T Nation

Doing More Fast Reps or Less Slow Reps

I can see why you think I missed @T3hPwnisher’s main point. I agree that the major issues of program selection, proper nutrition, and effective recovery overshadow the particulars like rep speed. However, the sum of my knowledge, based on experience, observation, and research, leads me to disagree with the statement that rep speed is inconsequential.

Occassionally, some of those small details have disproportionately large effects. It appears rep speed, specifically slow, burn-the-muscles-to-pieces negatives are one of those hidden outliers with disproportionate effects.

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But I did not make that statement. There were several more sentences to what I wrote.

Of course the person who does Mass made Simple will have greater gains, but your example doesn’t address the OP’s question.

A more on-point example would compare a lifter doing 3 x 15 overhead press with explosive speed versus doing 3 x 6-8 OHP with slow concentric then 5-second eccentric speed. For muscle growth, the OP’s desired outcome, the slow negative rep style may be more effective.

But the research says your arguement is incorrect, and rep speed does affect the degree of growth hormone released.

Absent of him posting a routine I feel it very much DOES answer the question. Once posted, the discussion becomes more productive.

And what is the quantifiable impact on muscle growth from this on a single set?

Ah, but you DID make that statement :grin:

I understand you’re telling the OP to major in the majors, and that rep speed is a minor issue, ergo no need to spin his wheels about it right now.

My point is, when the large issues are addressed, some of the seemingly smaller issues have greater effects than is commonly understood. Rep speed is one of those factors.

This question is dumb and even if there is a ‘correct’ answer considering it was an A or B multiple choice, it doesn’t matter. By asking this question you are better off finding a good book on the basic principles of weight lifting and dieting, not focusing on A/B testing on the minutiae of said lifting.

Now in search of an answer to a meaningless question you’re going to have people now arguing back and forth over who is ‘right’ by creating a derivative point to help feed their narrative to be ‘right’ in a baseless debate that will not answer your question. In fact answering your question isn’t even their motive, proving their position to be right and someone else wrong is. And now reading through all of it you will only enforce your incorrect belief that this kind of stuff is important to building muscle. It’s not.


Yes, in the context of a paragraph. This is disingenuous man.

If we knew his routine, you’re right, this discussion would be more fruitful. His question was about a specific technique, but it appears you believe we don’t have enough information to accurately assess whether that one technique is of any consequence to the OP’s desired outcome.

I read the article last winter and ran it by a physical therapist I was going to. The one detail I remember from the article was that slow negatives, measured as at least 3-second eccentrics, produce “up to 17 times the growth hormone release” as the same exercise done with fast eccentrics. If memory serves, they were assessing trained individuals and having the lifters do the same lifts with different speeds. I don’t recall whether it addressed exercise selection, muscle groups, muscle fiber types, etc. The takeaway I had was science in this case backs up experience. And of course, it’s easy to infer that compound exercises will release more GH than single-joint exercises, because they do anyways.


What is the quantifiable impact on muscle growth with a 17x growth hormone response on a single set?

I didn’t mean to seem disingenuous. I apologize for giving you that impression.

I responded because 1) I’m interested in this subject and 2) your answer didn’t address the OP’s question. Instead of answering the original question, you said there are larger issues at hand that make the subject of his query inconsequential, and then wrote a paragraph explaining why you believe it’s of no consequence. In response, I disagreed with your assessment and gave my reasoning.

I apologize if you feel this is the case. I feel otherwise on the matter.

If you look up Bodybuilder Working out in youtube you get this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVC3i9fU7xk&t=53s which shows a bodybuilder doing reps fast not slow. He obviously is doing it right if you look at him.

“Reasonable minds may differ.”

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They’ve done some studies in the actual practical application of this. Quite interesting studies; they had folks doing big lifts like squats to raise their growth hormone way above baseline, then had them train just one arm. They trained the other on a separate occasion when they didn’t have the growth hormone spike.

No difference in size gains between the two arms. There’s a few studies like that suggesting the transient increase/decrease in hormones caused by workouts really doesn’t matter all that much.

So a big jump in GH like that shouldn’t have you creaming your pants.

As for rep speed: isn’t it pretty intuitive? Explode up, lower under control. Up fast, down slow.


Interesting. Ive not read those studies, but I wonder if that holds true if a lifter focuses on slow negatives for several sets every workout over the course of a two or three month period.

Generally so, yep. Whether down super slow has exponential effects on mass is the question. One way to interpret this is by viewing extra-slow eccentrics as an increase in TUT.

Dude, rep tempo has been studied to absolute death.

There’s nothing special about super slow eccentrics.


Yes, I know. But the GH release from slow negatives was news to me when I learned about it a year ago, and I found it relevant to the OP’s question now.

Evidently, not everyone is completely informed about rep tempo’s effects, otherwise the OP wouldn’t have posted.

Jesus Christ, it doesn’t do anything. Just move on

I’m interested in the topic, I’m answering the OP’s question, I’ve read relevant research, we’re on a forum dedicated to talking about training, and you keep replying to me, yet you tell me to “move on.”

But the effect is of minimal consequence here.

Rep speeds are helpful when it comes to thinks like focusing on power generation, but this GH increase has minimal actual tangible benefit.

The question to ask in these situations is this: if the effect is well known (via this study) and there are people who base their livelihood off of their ability to be big (bodybuilders), why isn’t it a universally practiced approach?

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