Regardless of your body type, muscle gains can be made with hard work and proper nutrition. In fact, one of the protein powders we recommend is True Protein. If you want to see the best results, consider consulting a strength coach or physical therapist to design an effective training plan for your individual needs.
Slow weight lifting allows you to increase the time your muscles are under tension, which leads to greater muscle development and strength.
1. Increased Strength
The physical strength gained by building muscle helps you to perform daily activities. Walking up and down stairs, carrying groceries, throwing a grandchild into the air — all of these things become easier when you’re strong enough to do them.
To build muscle, you need to challenge the muscles with the right amount of weight. For each exercise, choose a weight that tires the targeted muscle or muscles by the last two repetitions while still allowing you to maintain proper form.
While genetics play a role in your ability to put on muscle, almost anyone can increase their muscle mass with hard training and a healthy diet. However, it is important to avoid injury by avoiding excessive aches and pains. If you experience sharp or persistent pain, talk to your doctor. They may recommend a physical therapist or muscle specialist.
2. Increased Flexibility
Stretching is an important part of any workout, and bodybuilding is no exception. It’s a great way to increase flexibility and help prevent injuries. Ideally, you should do a few minutes of stretching before your workout to warm up the muscles. However, it’s also important to remember that overstretching can actually cause muscle damage. This is because it can weaken the ligaments and tendons by stretching them past their normal, comfortable range of motion.
It’s also important to perform static stretches after your workout. This helps reduce lactic acid buildup in the muscles, which leads to reduced soreness and faster recovery. Ideally, you should perform a few minutes of stretching for each muscle group two times per week. This should include a dynamic warm-up and a few minutes of static stretching.
3. Improved Balance and Coordination
Building muscle slow can help improve your balance and coordination, which may also help reduce your risk of injury. Having good balance and coordination can prevent you from falling down, slipping on an unseen ice patch, or stepping off a curb the wrong way.
In one study, participants who lifted weights at a super-slow tempo (about 5 seconds concentric and 14 seconds eccentric) saw the same muscle-building benefits as those who raised and lowered the weight in a faster manner. This is because the slower tempo allows you to spend more time generating force against resistance, which improves your strength. In addition, slow lifting helps you train your muscles to resist the forces of gravity more effectively, which can boost your muscle size. This can be especially helpful for beginners who want to avoid injuries.
4. Improved Mental Strength
It’s no secret that building muscle is good for your body, but it also improves your mental health. Exercise and strength training in particular have been shown to alleviate low mood, loss of interest and feelings of worthlessness.
The reason is that physical activity and strength training stimulate the release of what are known as brain-derived neurotrophic factors, which help to reduce symptoms of depression. They also help to relieve stress and anxiety, which can also have an adverse effect on your mental health.
While mental toughness may come naturally to some people, you can train your mind to be more resilient by using various self care ideas and lifelong mindset tools. For example, mindful walking (opens in new tab) and meditation practices are great ways to train your mental strength. By doing so, you can feel energized and confident even during difficult times.
5. Reduced Risk of Injury
It takes time for the muscles, tendons and ligaments to become stronger. Pushing the body too hard and too fast causes injury.
Injuries can be prevented by not over-training a muscle group, using proper lifting techniques and by avoiding momentum. Also by resting a muscle group between workouts, not trying to work a muscle group when it is overtired or inflamed and eating a diet that provides adequate protein, fat, carbohydrates and vitamins and minerals.
Warming up with light to moderate intensity exercise and dynamic stretching before your training sessions can prevent injuries. Also, by starting at a low level of weight and gradually increasing it. It’s important to get an assessment and a program written for your specific needs by a registered fitness professional, gym instructor or exercise physiologist. This will ensure you have the right equipment and are working safely.
6. Increased Endurance
Training for endurance — or more specifically, increasing your ability to complete high-volume sets of low-weight exercises — is an effective way to increase muscle size and build overall strength. During an endurance-focused workout, you should limit rest between sets to keep your muscles under tension for longer periods of time.
Training to failure is an effective way to train endurance, as it allows your muscles to experience micro-tears in the muscle tissue. This causes your muscles to grow back bigger (hypertrophy).
Adding plyometric exercises such as jump rope and jumping knee tucks to your training routine can also help improve muscular endurance, particularly in the lower body and core. Varying your training methods can help prevent the dreaded exercise plateau, too. This can include changing the number of reps or the weight used. It can also involve including different exercises, or even just varying the order of your routine.
7. Reduced Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
A study published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that participants who regularly engaged in moderate strength training had a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes by 32 percent. The study’s researchers believe this is due to the fact that exercise stimulates muscles (which like to be fed glucose) and increases the amount of insulin receptors in muscle cells. Insulin fits into these receptors, just like a key fits into a lock, and sugar passes through.
When we hear the word “strength training,” it can conjure images of bodybuilders lifting heavy weights, but there are plenty of other exercises that qualify as strength training. Any exercise that involves moving your body against resistance is considered strength training, from workouts with stretchy elastic bands to free weights such as dumbbells and barbells to calisthenics such as pushups and situps.
8. Increased Self-Esteem
In addition to improving your strength and health, building muscle can also improve your self-esteem. This is because muscle helps to tone and firm the body, making it look healthier and more attractive. In fact, more and more women are starting to lift weights and embracing the benefits of strength training. They are no longer afraid of getting “bulky” from resistance training, and they are recognizing the many positive effects that it can have on their body image.
However, it’s important to note that your ability to put on and maintain muscle mass can be affected by a number of factors, including genetics, diet, type of workouts, hormones, age and even gender. So, if you’re looking to build muscle, it’s important to be patient and keep working at it. The results will come over time! Here are some helpful tips for maximizing your muscle-building potential.
9. Increased Self-Confidence
Many women are afraid to add muscle because they don’t want to gain any body fat, and that is a valid concern. However, trying to control muscle growth so much that you end up with no fat gains isn’t very productive and can actually sabotage your muscle-building efforts.
Aside from getting stronger, the most awesome thing about building muscle is that you become more confident and feel great about yourself as a result of your physical transformation. Whether it’s slipping into a new pair of jeans, hitting a PR on the deadlift or squat, or doing 10 real pushups in a row, these physical accomplishments supercharge your self-confidence in ways that can help you achieve other goals in life, both physically and mentally. This is one of the best reasons to build muscle slowly. It’s a long-term investment in your physical and mental strength.