Recent research affirms prior studies showing the benefit of LOWERING the weight (ie - moving WITH gravity; eccentric loading):
In this multi-team study, the participants who emphasized the slow and controlled descent of the weight got all the benefits while doing half the work (and significantly less time).
As most experienced coaches will agree, there is a decided DECREASE in outcomes for gym enthusiasts who approach sets and reps with urgency and tension-avoidance. People begin doing quick reps and trying to quickly arrive at a certain rep count, which ends up supplanting the very stimulus which makes strength training make any sense at all.
I’ve observed tens of thousands of gym-goers; and I’ve trained thousands of clients. In every single case where a person was struggling with results, struggling with joint pain/deterioration, or struggling with muscle or bone density gain/maintenance, I witnessed them execute repetitions in a hurry. “Getting it over with” becomes this theme where the descent of the movement is quick and low effort/low muscular tension/low focus.
There is a place for speed training in competitive athletes and advanced enthusiasts. But among most of the populace, a lot more benefit can be gleaned simply by raising awareness, effort, tension, loading, and program emphasis on the eccentric portion (slowly and controllably moving WITH gravity) of the lift.
Slowly lower weight (moving with gravity) with high effort and control. Fewer reps. Less time. More results.
People get in shape in 9 minutes of exercise: https://www.elev8wellness.com/.../9-minutes-of-exercise...
People with average incomes become millionaires:
Not just theory. Not just potential. Not just “could” or “can.” We have real world examples. Not even circumstantial outliers. Just people who chose to be consistent. More importantly, they chose to start.
I have met many people over the years with the most beautiful and elaborate business plans. Gorgeous business plans. Business plans which they even crafted with the help of an Ivy League MBA or mini-MBA program or a premier consulting group. And then… they never launch.
I have met many more people over the years with the most beautiful and elaborate fitness plans. Gorgeous fitness plans. Fitness plans which they purchased from a trendy app or influencer online program, or even drafted with the help of a genuine professional. And then… they never launch.
Every wonderful success story you ever heard had a messy and imperfect start. But… it had a start.
Not after the holidays, on Monday, on the first of the year, when it’s convenient, when everything is lined up, when the time is right, when the beach trip is around the corner. Forget about motivation and inspiration. Forget about the perfect plan. Forget about the right equipment. Forget about the ideal tools, the optimal environment, the supreme season. Forget everything except this:
The language you say you want to learn.
The instrument you say you want to learn.
The step you say you want to take.
The healthy behavior you say you want.
The business you want to launch.
The person you want to support.
The endings we want contain beginnings we choose to avoid. The best start was 5, 10, 20 years ago. The second best is right now.
According to yet another study:
It can be difficult to balance productive pro-inflammatory cascades against anti-inflammatory cascades. Neither inflammation nor lack of inflammation is good or bad. They both must coexist in a give-and-take.
Lengthy periods of psychological distress or physical stress express too long of anti-inflammatory cascades. It’s well-documented that long bouts of either will damage people. We KNOW that lengthy exercise sessions RAISE risk of upper respiratory infections due to suppression of immune function: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2803113/.
That is, it’s TOO MUCH anti-inflammation. As such, chronic endurance exercisers can expect to have needlessly accelerated deterioration of long-term joint integrity and health prospects.
Again, this is why moderate or short duration exercise and intense strength training is superior to all other exercise modalities, and not by a small degree.
For persistent long-term use of anti-inflammatory drugs, we expect excessive wearing down of tissue. These findings may be surprising to people unfamiliar with how cell repair works. But growth, building, rebuilding, recovery, and healing are all inflammatory functions in biology and human health. Repair is INFLAMMATORY.
According to every single poll and data collection on the topic since 2010, average screen times globally are at or beyond 7 hours per day, and rising.
Somehow, despite that reality, the common question in the ether is, “how do you find the time to exercise?” Whut?! And really, you could replace the word “exercise” in that question with anything productive, and it wouldn’t get a single head to turn.
Why isn’t the opposite a more common question?
I had clients with zero equipment in-home absolutely skyrocket in their fitness during 2020 and 2021. The one guy had NO WEIGHTS all that time; and we still progressed his capability such that now (in person) he’s repping out 200lb squats and deadlifts. Pretty good for a guy in his 70s who’d had aortic valve replacement and quadruple bypass decades ago. Just tiny invested minutes of movement, targeted, with progressions, results in amazing outcomes.
We have to change the conversation on two fronts.
First, people only need to be consistent. They don’t need endless hours and piles of equipment. Frankly, the biggest fitness equipment and tracking tech junkies I know have some of the worst results.
Second, YOU DO HAVE TIME.
Most heart attacks occur in people with normal or low cholesterol: https://www.uclahealth.org/.../most-heart-attack-patients...
Cholesterol, like oxygen, is the body’s necessary defense against stressors. During peak stress, most people take more breaths. During peak stress, most livers shuttle more cholesterol into the bloodstream.
The difference, of course, is cellular function and life can exist in the total absence of oxygen. Anaerobic (oxygenless) energy and cell metabolism is a real thing. In fact, scientists insist that the origin of life on earth could have only started WITHOUT oxygen: https://www.nature.com/articles/nature06587.
Meanwhile, none of life can be explained without cholesterol. Every cell membrane requires it. Every brain function. Every heart beat. Every nerve twitch. If you have to repair more cell membranes and if you are subject to more metabolic demands, we’d hope and pray your body would produce more cholesterol to try to meet the demands, in EXACTLY the same way that we’d expect a stressed person to try to shuttle more oxygen through the body.
When people are panting, we don’t think we’ll help by taping their noses and mouths shut. We have them lie down. We ADD oxygen. When a person is getting hundreds of scabs all the time, we don’t put them on blood thinners to reduce the scabs. We try to get them to take fewer falls and injuries. But when an overstressed person is making more cholesterol, there is a tendency to only focus on that one symptom instead of the cause, the problem, or the risk.
A 21 day fast results in INCREASED blood cholesterol temporarily: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7569738/ . Why? We added a stressor. The body SHOULD respond by raising cholesterol. The role of cholesterol is to help you live. This is definitive. Eating dietary cholesterol doesn’t do anything with regard to cardiovascular disease risk: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/10/6/780. There is no mechanism in biology to turn dietary cholesterol into risk.
Removing all food RAISES blood cholesterol temporarily. Every one of the 38 trillion cells in a human body is made from cholesterol. You only have 4 million cells in your bloodstream. 38 trillion cells made of cholesterol versus 4 million cells in the bloodstream. Trillions versus millions. 200 pounds of body versus 10 pounds of blood. Pounds versus ounces.