The key to more size and strength is simple: provide the stimulus needed to grow. That’s why we’re in the gym, doing our lifts, staying consistent and adding weight as often as possible. But instead of constantly cranking your body with pound after pound of iron, try a different kind of stimulus that blasts your muscles without putting more stress on your joints and bones.
How? Simple. Mimic a busy elevator that stops on every floor going down. By pausing every few inches on the decent of every move you do in this free weight workout, lean muscle gains will follow.
How It Works
When you pause every few inches as you lower the weight, you significantly increase the time under tension (TUT) of each exercise, which stimulates more muscle growth. In fact, Canadian researchers found that longer TUT created a longer-term improvement in muscle protein synthesis than with normal tempos. Thus, expect more soreness immediately after your workout (and get ready to reap the benefits afterward).
The eccentric portion of an exercise is also when the muscle is at its strongest. Thus, by slowing down your tempo while using heavy weights, you can overload your muscles and get more benefits from your exercise. Researchers from the University of British Columbia found that eccentric training led to better improvements in size and strength over traditional methods.
Finally, by using this elevator technique, you’ll strengthen and grow your slow-twitch muscle fibers, which often get overlooked with pure strength training because exercises are typically maximal and explosive. Targeting your slow-twitch fibers (also known as “Type I” fibers) will improve your overall muscular endurance because you’ll have better blood flow to your muscles, more mitochondria to provide energy and better lactate removal during exercise, not to mention better overall muscle density.
Taken together, all of this amounts to greater overall fitness, more muscle and more strength.
Do this workout once per week. Hold each pause for two seconds (not for 0.02 seconds). Yes…it sucks. But if you follow the program, you’ll notice a sicker pump post workout and more growth in no time.
Slow things down a bit with this once weekly workout to increase total muscular time under tension. Each exercise, unless noted, is to be performed “elevator” style with a slow descent and incremental pauses on each prescribed repetition. Have a training partner present to help spot you through the positive portion of each rep.