T Nation

Lifting Fast vs Slow and Waterbury


This article I just read kind of blew my mind w everything Waterbury has been pushing for awhile. While I think the truth lies in the middle Or how you practice it… still a bit confused.


what about it is confusing for you?


You usually hear from them that you want to “explode” / lift as fast as possible during a lift to recruit the most amount of muscle fibers and stimulate growth. Chad and Thibs usually advocate this, as well as stopping your set when this speed falters significantly. This article posted is saying you should lift slowly to build 3x the muscle


Did you read the whole thing and what is confusing?

Neither CT or Chad wrote that article, By the way


You should maintain the intention to explode/lift as fast as possible regardless of bar speed on the concentric. Lowering the bar under control usually takes 2-3 secs. Nothing new here.

Only on compound exercises. The rationale is once you reach technical breakdown, the target muscle gets taken over by secondary muscles. The exercise used in the study was the preacher curl. Go read the study.


Never said they did


Yes, you did.

TC wrote the article. His ideas are his own. No reflection of CT or Chad. Completely irrelevant of their thoughts.

Again, did you read the article.


Please tell me where I said they wrote the article? I’m always amazed when people are just ass holes for no reason. All I said was it was counter to what two major contributors to this site have preached for a long time, not that they were being hipicrites and/or wrote the article (or wrong). And yes, I read the article, why else would I take the time to post about it?

Regardless of compound movements vs single joint, they say be explosive. I appreciate the thought from the other poster about itention and that makes some sense.


Slow rep speed for muscle building has been around since the advent of bodybuilding. My take on this study was that the research backs (surprise, surprise) what a lot of folks suspected for decades. Does it mean you must do slow reps in your training programme from today until they bury you? Obviously not, as no training mode works continually, just as not every method suits your goals, e.g. training for explosiveness. IMO this type of method has its place in typical isolation movements, e.g. bicep curls, where the muscle can take the intensity on a high frequency basis, and is less draining to the nervous system than something like slow descent squatting. Just my thoughts.


I don’t recall ever reading a CT article where he talks about approaching single-joint/isolation exercises in the same way he approaches compound movements.

Can you point out the article/where he wrote that?


The study defines “slow” as lifting in 1 sec and lowering in 3 secs(TUT=4secs). By this definition, everyone repping their 8RM to failure with a controlled negative and with explosive intent on positive is lifting slowly.


It’s just a tip, not an entire training philosophy.

Along the lines of “everything works, until it doesn’t.”.


It’s the basis of “Huge in a Hurry”, you can also find on his website.

“Now, if we take momentum out of the equation and focus on traditional strength exercises with free weights and cables, it’s usually better to perform the concentric phase as explosively as possible. This philosophy forms the foundation of the programs in my book, Huge in a Hurry.”

"Forget lifting moderate weights slowly for lots and lots of sets and reps. The best way to get huge in a hurry is to use heavy weights and lift them quickly for fewer repetitions. "

From the Tnation website - Bicep curls specifically:

“Waterbury: Right. So if you do those curls slowly – a 2-1-1 tempo, something like that – you might recruit half your muscle fibers. But if you curl it up explosively, you’ll hit 'em all.”

I’m not trying to over think any of this, I was merely pointing out this article struck me as surprising. As someone who has been using Waterbury and Thibs programs for years and avid reader of the site, I thought it was worth starting a discussion.


Sometimes I think the reason squats are so effective is because a low negative on the way down and explosive effort on the way up is a very natural way to go. I also like doing push presses to get the bar higher than I could with a press and then doing a negative shoulder press.