A Deep Dive into The Original Slow Motion Personal Strength Training Protocol

A Deep Dive into The Original Slow Motion Personal Strength Training Protocol

A Deep Dive into The Original Slow Motion Personal Strength Training Protocol 502 501 St. Louis, MO

Unless you are an exercise enthusiast, sticking to exercising can be a deep desire and really hard to do. You are not alone. Approximately 80% of Americans feel really challenged when aspiring to find and then stay with an exercise program. Also, and this will make complete sense to you, the exercise has to be effective – when you don’t get results, you feel terrible, sometimes hopeless, and for sure this feeds the tiny voice that’s telling you to ‘stop exercising’.


‘Traditional exercise’ has failed most people and crushed their aspiration to feel better and healthy.

By taking a deep dive into the original slow motion personal strength training protocol, we will give you the education and the inspiration to make a better choice… one that is doable and you can stick with it.

SuperSlow Zone® [SSZ] Personal Strength and Balance program is the original, codified, accredited, high-intensity, low force personal strengthening exercise protocol and system. We have evolved it based on the best science, technology, research, education and over 1 million exercise sessions globally.


It often sounds incredulous that SuperSlow Zone® exercise is performed only twice weekly for no more than 20 minutes per session.

Many exercise enthusiasts ask questions like: “How can 20 minutes twice a week do any good?”, “There is no exercise if you don’t sweat!” and “What about cardio?”


The Case for Exercising Twice a Week

The performance of only two weekly sessions is not simply a convenient luxury. If the activity really qualifies as exercise, we are talking about imposing a stimulus to the body that results in muscle growth. In order for the improvement to take place, the body must be allowed sufficient rest after this stimulus is applied. Increasing the frequency of the stimulus merely cripples the body’s ability to respond and adapt. For the best response by the body, it must be exposed to the exercise stimulus no more often than once every 72 hours.  With some individuals, even longer intervals should be observed, particularly as they become stronger and employ heavier resistance loads as a result.  The body’s adaptation to strength training occurs following said training under periods of less physical stress, not during the exercise.


20 Minutes Can’t Be Enough…Can It?

By the some token, limiting workouts to no more than 20 minutes is also not merely a matter of convenience. Doing more volume of exercise within an exercise session than what is minimally required to elicit the stimulus requires more recovery time; think ‘quality’ exercise versus ‘quantity’ of exercise.


Thus there is a greater likelihood of interfering with the rest, recovery and adaptation process before it is complete. In addition, as we get older, our ability to recover from any stimulus imposed upon our bodies takes progressively longer. If recovery is not complete before we exercise again, no adaptive response will occur. This does not mean optimal adaptive response—It means no adaptive response whatsoever will occur.  In fact, if overtraining (i.e., training again prior to complete recovery) is chronic, regression may well be the result—just the opposite of what we seek.



What About Cardio Exercise

The heart is an involuntary muscle that responds to the increased demands of the skeletal muscles. Thus, our only means of voluntarily exercising the heart—albeit an indirect means—is by working our skeletal muscles. The notion of cardioin the sense that we can isolate its involvement by some special activity for the heart is false.

The heart and lungs exist to support the activity of skeletal muscles.  What is conventionally regarded as cardiovascular exercise only works a limited portion of one’s muscle mass, that being what are known as “slow twitch” muscle fibers.  This musculature is more oriented toward endurance than strength and does not grow or strengthen to a significant degree as a result of exercise.  Conversely, progressive, low force, high intensity strength training stresses much more muscle mass, including the “fast twitch” fibers that become both stronger and larger as a result of properly performed movements.


Understanding How Strength Training Improves ‘Cardio’ [Heart & Lungs]

The major components of the cardiovascular system, the heart and the lungs, can be improved only to a limited degree. Increase in strength is usually responsible for what is perceived as cardiovascular improvement. The heart and lungs exist for the purpose of supporting or servicing the working skeletal muscles. As the muscles improve in their ability to do work more efficiently, there is less demand on the cardiovascular system. It’s analogous to installing an engine with a lot of horsepower in a lightweight automobile.  A BMW gets pretty decent fuel economy in spite of having a huge amount of horsepower, because its engine doesn’t have to work as hard to move the relatively lightweight vehicle.  In short, it has a good power to weight ratio, which is what you should strive to achieve.

If you desire the best cardiovascular exercise—and you should—then find the best way to train your skeletal muscles.


