There are two different ways to lift weights effectively. One is to lift to a natural count of a pace similar to 1, 2, 3, 4. The other is to lift slowly, with a count of 1 taking quite a period of time before you finish the move.
Natural lifting versus slow lifting has been hotly debated by some experts who want to declare beyond a doubt that one is better than the other. The truth is that they both have their uses, and those uses depend on each individual’s state of health and their fitness goals.
Many people who become interested in a strength training program, using weights such as dumbbells, have not worked out for a while or ever, so they need to learn how to lift safely and effectively. This means not overdoing it in terms of how much weight they are using, or how many repetitions they plan to do. Why? To avoid injury and overtraining and to learn proper lifting technique. Slow lifting can help with these issues. You learn how to focus on how to lift the weight, breathing technique appropriate to your fitness level, and putting pressure on the muscle so it will and the specific muscle targeted.
Slow lifting is particularly good for anyone who has joint issues that might be aggravated by a lot of repetitious movements, such as arthritis or bursitis.
Slow lifting is also of benefit for those with osteoporosis, thinning of the bone, because you are bearing more weight for longer, not just popping the weights up and down from one position to the next. In the same way that light weights encourage muscle fibers to strengthen so you can start lifting heavier weights over time, it also encourages stronger, healthier bone to form.
A third reason why slow lifting might be the smartest choice when you are first starting is to avoid injury by learning the proper form for each exercise you are attempting. Weight lifting injures are often caused by poor posture or improper handling of the weights, such as wobbling, jerking, or overextending and pulling a muscle or spraining a joint. Slow lifting gives you a great deal more control of the weight. Instead of trying to rattle off as many reps as possible, you are focusing on form and what some might say is the ‘perfect lift’ that will work deep into your muscles and give you the kind of results you’ve been looking for.
If you have never lifted before, start slowly to avoid injury. In this case, slow lifting may be perfect for you. Once you have mastered the form for your particular exercises in your workout routine, then you can lift at a natural count. Or, for the sake of varying your training routine, use a combination of slow and natural lifting.
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