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Started By NeuroMass (Philippines)

Started on: 5/17/2004 4:38:39 AM, viewed 3526 times
Slow speed cadence vs. SuperSlow cadence…An Objective Analysis.

OPTIMUM REP CADENCE is a frequently forgotten topic in weight training. We often discuss about sets and reps as the basic component of exercise but we often NEGLECT to me is one of the more subtle but nontheless very important factor in training which is REP CADENCE. In fact it is so important that it may be the difference between EFFICIENCY and MEDIOCRECY when it came to MUSCLE stimulation!

Personally I′ve been tackling this issue a lot ever since. I′ve done almost every REP CADENCE that has been recommended. From Compensatory acceleration (speed principle) to 2/2 to the OLD NAUTILUS recommendation of 2/4 to SuperSlow (10/10) to my current protocol which is the SLOW (4/2/4) cadence. Form experince I′ve found the the FASTER SPEED REPS presented a DISADVANTAGE which are the significant involvement of MOMENTUM and LEVERAGE (Lifting in a very efficient manner). With the 2/2 cadence although more controlled still involves significant amount of momentum which as we all know is INVERSELY PROPORTIONAL to muscle involvement. The 2/4 cadence on the otherhand has the NEGATIVE advantage. It has the same problem with the 2/2 on the positive stroke but in someway COMPENSATED by SLOWING down the NEGATIVE portion of the rep which increases the OVERALL Tension time (TUL) of the rep. And now let us go to the SLOWER protocols. Comparing the both the ADVANTAGES and the DISADVANTAGES of both the SLOW(4/2/4) and SuperSlow(10/10).

Having done both for some period of time has provide me with a FIRST HAND experience and CREDIBILITY to assess OBJECTIVELY both protocols. Because the goal in EFFICIENT and EFFECTIVE muscle stimulation(loading) is to MAXIMIZE metabolic work (in this case dynamic metabolic work) I could safely say that in that aspect BOTH protocol passed with FLYING COLORS with the SuperSlow having the SLIGHT EDGE because oviously it is SLOWER thus less momentum (movement is the IMPETUS of momentum thus the rate of movement is RELATIVE to the magnitude of momentum). Although it would seem that SuperSlow would have the upper edge think again! Although slowness of the movement is RELEVENT to efficient stimulation doing your reps in a SuperSlow style presents a different problem altogether! Forst because the movement is too slow it would be very hard to MAINTAIN a SMOOTH rep execution. In fact you could experience some series of STOPS and STARTS within the rep which is not good because that would greately affect the MU recruitment pattern (muscle recruitment). Secondly when you do SS you either do it within the RECOMMENDED rep range with is 4-8 reps /set which is too long. bear in mind that a 10/10 rep at 4-8 reps is approx. 80-160 seconds TUL! At that range you would be required to significantly LOWER the amount of weight used and that is not very good when it came to training for HYPERTROPHY! On the otherhand if you decided to reduce the TUL and stick with lower reps as in within the 60 second mark. The problem now is that you would only be doing a maximum of 3 reps! What′s the problem with that you might ask? Well if observe the REP their is what is called a VARIATION of resistance throughout the REP because of factors such as LEVERAGE and ANGLES relative to GRAVITY. The hardest range are usually where you are at a LEVERAGE DISADVANTAGE(lower part of the bench press) and the EASIEST are at the strongest range (extended position of the bench press). With SS you are only required to perform at the HARDEST angle(position) 3 times add to that a very SLOW negative stroke and you actually made the PERFORMANCE EASIER! With a 4/2/4 cadence you will be doing a bit more reps with significantly low momentum to worry about.

Comments please… PEACE.

This Topic has 24 Replies: Displaying out of 24 Replies:

Zeus (HIT, Mike, Sweden) on 5/17/2004 6:24:41 AM

Great post NeuroMass.

I´m starting to believe that the rep cadence are very much bounded to what kind of equipment one might use. As you said "….LEVERAGE and ANGLES relative to GRAVITY" ar an important factor that should be watched when considering which EXERCISES to perform and which TOOLS to perform it with!

As I understand it, SuperSlow has their own machines which may be created/suited for their 10/10 cadence. When I went to Nautilus they use 4/6 cadence and other gyms don´t use any standardized rep cadence. The later case might be a affect due to so many tools/machines from different companys that they cannot follow a standardized rep cadence.

What I don´t like with SS is that I never read why they choosed 10 seconds as a guideline from a scientificely view. Why not 20 seconds or 20 seconds? The later would mean that 1 rep = 1 minute! This is the reason why I´m followin Arthur Jones and Mike Mentzer srecommendation 4/2/4 seconds, it´s more science to me by doing a rep cadence to avoid momentum to the level without making it to slow.

If I remember correctly, Erlington Darrden did supervise Boyer Coe to do one rep dips (or maybe chins) with the rep cadence 1/1 minutes! Yes, only one repition, but with total time 2 minutes. I don´t wanna debate wether it´s good or bad, but what science/researches stood behind this rep cadence idéa?

One thing I´m trying to understand is why should a static hold be included in a rep? The two advantages I see with that is you can contract harder at a top position, but this is usually only perfectly done in an isolation exercise. The second one is that in a top/contracted position one catch some air, breath one or two times before moving to a position requering some tensed abs which could move the ability away from breathing properly.

Just some of my thought.

Will try to think some more later!

Be well, train hard & think smart!

