How To Make Resistance Training Safer (With One Simple Switch)

Resistance training is great. I go on and on about it.

But it does have the potential to cause trouble. There are many people (including yours truly) who have removed themselves, temporarily and permanently, from the exercise game through silly and avoidable mistakes.

Beyond the problem of too much, too often most of these issues are caused by exposing the body to excessive force.

An obvious culprit would be trying to lift a weight which is too heavy. A less obvious culprit is trying to lift a weight too fast.

Fast Rep Slow Rep Force Graph.jpg

During a fast or explosive repetition there is a big surge in force production at the beginning of the exercise followed by a complete drop-off as momentum does the rest.

During a slow, controlled repetition your muscles produce just enough force to move the resistance creating more stable and constant tension throughout the exercise.

The net result is your muscles do more meaningful work and your connective tissues are protected from large fluctuations in force.

Double win.

This simple switch has been a game-changer for keeping my body healthy.

How slow is slow? There isn’t a one size fits all answer but after a decade of watching people train it’s probably slower than you are currently going.

Gradually apply force until you start moving the resistance, ensure slow and smooth turnarounds, lower the resistance under control. Only as your muscles reach exhaustion should you try to increase speed during the positive portion of the exercise. By this point you will be too tired to hurt yourself with large surges in force as your muscles simply won't be able to produce it.

Try it and see.