Get up to speed.
Most people think slow and steady wins the race to building muscle mass, but research shows that lifting weights fast can also drive incredible results. If you want to get bigger and stronger, then pick up the pace.
Muscle responds to speed.
When lifting weights, you should know that the minimal load to build muscle is 60% of your 1-rep max. Think of the weight you are lifting as mass, which creates force. When you multiply mass times acceleration, you create muscle, strength, and serious explosiveness.
When you’re lifting really heavy weights, like 90% of your 1 rep max, it may look like you’re moving anything but fast. Here’s the catch: It only looks slow because, well, it’s heavy. Take a look at the graph on the right for a better visual understanding of why this works. The bottom line is this: High levels of force produce high levels of muscle fiber. And low levels of force produce low levels of muscle fiber.
Avoid burn out.
Truth is you can’t lift heavy all the time. You can perform 1 to 5 reps, but after a while, you run the risk of burn out. This happens when your central nervous system has a hard time recovering from one workout to the next. So that’s when you up your workout to 8-12 reps. But, once again, lifting the weight as fast as possible.
Be speedy. Not sloppy.
Never compromise form and technique. Ever. You should only accelerate your weight lifting during the concentric contraction, which is when the muscle is activated and shortens to lift the load. Always lower the weight in a slowed, controlled manner.
Listen up, ladies.
Many ladies tend to tune out when the conversation turns to lifting heavy weights. But it shouldn’t be that way. Yes, higher reps are always best for individuals who want to shape and tone. Yet ladies tend to shy away from lifting heavy because they fear it will cause them to bulk up. In reality, it all depends on the amount of testosterone ladies have in their system. Trust me, ladies: You will still see the benefit from lifting lighter weights, fast.
Speed up your results.
Now you know the benefits of lifting heavy at a faster pace. So, what are you waiting for? Get a move on.
Europa Sports Products Fitness/Wellness Coordinator
Head Strength & Conditioning Coach Appalachian State University 1984-1990
Strength & Conditioning Coach Charlotte Hornets NBA team 1990-2001