HIT (northwest, wa5, england) on 5/17/2004 10:31:22 AM


With SS you are only required to perform at the HARDEST angle(position) 3 times add to that a very SLOW negative stroke and you actually made the PERFORMANCE EASIER!

you are right but you would be passing through the HARDEST angle(position) a lot slower so the time in that position would be pretty similar and you would have no momentum helping you through the hardest angle below is part of a post taken from Doug mcguffs site which relates to this issue.


Sticking Points on Compound Movements

At Ultimate Exercise we love compound exercises for reasons discussed in previous articles. The major disadvantage of these movements is the sticking point that occurs at "minimum moment arm". Minimum moment arm occurs when all joints involved in the movement are at 90 degrees and leverage is at a minimum. The sticking point is like a small hump in the road. When the resistance is modest the effect of the hump is like a molehill. When the resistance becomes more pronounced the effect is mountain-like. It is the difference between pushing a Ford Festiva over a hump in the road, versus pushing a Ford F-350 over the same hump. We noticed this at Ultimate Exercise when our clients would have a sudden 20 second drop in their TUL. Initially, we took this as an indicator of overtraining and adjusted volume and frequency. However, we found this phenomenon to be a false marker of overtraining…adjusting volume and frequency did not fix the problem. Once again standardization proved critical to problem-solving, as we found that the TUL drop was consistently 20 seconds (the amount of time to do a 10/10 SuperSlow repetition). This fact along with the non-random position failure at the position at minimum moment arm alerted us to the problem. The problem was not recovery related, it was equipment related. Med-X, despite being the best equipment available, still has this sticking point problem. Because of the dramatic leverage effect of minimum moment arm this is technically very hard to overcome. However, in the future I hope that it will be overcome so that we can continue to progress weight without changing protocol. Certainly, if my car can incorporate technology that transfers power "from the wheels that slip to the wheels that grip", then we can find the technology to overcome this problem.

So how have we altered protocol to overcome this problem? The answer is combining dynamic and static repetitions. As a subject inroads and becomes weaker, the effect of the sticking point becomes harder to overcome, so that eventually the sticking point cuts them a rep short. The answer is to do the number of dynamic (standard) reps possible followed by a static contraction. Typically, for most subjects this amounts to 3 reps plus a static. Interestingly, once we incorporated this technique the subject′s TUL would return to the normal range. Since we use a 10/10 protocol, the effect of internal muscular friction is evenly distributed between the positive and negative portion of the rep. There is 10 seconds of weight plus internal friction, and 10 seconds of weight minus internal friction; thus, the effect of friction cancels out. In a static there is no movement so the contribution of friction is nil. Thus turning the last rep into a static also cancels friction and thus the TUL returns to baseline. As the weight continues to progress, the effect of the sticking point becomes more pronounced and we eventually have to incorporate a 2 reps plus static routine, but again TUL remains fairly stable and we are able to continue to progress resistance. We have used this in advanced subjects with good success, and usually don′t find it necessary until weights become quite heavy. Good record keeping using TUL and a standardized protocol should alert you when to try this experimental technique.

NeuroMass (northwest, wa5, england, Philippines) on 5/17/2004 10:56:36 PM


Yes you′ll be passing that RANGE(the hardest / peak) in a SLOWER PACE but remember that the NEGATIVE stroke that succeeds also takes too long to accomplish (10 seconds) so you′ll have a significant time in between those PEAK ranges (similar to rest-pause). Also base on my own experience with SS it is impossible to ACCURATELY and CONSISTENLY clock the amount of time on a SPECIFIC range everytime. In fact when you read the SS handbook by Ken Hutchins he even recommends that you should speed up the movement just a little when you get to the HARD part of the movement and SLOWER when on the easy part. It seems that the only GOAL with SS is not CONSTANT speed but just to maintain the 10/10 cadence. Pointing on my previous statement about SS as too slow to maintain a CONSISTENT speed of movement (series of starts and stops). Another concern here is that because the NEGATIVE stroke is about 40% STRONGER than the positive so in that sense a 10 second eccentric stroke would equate to a PARTIAL REST (moderate intensity) which actually makes the exercise INEFFICIENT! Remember when it comes to TUL training consistent / constant speed of movement is ESSENTIAL because the amount of tension is relative to how you PERFORM the rep. Making the REP easier by increasing the speed on the HARD part and DECREASING the seppd on the EASY part could in a sense also be considered TUL training but that doesn′t mean it′s IDEAL! In short it is EFFCIENT MUSCULAR TENSION throughout the range of motion that is what we are after here. PEACE.

HIT (northwest, wa5, england) on 5/18/2004 8:49:26 AM


Yes the negative stroke would take about ten seconds, this is along time between ′peak-range′ so you could, speed up the negative, slow the negative down, or add 40% more weight to the negative. Its impossible to accurately and consistently clock the amount of time of any rep-speed. If you believe the peak range is important, ′more′ important that consistent speed, then don′t take Ken Hutchins advice, and go slower through the peak range.Speeding up on the hard part of the rep, and slowing down on the easy part, is done in an attempt to maintain consistent tension through out the range, it is also said that if you do not have the proper equipment to do SS, then do it in a 10/5 cadence. You cant avoid the fact that your stronger on the negative with any rep cadence, that′s why with the more traditional bodybuilding reps they lower slow, lift fast, i.e. lower slow to compensate for the greater strength in the negative and on the positive keep accelerating the weight to ′reduce′/compensate for momentum but the uneven rhythm of the rep is said to be dangerous?


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