Should You Lift The Weight Super Slow Or Super Fast?

Originally posted by Me on zen habits:
“[…]All sports are performed fast, strength training is the same thing. You should lift as fast as possible. You don’t hold back when hitting a ball, neither should you when moving a barbell. “

Reply of a zen habits reader:
“[…]Slow lifting is one of the best techniques you can do for strength training. By doing it fast, you would actually create a momentum on the weight which then reduces the weight which THEN you don’t really lift the weight correctly. […]”

My Reply

“[…]Fast lifting indeed creates momentum and this will allow you to move more weight. More weight = more strength = better physique. Again, all sports are performed fast because it allows more power, more speed, more acceleration. Same with strength training.”

Reply of another zen habits reader:

“[…]I can understand the logic but there are other factors involved – one is your joints. By moving too fast you risk damaging cartilage and bones.

The slower the moves, the more control is needed and thereby more “stress” is induced in the muscle fibers without the risk of out-and-out tearing of fiber. Stress your muscles and they’ll grow. Rip em and they hurt like hell. Healing time is not workout time.

I would recommend that you “feel” your push/pull-stroke like a spring er…..springing but slow it RIGHT down on the return journey. It works a treat for me. If the “fast” method works for you, go for it (don’t forget your good form) and happy physique building, mate.”

Slow Lifting or Fast Lifting?
. I don’t like arguing with people. I’ll advise you to lift fast once, I’ll advise you to lift fast twice. If you’re not open minded, do what you think is best.

I was a slow lifter back in my bodybuilding days. Today I lift fast, as fast as I can. So I’ve been on the two sides. Lift slow or lift fast? In my book: lift fast. Let’s look at the above comments.

Fast lifting creates momentum which reduces the weight.”

Correct. Once you start lifting fast, you notice:

  • the barbell feels lighter
  • you can use more weight

More weight is more muscles, more strength, stronger joints, stronger bones, …

I thought that was our goal.

By moving too fast you risk damaging your cartilage & bones.


  • speed increases as external resistance decreases
  • speed decreases as external resistance increases

Squat with 40kg as fast as you can. Now load 80kg & try to squat as fast.

If moving fast damages cartilage & bones, we would advise:

  • Tennis players to hit slowly to spare their shoulder joint
  • Soccer players to hit the ball slowly to spare their knee joints
  • Shotputters to throw slowly to spare their elbow joint

Fortunately, we do not need to advise this. Our body has a natural defense mechanism which prevents damage to the joints when velocity is high. How? By decelerating the resistance.

You can’t perform the exercise correctly when lifting fast, you have more control when lifting slow.

Correct technique prevents injuries, whether lifting slow or fast.

If you’re new to barbell training, get on the Beginner Strength Training Program & spend the first 4 weeks getting a solid technique.

When you got the technique: start lifting fast. The more you practice, the higher bar control.

Why You Should Lift Fast

Three reasons:

  • Develops power. The ability to accelerate is needed in all sports.
  • Develops strength. Movement feels lighter, you can use more weight.
  • Works more muscle fibers. If you’re after muscle development: lift fast!

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