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Welcome to Slow Resistance Training [SRT]: Low-impact high intensity training tailored for the Megaformer, XFormer, or any next-generation Pilates Reformer equipment. SRT is adaptable for all fitness-levels, perfect for anyone willing to put in the work to get more out of their training.
Build lean muscle
Supercharge your body to burn fat
Improve balance and flexibility.
Build cardio fitness without aerobic exercise
Cut the chance of injuries to nearly zero
And so efficient, you only need 45-minutes
Slow Resistance Training [SRT] grew from the science of slow-twitch muscle training techniques, effective body-building supersets, and the popularity of the Pilates Reformer. SRT was developed with the goal of creating an effective workout adaptable to all ability levels with no fitness experience necessary to get started.
With these goals in mind, every SRT combines all five elements of physical fitness into each an every exercise. Every exercise is designed to improve your:
Muscular Strength – Pick up and put down heavy things.
Muscular Endurance – Keep going, keep going, keep going.
Cardiovascular Endurance –Increase the efficiency of your heart.
Balance & Flexibility – Stand on one foot. Touch your toes.
Body Composition – Look good [I mean, even better] naked!
We do this through slow, controlled, continuous muscle tension and perfectly programmed sequences. Our coaches [that’s you!] keep it light. Our coaches bring the party, the flavor, and make every class an experience.
So here’s how it works—Only with resistance training can we build muscle mass. Aerobic activity alone does not provide the stimulus needed to build lean muscle mass. Building lean muscle is proven to have superior cardiovascular benefits. And if you’re not sure yet why lean muscle is important, refer to our other favorite pastime, Google.
Adapted to the Pilates Reformer and its future evolutions, SRT focuses on spring tension. Spring-resistance provides the variable and incremental tension needed to adapt to any ability level. Springs provide constant-tension, allowing us to keep our muscles working through the entire duration of the exercises. And because the springs give us balanced resistance over a wide-range of motion, we can train effectively to match to the strength curve of our muscles, whether the exercise demands more support, or more resistance.
[Insert: Strength Curve Module]
A Pilates Reformer allows us to use the springs three distinctly different ways:
Light Springs on the Front = Pulling with the support of the Springs
Light Springs on the Back = Pulling against the Springs
Heavy Springs on the Front = Pushing against the Springs
We need exercise that exhausts the muscles, not our joints and connective tissues. Seeking efficiency, science proves that intense-training in which you perform just one set until muscle failure, increases muscle mass far more quickly than long sessions of multiple sets. In order to do this, slow motion is safer—It eliminates injuries cause by repetitive motion and compromised form.
Moving slowly works a greater number of muscle fibers, eliminates wasted momentum, and allows you to maintain proper form. Your main focus of effort is on the target muscles. When we go slow, we also prevent ourselves the opportunity to cheat.
These slow and controlled movements will target your slow-twitch muscle fibers (ST, Type 1a). These endurance-building motor units are the foundation of SRT, but they are not the only muscles we are trying to exhaust. Fast-twitch muscle fibers (FT, Type IIb), primarily responsible for explosive short-bursts of powerful effort, and intermediate-twitch (FT, Type IIa) muscle fibers are important as well.
SRT is designed to recruit your muscle fibers in a sequential orderly fashion, and not all at once. Sequential recruitment of muscle fibers requires intensity that allows you to progress through all three muscle fiber motor-unit types quickly enough to recruit them all, but (1) not so quickly that only the fast-twitch fibers receive the bulk of the stimulation, and (2) not so slowly that the slow and or intermediate twitch motor units can recover. If there is not enough intensity, you end up cycling through the same lower-order motor units again.
The goal is to spend continuous effort with enough intensity to keep your body firing deeper and deeper layers of muscle fibers until we’re spent. At the end of each series of exercises, we want to work into the fast-twitch motor units after you’ve tapped out all of the other lower-order fibers.
The continuous effort is important—We don’t stop at the top or bottom of an exercise. Our muscles must sustain a constant, steady load. Keep your breathing steady in order to oxygenate the muscles. Take as many deep breaths as you need to maintain a slow-controlled tempo. Because, get ready for this… I want you to fail.
We combine duration and intensity to chase deep muscle fatigue. We value slow movements and perfection in form. We sequence our exercises to continue working the same series of muscle fibers so that on the last rep of each set, you should be spent. Failure is key here—It’s the only way you know you’ve fatigued to the point that you can start the magical muscle rebuilding process. In order to do this properly, we need to maintain constant-tension on the muscle fibers. This is a combination of staying in an effective range-of-motion, and within an effective duration for each exercise:
Upper Body + Core = At least 1 minute.
Lower Body = At least 2 minutes. Be mindful of exceptions.
We move slowly during the exercises, but transition quickly between exercises to minimize the recovery time. We layer the exercises with other movements to recruit similar muscle fibers. And finally, the exercises are performed for enough time with constant tension to create change:
“It’s kind of like lighting a fireplace log. Touch a flame to it and keep taking it away—it’ll never catch. But hold a flame against it for 2 minutes straight and you’ll start the self-sustaining chain reaction called fire.” – Power of 10
RECOVER & BUILD
If there are no more muscle cells to stimulate, and we keep exercising, all we can do it keep reinjuring them. It’s simple—Once you’ve flipped the switch, triggered the muscle cells to build, your work is done. Give your muscles rest and recovery time. Just like taking the right dose of medicine for the proper results, more is not more.
The human body is never static. We are a dynamic organism that carries on a perpetual balancing act between breaking down (catabolism) and building up (anabolism). The natural muscle repair process takes huge amounts of stored energy to perform; hence we burn calories and fat. Without quality rest and recovery, you cannot capitalize on your own gains. In fact, it’s during the rest and recovery period that we make all our gains. Too much exercise can be just as bad for you as too little. Injuries also happen when we don’t rest enough between workouts: muscles weaken and re-injure themselves. Rest between sessions and prevent injury and burnout.
DO IT RIGHT
So to review:
Slow Tempo + Enough Intensity + Perfect Duration = WINNING (Not Failure)
Tempo – Go slow. Move without momentum. Every exercise moves at a smooth and constant speed. Focus. The most important rep is the one you are on. Concentrate on form and speed. Do not hold your breath. Breathe freely, evenly, and always.
Intensity - Choose a resistance where your muscles can fatigue in the planned duration. No more. No less. Your range-of-motion has no “lockout” or “unload” at the top or bottom of the motion.
Duration - Take the amount of time it takes for your muscles to run out or gas (… and then push for 10 more seconds). No more. No less. Move quickly from one exercise to the next. Rest happens when the workout is done. (And please remember to rest between workouts.)
Okay, so let’s do this.
SRT Routine Building
We sequence our exercises using six blocks to comprise a full-body 45-minute routine:
Abs + Core = 4-5 minutes
Left Leg + Glutes = 10-12 minutes
Right Leg + Glutes = 10-12 minutes
Left Oblique = 4-5 minutes
Right Oblique = 4-5 minutes
Arms = 5-6 minutes (Biceps, Triceps, Shoulders, Chest, & Back)
*Duration includes transition time
Start cold into the first exercise. Your body warms itself up in the first 2 to 3 reps because of the slow-tempo and supported range-of-motion. Stretching does not “contract” muscles, and since contraction is what draws blood into a muscle and generates metabolic activity to provide a “warm-up”, there is no warming up imparted by stretching.
A 45-minute routine is an endurance workout performed without recovery. We will go over the SRT Exercises, how to perform them correctly and then how to teach them effectively for your group class. [Continue to Exercise Review.]