The theme of this blog is fun slow: slow running, slow jogging, slow erging, slow biking, slow cycling, slow walking–and slow weights. I’ve already shared with you my other favorite slow weightlifting book, Get Fit, Get Fierce with Kettlebell Swings, and now I am going to share my favorite quotes from my favorite slow jogging and slow running gure, mister low heart-rate training himself, Phil Maffetone, from his underappreciated book, Get Strong: The natural, no-sweat, whole-body approach to stronger muscles and bones. Goodreads tells me I read it for the first time from December 3 – December 3, 2020, and I recently reread it and here’s my favorite excerpts:
“After pushing the button on the espresso maker, I go to the corner of my office and lift a barbell chest-high, and perform an easy squat, going down only as far as my body is willing to go at that moment. I may do five more squats, and after placing the weight back down, I go grab my espresso and get back to writing. I may lift later on my way to get a glass of water, or between phone calls. By the end of a typical day or week the amount of strength training may have exceeded that done by most people who go to the gym for their traditional two-to three per-week sessions. And unlike most of those gym workouts, I have improved both muscle and bone strength throughout my body in a significant way without fatigue, soreness, pain or sweat. I call this particular workout MAF Slow Weights, and devote an entire chapter in this book to it.”
[ . . . ]
“My workout is part of my day. I don’t change clothes, wear special shoes, drive anywhere, pay a membership or even get sweaty. It’s simple: I don’t want to bulk up or enter any weightlifting competition — I just want to improve overall health and fitness by making my entire body stronger.”
[ . . . ]
“The MAF Strength Training method is simple, safe, easy, effective, fast and free (you might have to buy some weights, but look in your basement or ask a friend and you may find what you need). It’s a natural activity, developing strong muscles and bones similar to those conditioned through outdoor work, such as lifting and carrying logs or rocks, building a stone wall, or digging the garden. (I sometimes do that too.)”
[ . . . ]
“The art and science of MAF Strength Training is one of the simplest ways to build or preserve muscle and bone strength no matter your age. It requires little or no extra time. In fact, while I was thinking about how to write this…This highlight has been truncated due to consecutive passage length restrictions.”
[ . . . ]
“Using whole-body movements instead of working individual muscles helps us perform as one single unit to express far more power than if the muscles were moving in isolation. In other words, even though you can make a single muscle very strong by isolating and exercising it, a team effort in which all the body’s muscles are effectively involved in a movement is superior in producing an overall stronger body than working muscles in isolation. Unnatural: Most strength equipment today tends to train a particular muscle or muscle group — such as the pecs, quads, hamstrings or abdominals.”
[ . . . ]
“Increasing strength due to increased numbers of fibers in a contraction occurs immediately with MAF Strength Training, from the very first workout.”
[ . . . ]
“We train for strength by maximizing stimulation of the muscles and bones. This means not too much or too little. It’s achieved by choosing the proper weight while minimizing fatigue and soreness. This includes: Using heavier — not heavy or light — weight (about 80% of your maximum capacity described below). Fewer repetitions per set (two to six). Longer rest between sets (three minutes or more).”
[ . . . ]
“So the recommended number of reps would be up to five or six; in general, two to six. Some days you’ll feel better and six will seem easier, and on days that you’re busy or have less energy, two or three reps is still an effective workout. Don’t push it, keep it natural with what your body wants to do that day.”
[ . . . ]
“Don’t add repetitions as you get stronger or because you don’t feel as fatigued (you should always feel like you can perform more). This will reduce the effectiveness of the workout. In short, as your brain and muscles fatigue more, fewer muscle fibers contract, leading to more size gains (bulk) and potentially fewer strength gains.”
[ . . . ]
“Excess muscle loss is known as sarcopenia, and is one of the most common causes of physical impairments later in life. It leads to further reductions in physical activity, bone loss, and increased joint, ligaments, tendon and other soft-tissue dysfunction contributing to injury and pain. The loss of muscle, and reduced muscle activity, can also impair brain function.”
[ . . . ]
“Sarcopenia can be accelerated by bed rest, immobility and muscle disuse, chronic inflammation, hormone imbalance, low protein intake, many commonly used prescription drugs (such as statins, and those used for blood sugar and blood pressure control) and over-the-counter drugs such as Ibuprofen. Excess body fat can predispose someone to sarcopenia. (Sarcopenia associated with excess body fat is called ‘sarcopenic overfat.’)”
[ . . . ]
“You get less than 7 to 9 hours uninterrupted each night. You wake up feeling tired or physically uncomfortable. You feel little motivation for exercise. You do not get regular sun exposure on your skin (without burning). You feel ill, uncomfortable or excessively tired after training. Your exercise footwear is uncomfortable and your feet are typically tired after training or the end of the day. Your measured power or pace at the same heart rate is declining over time — or has not increased in more than a few months.”
