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Self-Selected or Fixed-Duration Rep Speed

Moving at your own pace during resistance training produces better results.

A small study addressed the question of whether one gets better results from performing resistance training reps at a self-selected pace or at a fixed rep duration (2-second concentric phase, 2-second eccentric phase). Researchers from universities in São Paolo recruited 12 resistance-trained men and evaluated exercise volume, muscle activation and time under tension. Each participant did two high-intensity resistance exercise protocols: three sets of exercises at a self-selected pace and three sets of resistance training exercises at a fixed duration. Muscle activation was assessed with electromyography.

Data analysis showed that both exercise volume and muscle activation were higher when rep pace was self-selected. Time under tension was greater with the fixed-duration protocol.

The study is available in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research (2018; doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000002493).

Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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