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I'm working out at a nearby gym. I noticed that most of the people in there are avid to lift more weight but as they don't have the needed strength, they do it faster than they could do with less weight. Wouldn't it be a better idea to work out with less weight and do things more slowly?

  • The main thing is the muscle and mind connection. even if you have a lighter weight if you can focus on the muscle that you want to target and contract it. And proper form for safety. – Ker p pag May 15 '15 at 1:38
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It depends on what you want to achieve. Some lifts (like cleans, and snatches) can't be done slowly. Likewise, anything that's ballistic in nature or revolves around plyometrics will be fast.

On the flip side, whenever you get near your maximum weight in strength activities, it will go slow. If you can go fast, you'll be able to do more weight slowly.

All that being said, there are a few things in particular that can be a problem with moving weights quickly:

  • Not going through the full range of motion. The bench press is a great example where in power lifting competitions you need to "pause" at the bottom. From the IPF rulebook:

…the lifter must lower the bar to the chest or abdominal area (the bar shall not touch the belt), hold it motionless, after which the Chief referee will signal the audible command “Press”…

In something like the NFL combine where it's completely okay to "bounce" the weight off your chest, you're cheating a bit which in the case of what the NFL is looking for is okay, but if you want to train at maximum and demonstrate what you can truly lift, you can't bounce.

  • It can put excessive load on your joints. Pullups are a good example of this where if you rocket up and down over and over again, you are really loading up your tendons to stop you on the way down. The faster you come down, the harder the impact to slow you down.

Summed up, you get different results from different speeds and sometimes it's determined by the lift itself.

Wouldn't it be a better idea to work out with less weight and do things more slowly?

The only time I can imagine this making sense is for warmups, rehab, or when trying to focus on a particular aspect of form.

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