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.