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Reps: Slow Controlled or Fast Controlled?


Hi, im curious on how to prefrom exercises, iv always been told to do reps slow and controled with proper from, but most BB guys do them fast (high intensity) but also controled. For exampel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAgYMi6u-Gg

can anyone explain the difference in doing them fast to doing them slow


Damn Branch was throwing around 3 plates like it was nothing.

Read some of Thib's stuff for the reasoning behind explosive reps.

My question back to you is; why the "or"?


Slower more focus on isolation stuff for me, everything else fast.


In my opinion, for bodybuilding, the weight should go up and go down at the same speed.. what that speed is will be determined by what exercise you're doing. Obviously the speed of a back squat will be different from the speed of a preacher curl... and can change from the start of a set to the finish, but "control" (for me) means the positive and negative parts of a rep take the same amount of time.

It also needs to be said that I am not advocating using light weights or going super slow just to achieve this affect or anything like that... nor am I advocating flinging weights up and then dropping them down as though that is effective... NOR am I advocating ANY of that "tempo" bullshit that used to be really popular in the articles here.

I see guys all the time that are grinding up super slow reps with a heavy weight, and then letting the negative just flop back down. Or you see guys fling up a weight with momentum, and then lower it as slowly as possible. Neither one of them is building much muscle.

Watch the video above, or any video of professional bodybuilders training. Up, down, up, down, 1 count, 1 count, 1 count, etc... they don't let reps drop off. They train in a controlled, rhythmic way, 99% of the time.


Some exercises you should take an explosive concentric approach, however still be mindful of form. If you can't be explosive with good form, then you are using too much weight IMO. Raise the weight fast and controlled, lower it controlled but a little more slowly.

As stated, Thibs has some cool knowledge on the matter.

Some exercises you just don't want to do explosively. Many of which are isolation movements, but really depends why you are doing that exercise. If it's just for pump, then obviously get a tempo going and squeeze the shit out of the target muscle.


This is all true, and I absolutely do not disagree.

However, assuming you can't bench 315 with slow and controlled reps like this yet, one should probably utilize explosive and controlled techniques to getting bigger and stronger... IMO.


Often it depends on weaknesses.

If you find it hard to target certain muscle groups, it usually benefits them more to have more control, slow down the lift somewhat.


Both have their place. With slower movements, and more focus on TUT, the more resistant (Higher Threshold) muscle fibers will not come into play until you are approaching the fatigue induced end of a set. Alternatively, when employing explosive concentric contractions, due to the higher perceived stress on the muscles, the more resistant fibers will be called upon much closer to the onset.

As these fibers are the ones most prone to hypertrophy, this is why you hear about BBers lifting heavy weights for lower reps (calling the HT Fibers into play much sooner) or working explosively (again, attempting to call the HT Fibers into play ASAP).

Yes, you can stimulate some growth via metabolic mechanisms with lighter weight for higher reps, but I assume that's not the point of this discussion :slight_smile:



Dorian Yates would probably disagree, he loved those slow negatives


What Dorian usually did, based on what I've seen in his old training videos, was try to push the concentric portion as fast as he could but hold the contraction, then let it down slowly. From rep up to rep down, it was still took about the same amount of time. But yeah, he did do things a little differently.

However, one guy doing it that way doesn't exactly negate the fact that 99% of bodybuilders do it the way I mentioned.


I'm very much a fan of slower negatives and explosive concentrics. My negatives are usually slow enough that people working out around me will frequently comment on it and generally, the heavier the weight, the slower the negative. It just makes sense to me to do it that way.


^for me it depends on the exercise. For squats and leg press I like to to a slow negative and explode up, but for deadlifts, barbell rows, pullup variations I prefer a faster negative, more of a 1 to 1 ratio.