When did the world get so FAST?
The demands of the 21st century environment leave us stranded in a perpetual rush hour.
We feel harried to achieve, an urgency to succeed, a pressing need to get everything done. So much to do, so little time to do it.
We want (or need) to cram as much as we can into our day and in order to achieve this end, everything has to be done at breakneck speed.
Now, we all know that faster doesn’t necessarily mean better. One of the greatest disadvantages of hurrying is that it takes such a long time.
Never has this been truer than when it comes to exercise.
A movement that is slowed down and performed correctly with excellent muscle activation and control FIVE times, is far more effective than a movement performed rapidly, but poorly, TWENTY times.
Why? After all, there is no doubting that the 20 reps burn more calories in the moment…
1. The body doesn’t improve its movement patterns and fails to make quality adaptations.
2. The person performing FIVE reps will eventually be able to perform TWENTY if they choose (but the TWENTY will have GOOD form and maximal benefit) GOOD slow can be sped up to GOOD fast.
3. The person focusing on muscle activation and control is far more likely to avoid short term injuries.
4. The slower moving individual is far less likely to experience long term joint problems. A muscle functioning correctly around the joint SUPPORTS the joint in movement. Poorly functioning muscles can contribute to ‘pulling’ a joint out of line. Knees, ankles and hips will thank you for doing it right!
I’ve got a confession to make. Even at Body Project, some of our workouts are demonstrated at a pace I believe is a little too fast when I watch it back.
The endorphins take over, you get pumped and overexcited, it happens to all of us.
Therefore, it is crucial when you are taking part in ANY exercise routine that you don’t try and keep up with the instructor for the sake of ‘hitting the beat’, don’t go as fast as possible to maximise your calories burned or, worst of all, copy others in order to ‘keep up with the class’. (y’all know how I feel about comparison).
1. Make sure you are performing the exercise correctly, with an engaged core and FULL muscular control. This is THE most important thing.
2. Don’t worry about the pace of the instructor or the participants in the class until you feel comfortable.
3. Your pace is your pace. This is the CORRECT pace. Not mine or anybody else’s.
4. Use the PAUSE button. If the duration of rest time is causing you to lose form and focus, take a longer break.
When it comes to exercise, faster is certainly not better.
Stay strong. Stay focused. Move excellently.