Stroke Volume and Heart Health from SSZ Personal Strength Training

SuperSlow Zone® is the best program for this because it produces the greatest stroke volume by the heart. The typical emphasis placed upon heart rate (or pulse) for cardiovascular conditioning—the basis of aerobics—is useless.


Stroke volume” refers to the volume of blood ejected per beat from the left or right ventricle and increases from approximately 1000 mL (2–2.5 mL/kg) at rest up to 1700 mL (3–4 mL/kg) or higher at maximal exercise. During SuperSlow Zone exercise, your heart typically beats faster so that more blood gets out to your body. This is due to the slow pace at which you are continuously lifting, moving, the weights which are set at a level in which you have to apply effort…not too light, so that it is ‘easy’ and not too heavy, so that you cannot move them. Thus your heart can safely increases its stroke volume by pumping more forcefully or increasing the amount of blood that fills the left ventricle before it pumps.


Stroke volume is improved through SuperSlow Zone® exercise and system because SSZ is far more efficient at maintaining continuous load upon the skeletal muscles. And this enhanced stroke volume results in enhanced proliferation and dilation of the coronary arteries—those vessels that feed the heart muscle.


This beneficial effect has been completely overlooked by the medical community for decades.  The effect on the body is that the cardio-respiratory system becomes conditioned for higher output in situations warranting limited duration bursts of heavy exertion.  This is what the human body is designed to do in lieu of long duration, moderate intensity work.  SSZ strength building provides the best of both worlds: increased power for short, rapid movements, and greater ease of maintaining sub-maximal levels of activity.


Why Failure = Success

A critical component of stimulating the desired improvements we seek from exercise is the achievement of momentary muscular failure in each exercise performed. What this means in practical terms is that you cannot push/move the weights any longer. As we often say, “The success of your exercise program is predicated on your achieving failure in each exercise.” Note that this failure is not to be regarded as a kind of personal failure. It should be viewed as a signal to the body that it needs to get stronger in order to meet the demands being placed upon it.


We use the term failure to pinpoint that exact instant when properly performed movement in an exercise becomes impossible – you cannot move the weights. If the resistance selected is appropriate in an exercise, then several correctly performed repetitions are possible although we are tracking your ‘time under load’ for each exercise. During these preliminary repetitions, the strength of the musculature is inroaded (gradually and momentarily weakened) to that depth where the muscle can no longer perform against the resistance. In so doing, the inroading crosses a threshold, thus stimulating a growth response. By going to failure we ensure the best probability that the desired growth stimulus is elicited.


Signal The Body To ‘Make More Muscle’

In laymen’s language: We ask our body to do something it cannot, at some point, continue to do; therefore it has been alerted to the need to get stronger. [It says: “I’m being asked to do something I cannot do; therefore I need to get stronger! Make more muscle.”]


Give Your Best Effort – Doable By Everyone

From the foregoing discussion, it becomes apparent that momentary failure involves 100% of one’s available effort.  You might ask if something less than 100% momentary effort would suffice to stimulate the strengthening response.  For example, let’s say that 94% is the threshold in a particular individual.  How would you gauge where that 94% effort occurred?  Don’t think about it for too long.  The answer is, you can’t.  Therefore, 100% momentary effort is required to ensure that you’ve achieved the goal in a given exercise. You just apply our best effort on each exercise.


Momentary Muscular Failure – Unknown to Most Exercisers

Many exercisers are unaware of the importance of momentary muscular failure. And without this understanding, they buy into the volume exercise philosophy—the belief that more is better when it comes to exercise.


In other words, it is normal to avoid the failure inherent in quality exercise and opt for quantity. The more-is-better approach works for a short while with novices, but it eventually leads to the prevention of progress due to excessive volume, as previously explained. Additionally—and even more importantly—this approach leads to injuries, either now or later.  Such injuries are usually a result of overuse due to repetitive stress on the joints.


It’s Not About Lifting Weights – The Assumed vs The Real Objective

Another related misunderstanding is the conflict between the assumed objective and the real objective of exercise. We are taught that the objective in strength training is to lift the weight (assumed objective). We may become obsessed with lifting as much weight as possible as many times as possible because this satisfies some emotional need we have to “prove” ourselves—to show an increase in the numbers on our workout chart. Conversely, other exercisers may intentionally use light weights and perform many many repetitions.


The real objective of exercise is to inroad the muscle’s strength and stimulate a growth mechanism by reaching a point where we can no longer lift the weight in proper form. This is the only message the body perceives which is that it can no longer exert effort [move the weight]. Thus, this is the mechanism to cause the body’s adaptive response, “Make more muscle.” The body does not appreciate whether or not we succeeded at moving the weights, let alone how much repetitions we may have completed.


