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Strength Training Principles and Guidelines

There are some really important strength training principles and guidelines to consider for the highest effectiveness and safety. I work out exclusively with high intensity strength training at the Super Slow strength training facility I work in, but when I used to work out in crowded gyms I would see 95% of people with dangerous posture and form or moving dangerously too fast. I want to give you all the advice here that I teach my clients when we are beginning a high intensity strength training program together.

Strength Training Principles #1 
Go Super Slow

  1. Always move VERY slowly! This is the most important high intensity strength training principle. My best rule of thumb here is to create a pace of 10 seconds pushing and 10 seconds resisting on the way back. This increases the effectiveness of every thing we are doing by eliminating almost all momentum. We want the muscles to remain engaged, the more you FEEL the muscles at work, the more your muscles will grown during your rest time. This also sets us up for maximum safety overall. If we throw a weight in one direction it is only momentum that carries it, and when we stop it from moving it is ripping at our connective tissue that joins the muscle to the bone. So instead we STAY moving at ten second pace out and back AND REMAIN THE SAFEST WE CAN DURING EXERCISE.

Strength Training Principles #2
Maintain Muscle Engagement

    Never rest between repetitions! If you've also observed most people using weights at a gym they always tend to do one repetition (usually at an unsafe one second pace waaaay too fast) then they'll set it down and rest. The second of our high intensity strength training principles is that we want to continue to keep the muscles engaged on the weight at all times. We want this to be one consistent flow, never resting when we gently touch the weights at the bottom of the stack, and never locking out our knees or elbows at the furthest distance outward. Summarized- stay engaged on the weights, never rest between reps, always keep the knees or elbows slightly bent. This is why Super Slow strength training is the most effective strength training method I've ever found.

Strength Training Principles #3
Fatigue Your Muscles Fully

    Get your muscles to complete fatigue! Most people stop pushing the weights as soon as the muscles begin to ache and burn or sometimes even before that point. The third of the important high intensity strength training principles and guidelines: Push until the weights won't move any further whatsoever. This is truly the “success” point when we flip the rebuilding switch to its furthest state. This very last repetition is always the most important and productive of this entire process. This complete fatigue point tends to feel the MOST productive at some point right under the two minute mark. Everyone processes this moment of hitting the fatigue wall differently, some people will interpret the intense muscle burning as “unsafe or dangerous” when this is not the case as all since the last repetition is also the safest part of high intensity training in Super Slow. As long as you have great form, speed, and breathing – which brings me to number four.

Strength Training Principles #4
Maintain Good Form

    Keep perfect form throughout! This is the BIGGEST reason I always suggest to hire a Super Slow trainer to guide you through these high intensity strength training principles, because it is SO easy to lose proper form or hold our breath, and that is SO unsafe. We always want to keep our shoulders relaxed and our neck gentle and unstressed. That's not as easy as it sounds, in fact at our Super Slow studio we train all of the other fitness trainers when we do this method, to assure that we are breathing well, keeping great form, and maintaining that perfect pace of ten second repetitions.

Strength Training Principles #5
Rest Between Sessions

    Always allow your muscles time to rest! Because this method of Super Slow gets the muscles to complete fatigue, we always want to rest for two – three days before sessions. This is one of the most overlooked but important of the high intensity strength training principles and guidelines. The vast majority of my clients respond best to doing this method with me twice a week, but we also offer fitness packages of once a week as well. One of my friends, a fellow super slow fitness trainer, tried using this full fatigue method three times a week but it left him feeling drained and tired from not giving the muscles adequate rest between sessions. The resting period is SO important.

Strength Training Principles #6
Mind Muscle Connection

    Create a mental connection to the muscles! This is a full body workout in around 20 minutes, the most effective method I've found. During the workout we can give ourselves a slight edge also, however – They've done experiments by putting electrodes on muscles to measure the electrical response in the muscle groups during strength training. They found that we get up to 30% more muscle engagement just by directing our mental focus into the target muscle group as we move through each exercise. The mind – muscle connection is powerful.

I hope that you'll apply these high intensity strength training principles to your own workouts, but like I always suggest, the most productive and the safest way to use these methods is by having a Super Slow fitness training coach to guide you through the method safely.

You can always get started today with some isometric strength training techniques without weights but the safest way to exercise is on Nautilus or similarly ARX strength training machines. We would love you to join us for the most effective and safest workout known to humankind!

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