[ . . . ]
“Muscle fatigue is not necessarily bad, it’s actually an important part of getting stronger. Healthy fatigue is mild, perhaps moderate when first starting on a new program, and is necessary to create the desired training effect in the body — stronger muscles and bones. Excess fatigue, however, and a mentality that fuels it — no pain, no gain — is harmful because it can increase muscle weakness and cause pain or overtraining.”
[ . . . ]
“With proper training, you should gradually get measurably stronger. Strength gains may take place quicker in the first year. When this happens, you’ll notice it’s getting easier to reach your five or six reps — that’s the time to consider gradually adding weight. Add weight carefully, sometimes starting with just a couple of pounds. Adding weight replaces the need to perform more repetitions. If, for whatever reason, you go through a period when you don’t perform any strength training, such as a few weeks or months, you may eventually lose some of the strength you gained. In this case, when getting back into training, reduce the amount of weight you previously used until you begin to get stronger again. Then you can increase the weight as needed. Sometimes we think we’re stronger than we are, relating to those days when we actually were stronger.”
[ . . . ]
“Warm up at least 12 minutes, or be naturally warmed up. Work up to training with weight at 80 percent of your maximum, about six reps, with rest between sets of at least three minutes. Cool down at least 12 minutes, or be naturally active following your workout. Recovery includes seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.”
[ . . . ]
“Slow weight training is basically strength training spread throughout the day, and crafted around a few special guidelines.”
[ . . . ]
“There are at least three very important benefits of slow weights: It’s easy to schedule (and may not even require much if any extra time). It creates very little physical stress (no soreness, pain, or any significant added bulk and weight). Yet you maximize strength gains (you begin getting stronger with the first workout).”
[ . . . ]
“Perform slow weights in the course of two, three or more hours throughout the evening. Weekend days can also work well for those with a busy weekday schedule.”
Description of the Get Strong book
Our ancestors were physically active with strong muscles and bones. Today, most people on earth are no longer naturally active, or strong. Most of us can’t return to nature, so the next best thing is strength training that produces very similar natural muscle and bone strength. This is much easier than you think. In fact, just picking up a weight, standing and holding it, then placing it back down begins the process of getting stronger throughout the body. This simple approach, along with other strengthening options, if you want them, is what this book is about.
My workout is part of my day. I don’t change clothes, wear special shoes, drive anywhere, pay a membership or even get sweaty. It’s I don’t want to bulk up or enter any weightlifting competition — I just want to improve overall health and fitness by making my entire body stronger.
The MAF Strength Training method is simple, safe, easy, effective, fast and free. It’s a natural activity, developing strong muscles and bones similar to those conditioned through outdoor work, such as lifting and carrying logs or rocks, building a stone wall, or digging the garden.
- MAF: Maximum Aerobic Function, a heart rate training method developed by Dr. Phil Maffetone
- Slow weights: A strength training method that involves lifting heavier weights for fewer repetitions with longer rest periods
- Sarcopenia: The loss of muscle mass and strength with age
- Slow weights: A form of strength training that involves slower movements, fewer repetitions, and longer rests, promoting muscle and bone strength without inducing fatigue, soreness, or sweat.
- MAF Strength Training: A method championed by Phil Maffetone that focuses on natural, easy, and effective ways to improve muscle and bone strength throughout the day without formalized gym sessions.
- Sarcopenic overfat: A condition wherein an individual exhibits both sarcopenia and excess body fat.
- Compound exercise: An exercise that works multiple muscle groups at the same time. Examples of compound exercises include squats, deadlifts, bench press, and rows.
- Isolation exercise: An exercise that works a single muscle group or muscle. Examples of isolation exercises include bicep curls, tricep extensions, and calf raises.
- Set: A group of repetitions of a single exercise.
- Repetition (rep): One complete execution of an exercise.
- Rest period: The amount of time you rest between sets or repetitions.
- Failure: The point at which you can no longer perform another repetition of an exercise with good form.
- Progressive overload: The gradual increase in weight, repetitions, or sets over time.
- Form: The proper technique for performing an exercise.
- Muscular fatigue: The temporary inability of a muscle to contract with full force.
- Soreness: The pain and discomfort that can occur after a workout.
- Overtraining: Training too hard or too often, which can lead to injuries and decreased performance.
- Maximum aerobic function (MAF): The heart rate at which your body is burning the highest percentage of fat for energy.
- MAF heart rate training: A training method that uses the MAF heart rate to improve aerobic fitness and performance.
- Q: What are the benefits of slow weights? A: Slow weights are a safe and effective way to build strength and muscle mass without overtraining. They are also easy to schedule into your day and can be done with minimal equipment.