Note that the assumed objective and the real objective are in conflict. The devotion and focus to the assumed objective (completing as many repetitions as possible) can lead to form discrepancies and panic resulting in injuries, poor record keeping and does not achieve the real objective of inroading the muscle’s strength (momentary muscular failure) such that the body adapts by making more muscle.

What’s more, the assumed objective—as well as the avoidance of momentary muscular failure—’fuels volume exercise notions—the more-is-better philosophy’. People do more exercise, in part, because they miss the point of the exercise altogether, i.e., the point is not merely to make the weights go up and down.


The Case for A 10 Seconds Lifting and 10 Seconds Lowering

Falling prey to the assumed objective of exercise can lead to a host of problems.  Attempting to complete as many repetitions with as heavy a weight as possible is a valid practice, but only within a limited perspective.  First, one must select a weight that allows a very deliberate tempo of movement: at least 10 seconds to lift, and 10 seconds to lower.  This we ensures that muscular effort is solely responsible for performing the movement without the aid of momentum.


Rapid movement of the weight takes advantage of inertia by “throwing” the weight, or altering form in the execution of an exercise to gather momentum, are both defeating the purpose.  Also, the very act of attempting to “launch” a weight from a starting position imposes a significant impact load on the joints, greatly increasing the likelihood of an injury.


Concerning weight selection, each exercise should result in achieving failure within a prescribed time frame.  Depending on the exercise, this generally falls within one to three minutes of time under load (TUL).  The capability to exceed maximum TUL indicates that an increase in weight is called for in subsequent workouts.


Obviously, with such a slowly paced repetition speed, lighter weight must be used than would be the case when performing in a momentum-aided fashion at higher speedsThus, you must understand that we are building strength, not demonstrating it.  Checking one’s ego at the door becomes imperative.  This is low force, high intensity work (not too light; not too heavy such that you cannot move the weight), brief exercise and it gets results while minimizing risk.


Inroad vs. Steady-State

Another great distraction to brief, quality exercise is the little-known confusion between steady-state theory and inroad theory. These are the two major concepts in exercise.  We have already touched on the inroad theory.

Most sapient beings who have ever lived on this planet have observed that they can either run as fast as possible and forfeit the ability to continue for more than one or two minutes or learn to pace themselves at a much lower intensity (such as by walking) and maintain the stamina to continue almost indefinitely.


So you have a choice: fast and short, or slow and long. Going as fast as possible and for a long duration is impossible.

The quasi-technical term for the slow-and-long approach is steady state. Typical steady-state activities are walking, jogging, running, cycling, swimming, dancing, and the like.

There are even more detrimental effects of steady-state activity than simply the depletion of the body’s recovery resources.  One concerns the body’s adaptation to exercise related to fat reduction, which may well be the most frequently stated goal of beginning an exercise program.

Another undesirable effect of steady-state activity results from what is termed the specific adaptation to imposed demand (SAID) principle.  You may have heard aerobic advocates speak of a “fat burning zone”—a level of effort, which is deemed recognizable via a particular heart rate range.  This is typically a light to moderate level of perceived exertion, which allows for long duration of performance.


While it may be true that a higher percentage of the calories consumed during exercise may be coming from the body’s fat stores than other fuel sources at this level of intensity, the number of calories used up during exercise is inconsequential anyway.

By performing high intensity strength exercise, more stored carbohydrate is consumed for fuel, and the total number of calories expended is higher (again somewhat negligible), but it’s the “afterburning” effect of the strength exercise that garners the results.  One’s metabolic rate stays elevated for a relatively lengthy period following strength training.  Steady-state activity lacks that feature.  Also, since the body senses that body fat is needed for steady-state work, guess what it tends to do?  If you guessed preserve its fat stores {Remember the SAID principle?}, you’re correct.  You don’t want that? I didn’t think so.


Easy Exercise is Useless – Don’t Delude Yourself with Volume Exercise

It should be obvious that a continuum runs from inactivity to slight effort, to moderate effort and finally to great effort. We believe that exercise benefits are proportional to effort. Less effort yields less benefit. More yields more. The term we use for this is the effort continuum.


With steady-state activity, there is no momentary muscular failure involved. Indeed, the degree of effort in such activities ranges from less to more on a continuum, but it never goes beyond a moderate degree since such activity goes well beyond a duration of two or three minutes.

