continuous force. Moving an object is not the point of exercise, but rather using a measured force to exhaust your strength momentarily is the goal. Don’t let the desire to achieve some impressive feat reduce your exercise effect. Instead, stay under control and stimulate the greater long term results.
2. Expectations for Progress
When beginning an exercise program, a few sessions is usually required to find the proper resistance level that will challenge your strength. Our primary focus will be learning the process of applying strength under control – staying loaded continuously using the proper cadence. It’s most important to rehearse the movement within proper form. It’s necessary to use a conservative level in the beginning as too much resistance encourages poor form and inhibits progress for a long time to come. We’ll get your position adjustments first and record that for consistency and time savings. We’ll then proceed with establishing your exercise routine. Each exercise will likely last longer than intended for regular exercise. Our purpose to start is to rehearse precise control – establishing proper form to be maintained as we increase the level of challenge. This approach enables long term progress and meaningful results.
Continuous breathing is important during exercise. Avoid holding your breath and using the Valsalva maneuver as this can raise blood pressure to dangerous levels and restricts blood flow returning to the heart. It is best to have no pattern to your breathing. Grunting, hissing, blowing, and gasping are all indicators that the Valsalva is being used. Also, do not grip excessively, grimace, squint, or clench your teeth. Instead, relax your face and neck and breathe naturally. Try to let your jaw hang and open your mouth for an unrestricted air passage. With practice, you will learn to breathe freely without force and excessive ventilation.
4. Stabilize Your Head
Unless an exercise is specifically targeting neck musculature, we want to avoid any unnecessary neck tension to prevent strain. To maintain a stable position, keep your chin spaced from your sternum about the width of your fist. You should be looking straight forward during the entire exercise set. Don’t tuck your chin, extend your head back, turn your head, or make eye contact with anyone. You should treat any verbal instruction as a recorded message that needs no acknowledgment. If you need to communicate something, do it as briefly as possible. Save your questions for discussing afterward or when transitioning between exercises. If you want a fan on, simply say “fan.” Don’t turn to make the request and keep your focus on the exercise. Don’t nod, shake your head, or swing your head to flip your hair out of your face or eyes. Don’t let yourself be distracted by anything else in the room. Even if someone walks in, always stay focused on your effort.
5. Avoid Headache
There is a rare occurrence of headache that begins with exercise. This is called exercise induced headache. It typically begins with a dull sensation with pressure in the back of the head or neck. Within a short minute, it can progress to a sharp pain over the top of the head and behind one or both eyes. The exact cause is unknown, but we do know how to avoid it. If you ever feel this or any headache sensation beginning, stop immediately, safely unload from the exercise, and sit quietly and still. After a few minutes, your headache is likely to go away and we may resume when it is completely gone. By using extreme caution, we can gain control over it. On the other hand, if you challenge this and try to tough it out, it can become extremely painful and it may be more likely to recur with exercise later on or in other activities.
6. Exercise More to Relieve Soreness
Soreness is the result of something unfamiliar, either a particular movement, the quantity of movement, or the level of effort during the movement. The goal is to introduce the intensity gradually to limit the kind of muscle soreness commonly referred to as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). This is a level of soreness that will interrupt normal activities and becomes worse 24-72 hours after exercise. The mechanism of DOMS is not completely understood, but the pain is ultimately thought to be a result of microtrauma – mechanical damage at a very small scale – to the muscles being exercised. Soreness might conceivably serve as a warning to reduce muscle activity so as to prevent further injury. However, further activity temporarily alleviates the soreness, even though it causes more pain initially. Continued use of the sore muscle also has no adverse effect on recovery from soreness and does not exacerbate muscle damage.