When I’m teaching a new client how to lift a weight and perform proper repetitions (reps) within a set, I like to break it down into three parts. Most new trainees don’t think too much about lowering the weight (eccentric weight training speed) or slowing it down before changing direction and raising the weight. Most of their efforts are spent trying to raise the weight. Afterward, they just let the weight fall without control before raising it again. I have found that many weight-training injuries occur at the transformation point of lowering to raising the weight.
When lifting weights (and that includes your body weight, as well) for the goal of increased muscular strength, endurance, and hypertrophy; breaking down a rep into three parts can prevent injury and produce better results.
The three parts to a safe rep are:
- Eccentric Speed: Lower the weight relatively slowly. I like to start clients out with a five-second eccentric or lowering speed. By lowering the weight slowly, you are in more control and can decelerate the weight safely at the transformation point to pause and change direction to then lift the weight.
- Transformation Pause: This is the point where the injury is most likely to take place if the weight is being lowered out of control and you have to quickly change direction with it. Make sure you are in control of the weight to slow down and pause for a second before changing direction.
- Concentric Speed: You can raise the weight a little faster than you lower the weight. I like to start clients out with a three-second concentric speed when raising the weight. But be careful not to go too fast because there is also a point of transformation when it’s time to lower the weight.
If you are relatively new to resistance training or just want to be smart about how you lift weights, follow the guidelines above. Building your body up and staying injury-free should go hand-in-hand. Don’t take risks in the gym. Try my three-part rep technique and let me know if it works for you.
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Best – Mike Cola Health and Fitness Coach