There is no such thing as easy exercise. Unless activity is demanding (apply your best effort), it is practically worthless from an exercise perspective. If an activity is sufficiently demanding to take the targeted skeletal muscles to momentary failure within three minutes or less, then it qualifies as quality exercise. To produce positive physical change, the body must respond with a degree of effort never before experienced.


Many people are learning to exert sufficient effort in each exercise to reach the point of failure and thus increase their muscle and strength. Do not delude yourself by believing you can compensate by doing more volume of exercise. The benefit from volume training is, at best, moderate. With greater volume, the benefits decrease because the stimulus is poor and the body’s recovery resources are overtaxed.


Fat Reduction and How Muscle Helps This

Control of how you eat is by far the most critical component of body fat reduction.

However, when merely reducing caloric intake without working to at least maintain (and hopefully increase) muscle mass, the body adapts in a negative fashion.  Since muscle is metabolically expensive tissue to maintain, and fat is relatively inert (serving as an energy stockpile, to be used if one is in a final stage of starvation situation), the body would rather preserve its fat and “cannibalize” its muscle tissue, and this is precisely what it will do.


As a result, one’s fat to muscle ratio becomes elevated, with a consequent drop in basal metabolic rate.  Simply stated, muscle burns calories at rest at a much greater rate than fat, so the more muscle you possess, the more calories you burn at rest.  The lesson to be learned is that strength training is imperative when reducing calorie intake in order to spare your precious muscle tissue.


Women – Don’t Fear Muscle Size

This is geared toward the ladies perusing this.  Earlier, we mentioned muscle strength increase and growth in the same breath.  Many women fear getting larger muscles, and this is unfounded.


First of all, there are very few women who are hormonally equipped to build the amount of muscle mass that makes them look masculine.  Those who are exceptions generally are chemically enhancing themselves in order to do just that, through the use of anabolic steroids.


Second, your body has both subcutaneous and intramuscular fat, both of which can be substantially reduced through a combination of caloric intake reduction and proper strength training.  The beauty of this is that if you were to take a pound of fat and a pound of muscle, and place them side by side, the fat would take up seven times the volume of the muscle.  In other words, increasing muscle size may indeed decrease your dimensions rather than increase them.  Don’t worry about becoming “overly muscular”.  The more muscle you possess, the less “wasted space” your body will feature.


You might have gathered from the preceding information that muscle is heavier than fat.  In light of that, don’t let the scale be a guide as to how you’re progressing.  As long as your weight is lean body mass, it’s good to have.  Adding muscle will allow you to perform whatever activities in which you choose to engage more effortlessly, will add shape to your body, and condition you to stay fit.  How you look and how you feel are indisputably of paramount importance, aren’t they?  SuperSlow Zone exercise is your ticket to optimizing both.


Maximum MEASURABLE Results in Minimum Time

If exercise is performed properly as with SuperSlow Zone®, all benefits that can be reasonably expected from exercise are possible with minimum time devoted. What’s more, adding additional components such as traditional cardio only compromise those benefits. If you were to become a client of a SuperSlow Zone, our precise results-tracking technology ensures measurable results which are coupled with you ‘just feel and look good’.


About SuperSlow Zone – West Houston

Strength increases in subjects using the SuperSlow® training protocol showed that SuperSlow® training affected a 50% greater increase in strength as compared to the traditional speed training.

Wayne L. Westcott, Ph.D. (and others) Effects of Regular and Slow Speed Resistance Training on Muscle Strength, Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 2001, Vol 41, Iss 2. Pp 154-158


SuperSlow Zone® – West Houston is a distinctive medical and wellness exercise center. Our Personal Strength and Balance Program is the original, codified, accredited, high-intensity, low-force strengthening exercise protocol and system. Initially developed during a $3.2 million osteoporosis study in 1982 at the University of Florida School of Medicine, SuperSlow Zone evolved its system through the best science, research, technology and over 1 million exercise sessions globally. We enable very busy people and those with minor-to-major health challenges to achieve and sustain strength, health and vitality and to look and feel good at every age.


SuperSlow Zone ® is accredited by the prestigious IACET (http://www.iacet.org). IACET also accredits the American Physical Therapy Association, National Institute of Health, Centers for Disease Control, Duke University Medical Center, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Corporate University, GE Healthcare and many others. SSZ achieved and maintains this accreditation to ensure the highest standards of service and care for its clients.

www.sszwesthouston.com  (281) 302-5680