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Do Slow Reps Build Strength As Well As Normal-Speed Reps?

Some authors like Mcrobert greatly emphasize poundage progression on basics movements and even settle minimum standards like the famous 300-400-500 on the big three. Do you think it’s possible to reach those numbers training Darden style with slow reps or even using the 30-10-30 technique? It’s really necessary to handle heavy weights if hypetrophy is the main goal?

You’re conflating strength with Hypertrophy. You can build muscle through methods that aren’t great for building strength and Vice versa. Slow reps are never going to lead to the same strength outcomes as faster reps when it comes to putting up raw poundages. When I did 30-10-30, I could only manage 135 on Bench with those two slow negatives, but right now I’m benching 245 for 10+reps at a normal cadence of about .5-1 second up, 1-2 seconds down. It’s just a whole different ballgame.

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Yes but commonly you have to get stronger to get bigger, that means fast reps are superior to slow reps because you get stronger faster. But I also read some people got stronger, sometimes way stronger but without getting significantly bigger. I’m a bit confused and honestly don’t know what rep tempo should I use, I don’t want to bust my butt to push or pull heavy weights putting my sanity at risk without getting paid for my efforts. I’m mainly interested in size, don’t care about strength per se.

Well I didn’t really gain size or strength with 30-10-30. I may have even backslid a bit. I thought the program was fun, but I didn’t really progress like I hoped. Maybe a month isn’t long enough, but I’ve seen much better results with different programs in that amount of time. If you favor Ellington Darden programs, his “Do the Opposite” Routine from “The New HIT” is one that I got Good results from. Your mileage will vary, but that’s my experience.

Anything you do to build bigger muscles will likely make you generally stronger, and that should show up as improved numbers in the bench, squat, and deadlift. But if your objective is to maximize your performance in those lifts, then a hypertrophy program would not be the best approach. At some point, you will have to train those specific lifts, and train them with heavy weights, low reps, and a normal (competition) lifting cadence.

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There are a lot, like the vast majority, of body builders (both natty and enhanced) who got very big and very strong using moderate rep tempos.

It would be really hard to say any one technique or style is superior to another without consideration for purpose.

Higher volume lifting produces larger muscles.

Higher speed lifting produces stronger lifts.

Plenty of systems combine both.

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Ok so I think I’ll go for Darden advice. The fact is that training like a powerlifter always using the same program to maximize poundages in the big three is boring as hell. I also read an article here on Tnation of Tumminello talking about that 5 Lies About Lifting Weights | T NATION

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Ken Leistner for example used a pretty fast cadence with his clients. Anyway I’ll follow Darden advice for now, using the 4/4 cadence a use lower weights but I always get a good pump, I feel like I really worked the muscle and I like that.

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Check out the results from this study. They made dudes squat with a high, medium, slow or very slow rep speed for 45 workouts. They tested results every 15 workouts.


Fast lifting had the fastest results at first, but gains slowed down quickly. Medium speed allowed for steady gains for longer. But the dudes who did some work at each speed got the best results.

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