- Q: How do I do slow weights? A: To do slow weights, choose a weight that is challenging but allows you to maintain good form. Perform 2-6 repetitions of each exercise with 3 minutes of rest between sets. You can do slow weights throughout the day or in one session.
- Q: What exercises should I do for slow weights? A: You can do any exercise for slow weights, as long as you use proper form. Some common exercises include squats, deadlifts, push-ups, pull-ups, and rows.
- Q: How often should I do slow weights? A: You can do slow weights as often as you like, but it is important to give your muscles time to recover. Aim to do slow weights at least 2-3 times per week.
- Q: What is the core principle behind “slow weights”? A: Slow weights is about incorporating strength training throughout the day without the stress of a traditional workout. It emphasizes fewer repetitions, longer rests, and lifting weights that are roughly 80% of one’s maximum capacity.
- Q: What is MAF Strength Training? A: MAF Strength Training, devised by Phil Maffetone, is a natural approach to muscle and bone strengthening. It mirrors activities done outdoors, like carrying logs or building stone walls, and can be seamlessly incorporated into one’s daily routine.
- Q: How is MAF Strength Training different from traditional gym workouts? A: Unlike traditional gym workouts that often focus on isolated muscle groups, MAF Strength Training involves whole-body movements. This method avoids fatigue, soreness, and sweat, making it a more sustainable and comfortable approach for many.
- Q: What is sarcopenia and why is it a concern? A: Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass typically due to aging. It can result in physical impairments, reduced physical activity, bone loss, and even cognitive decline.
- Q: How often should I perform slow weights? A: Slow weights can be performed over two, three, or more hours throughout the day, including weekends, especially for those with busy weekdays.
Background and other information
Slow weights are a strength training method that is based on the principles of MAF training. MAF training is a heart rate training method that helps athletes and fitness enthusiasts improve their aerobic fitness and performance. Slow weights use the same principles to help people build strength and muscle mass without overtraining.
Slow weights are a good option for people of all ages and fitness levels. They are especially beneficial for people who are new to strength training or who are recovering from an injury. Slow weights are also a good option for people who are short on time, as they can be done in short bursts throughout the day.
To get started with slow weights, simply choose a weight that is challenging but allows you to maintain good form. Perform 2-6 repetitions of each exercise with 3 minutes of rest between sets. You can do slow weights throughout the day or in one session.
If you are new to strength training, it is important to start slowly and gradually increase the weight and number of repetitions as you get stronger. It is also important to listen to your body and rest when you need to.
Here are some tips for doing slow weights safely and effectively:
- Choose a weight that is challenging but allows you to maintain good form.
- Perform 2-6 repetitions of each exercise with 3 minutes of rest between sets.
- Focus on compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups.
- Breathe deeply and evenly throughout each exercise.
- Keep your core engaged throughout each exercise.
- Listen to your body and rest when you need to.
Slow weights are a safe and effective way to build strength and muscle mass without overtraining. They are also easy to schedule into your day and can be done with minimal equipment.
“Get Strong: The natural, no-sweat, whole-body approach to stronger muscles and bones” is a book by Phil Maffetone. It delves into a unique approach to strength training that draws inspiration from our ancestors – individuals who were naturally active and had strong muscles and bones. The book introduces readers to the MAF Strength Training method, which is easy, free, and as effective as the physical activities performed by our predecessors, such as lifting heavy objects or doing manual labor outdoors.
- Integrated Workouts: Unlike the norm of setting aside specific times for workouts, MAF Strength Training encourages integrating strength training into daily routines.
- Whole-body Approach: Instead of focusing on isolated muscle groups, this method promotes movements that involve the entire body.
- Natural and Free: The approach encourages the use of everyday objects, eliminating the need for specialized gym equipment or memberships.
- Prevents Sarcopenia: Regular strength training can counteract the effects of muscle loss due to aging and other factors.
- Slow Weights: This method emphasizes fewer reps with longer rests in between, ensuring that training is effective without leading to fatigue or overexertion.
For those looking to build strength without the strain and stress of conventional gym workouts, Phil Maffetone’s “Get Strong” offers a fresh perspective. By integrating workouts into daily life and focusing on whole-body movements, readers can achieve better muscle and bone strength while still enjoying their daily routines.
More Fun Slow
- What is Maffetone Strength?
- The Misunderstood Art of Adaptive Speed: Demystifying MAF and Slow Jogging Methods
- Low Heart Rate Training 101: Embrace the Maffetone Method as a Beginner Non-Runner
- How slow jogging moderately for an hour every day for the rest of your life will impact your health and fitness
- The Over 50’s Guide to Safe and Effective Gym Workouts: How to Prevent Injuries and Enhance Recovery