If you’ve ever frequented a gym… this scant, chaotic lifting behavior is not uncommon to see.
The speed or tempo that you lift weights will generate different results. Lifting weights fast is more likely to not only cause injury during the activity, but can also cause overuse injuries over time. When you increase the speed of acceleration, you’re increasing the force around the rotating joints, which is a sure recipe for joint problems later in life.
Lifting fast also requires that you use excess momentum in order to lift the weights; especially those last repetitions when your muscles are fatiguing. When you use momentum, what you’re essentially doing is asking your other muscles to assist you; so then true muscle isolation becomes restricted. So all those times you were trying to work your biceps; your back and shoulders were probably helping out too much, and therefore your biceps weren’t worked as well as they could have been.
Another problem with lifting too fast is that you’ll tend to limit your range of motion in the exercise which also hinders your results. Lifting slower will help you to focus more on your body movements and support a fuller range of motion.
Slower lifting also prolongs muscle tension and increases blood flow. Therefore, slower reps are intended to grow and build muscles. It's about being effective without wasting time or hurting yourself in the long run.
Want results sooner? Faster? Then work harder by going slower. It's kinda like the turtle racing the rabbit. The turtle always wins because he's fast and steady. Therefore the best lifting speed, most of the time, is one that allows you to focus on the muscles you’re trying to build -- to establish a mind-muscle connection. Try to visualize the target muscle and consciously direct power to the muscle during your exercise.
Researchers have found that you can create higher muscle activation with focused attention on those muscles, and that higher activation is linked to better muscle growth.
Try lifting, which is referred to as the "positive" phase of a repetition in roughly four-six seconds; followed with lowering the weight or the "negative" phase at the same pace. Try to stick to this pace for the next few weeks of your exercise routine and see if you notice different results!
Learn about Introversion®, our slow-paced mind-body strength training method here.
This article is based in part on the video Yooooo, Speed Kills! Ep. 52 of Diaries of the Drunken Dumbells