We know the benefits of strength training. It will restore muscle, increase bone density, improve balance, decreasing the likelihood of falls and promote weight loss and cardiovascular fitness. But the conventional strength training requires several hours a week and frequently causes injury.
New, better way: Slow Burn, in which the weights are lifted and lowered with incredible slowness about 10 seconds up and 10 seconds down. The benefits…
• It’s safer
Slow lifting reduces injury-causing stress on ligaments, tendons and joints. This means that even the elderly can do it safely.
• It’s more effective
Without the aid of momentum, more muscle fibers are exercised.
• It’s more efficient
You can get a complete workout in about 30 minutes each week compared with at least three hours for conventional lifting.
How to do it
In a Slow Burn workout, you complete a set of three to six repetitions of each exercise in 60 to 90 seconds. If you perform 10 exercises, you can complete your workout in approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Two workouts a week are all you need.
To obtain the best results, raise and lower weights at the rate of about one inch per second. Allow a total of about 100 seconds for all repetitions of each exercise push-ups, leg curls, etc. Breathe normally
Use a metronome to maintain the one-inch-per-second rhythm.
Repeat each exercise until the muscles are fatigued and you can’t do another repetition in perfect form. If you pass the 90-second point and feel as though you could keep going, the weights are too light. If you cannot complete three repetitions in 90 seconds, the weights are too heavy. Experiment to find the right weight.
The following program stimulates all muscle groups. Do three to six repetitions of each exercise. For exercises that require switching arms or legs, do three to six repetitions with each arm or leg. You will need adjustable hand and ankle weights. Look for sets that adjust from one to 20 pounds.
Kneel on a towel with both your hands flat on the floor in front of you, shoulder-width apart. Keep your back straight don’t let it sway or arch.
Take three seconds to lower yourself the first inch and at least seven seconds to lower yourself all the way, until your forehead almost touches the floor. Without resting at the bottom, reverse direction. Don’t lock your elbows at the top. Just as soon as your arms are almost straight, reverse and go back down. If kneeling push-ups are too easy, do the regular push-ups, with your toes on the floor.
• Doorknob squats
Open a door halfway so that you can grip both knobs. Place a stool or chair about two feet from the edge of the door. Stand arms’ length away from the door. Then, lightly grasp the knobs for balance, and slowly bend your knees and lower your body as though you were sitting down. Take three seconds to lower yourself the first inch and seven seconds to go all the way down, until your bottom just touches the stool. Then reverse and rise back up. Be careful not to pull yourself up with your arms use the muscles of your buttocks and thighs.
• Side-lying leg lifts
Try this exercise without ankle weights at first. If it’s too easy, start with five-pound weights. Lie on your left side with your head propped on your left hand. Bend your left leg slightly so that your right leg rests on top of the calf. Slowly raise your right leg up toward the ceiling, moving from the hip. Take three seconds to move it the first inch and seven seconds to raise it all the way. Pause at the top, tightly squeeze the hip and buttock muscles for a few seconds, and then slowly lower the leg back down. Repeat with the other leg.
• Single-leg curls
Attach one five-pound weight to your right ankle. The weight may be too light, but it’s a good place to start. Lean forward and put both hands on a stool or chair keeping your right knee slightly bent and spine straight.
Curl your right leg so that the heel nears your bottom. Take three seconds to curl the leg the first inch and seven seconds to curl it the rest of the way. Pause at the top, squeeze the muscles in the back of your thigh, and then slowly reverse direction. Repeat with the other leg.
• Side shoulder raise and overhead press
This movement combines two exercises. Start with five-pound dumbbells. With a dumbbell in each hand, sit on a chair with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor. Slowly raise the weights away from both of your sides, taking three seconds to move them the first inch and seven seconds to raise them until they’re parallel to the floor. Pause at the top for a few seconds, and then slowly lower the weights.
Without resting, move to the second phase of the exercise. Elbows bent, hold the weights at shoulder height, then slowly raise ‘them overhead, taking three seconds to move them the first inch and seven seconds to go all the way up. Pause for a second, and then gradually lower the weights until they’re back at shoulder height. Do not lock your elbows at the top. Let your muscles support the weights.
• Single-arm back pull-ups
You need a stool or chair and a six- to eight-pound dumbbell. Hold the dumbbell in your right hand and then face the stool with your left leg forward and support yourself with your left hand on the stool. Let your right arm hang beside the stool.
Slowly pull the dumbbell back and upward, taking three seconds to move it the first inch and seven seconds to raise it all the way. Your right elbow will be facing up and behind you. Pause at the top, squeeze the arm and back muscles for a few seconds, then lower the weight back down. Don’t let your arm hang down at the end of the movement. Keep tension on the muscles all the time. Repeat with the other arm.
• Biceps curls
Sit on a stool or straight-back chair with a five-pound dumbbell in each hand. Tuck your elbows into your sides, and keep them there throughout the exercise. The only thing that should move is your lower arm.
Curl the dumbbells toward your shoulders, taking just three seconds to move them the first inch and seven seconds to curl them all the way. Squeeze the muscles in the forearms and upper arms for a few seconds at the top of the movement, and then slowly lower the weights back down.
• Shoulder shrugs
Sit on a stool or straight-back chair with a 10-pound dumbbell in each hand. Let your arms hang down away I from your hips, with the elbows ‘ slightly bent.
Then, rise up the tops of your ‘shoulders as though you’re trying to touch them to your earlobes. Sit up straight. Don’t slouch forward or backward. Take three seconds to move your shoulders the first inch and seven seconds to raise them as far as they’ll go. Pause at the top to squeeze the muscles in your shoulders, and then lower them back down.
• Abdominal crunches
Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent at a 90° angle. Tuck a rolled towel under your lower back, hold your arms straight in front of you and keep your chin tucked into your chest. Curl your torso upward and forward, taking three seconds to move the first inch and seven seconds to move forward. Do not try to sit all the way up. Keep your lower back in contact with the towel. Pause and squeeze abdominal muscles at the top of the movement, then slowly lower your torso down. Don’t rest your shoulders on the floor at the end. As soon as they brush the floor, repeat the exercise.