Fast Reps vs Slow Reps: Scientific Verdict

fast reps

IG: @mikethurston

Today we’ll talk about the speed of repetition in the set. We are sure that you have repeatedly heard conflicting tips about how fast it is necessary to perform repetition in the set, and the time spread is extremely large – from the fastest to the super slowest repetitions. So what to choose: fast reps vs slow reps?

Fast reps vs slow reps

The guys in glasses and white coats did a serious job, and in 2015, based on a meta-analysis, they made recommendations, but first about what they explored.

The duration of one repetition was from 0.5 to 8 seconds, i.e., from ultrafast to ultra-slow reps. Of course, we were reminded that for maximum muscle growth it is necessary to recruit the full range of muscle fibers during the exercise, which is easiest to do with a sufficiently large weight of weights at the level of 75-85% of the one-repetitive maximum and usually this corresponds to 6-8 repetitions.

slow reps
IG: @mikethurston

Now imagine the rivalry of fast reps vs slow reps: that in one case the repetition time is close to the classical one, i.e., about 2 sec., and in another 5 sec. It is clear that it will take different time to perform exercises with different amplitudes, for example, shrugs and squats.

Imagined? Excellent! So, to perform 8 repetitions at different speeds, you will have to use a different weight, and in one case it will be just about 80% of 1RM, which from the first repetition will recruit almost all muscle fibers, and in the second case, the weight will be about 50%. In order to hook (stimulate growth) all of the fibers, we will have to deal with increasing fatigue, endure pain, deplete the central nervous system, and at the exit, get exactly the same result.

What repetition pace to choose?

In short, it was concluded that for muscle hypertrophy, a different repetition duration could be used provided that the set is completed to failure and, of course, the importance of controlled projectile lowering was noted.

We draw your attention to the fact that in these studies, the contribution of various durations of the eccentric (lowering) and concentric (lifting) phases of movement was not considered. We recommend focusing on the classic speed of movement, i.e., about 2 seconds to one rep.

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