Does Super Slow Strength Training Actually Work?

We get that question a lot.

And it’s a fair question to ask. It’s hard to believe that 20 minutes a week could actually produce a body you usually would have to lift 3x a week to get and then maintain.

But slow training doesn’t just work. It betters your overall health.

We’re talking increased muscle tone, more strength, weight loss, boosted metabolism, better balance, and a body those Victoria’s Secret angels would be envious of, in just 20 minutes a week.

If it makes you feel better, most of our new clients are skeptical. Until they see the results for themselves.

Many workouts geared towards younger professionals (especially in Echo Park) share a common theme – more pain = more gain.

But that’s not the case. In fact, the “better” you tear down the muscle in just one session, the more time it needs to recover.

Not convinced? Here’s why slow training works and why you don’t need more than 20 minutes per week to get the results you want.

You limit momentum

And boy, will your body miss the momentum.

You don’t realize just how much your muscles “cheat” at lifting weights, until you’re forced to go extra slow. Ten seconds to lift, ten seconds to bring the weight back (resistance) without ever actually setting the weight down.

As The Mayo Clinic puts it, “limiting momentum forces your muscles to work harder through the entire range of motion when you lift the weight.”

You isolate the muscle

To isolate the muscles, you work them ever so slowly and you put constant tension on the target muscle, which means at no point does that muscle ever get a break (or chance to cheat).

The average weight lifter uses 1-2 seconds to lift the weight, and another 1-2 seconds to drop it back down.

Compare that to slow training. 10 seconds to lift, and 10 seconds to resist. This means the isolated muscle gets pushed into failure much more quickly. You’re actually lifting the weights, not throwing them.

Fun fact: most people don’t actually take their muscles to true failure during traditional weight lifting.

You use specially designed machines

To limit momentum and apply the necessary constant tension to the isolated muscle, you can’t use free weights or normal weight lifting machines.

Slow training requires special machinery (and a trainer) designed to isolate the muscle and therefore get to muscle failure much more quickly through constant tension.

At The Strength Shoppe we use MedX strength training machines, designed specifically for slow strength training. Our equipment is designed to work with the natural strength curves of your muscles to give you a deeper, more thorough muscle fatigue.

You improve cardio performance

Thinking where the cardio plays into all of this?

By forcing the muscles to work harder, fail quicker, and need more time to recover, you’re improving heart and lung function by making them kick it up a notch. When you take away the momentum and muscle “resting,” this workout makes you a lot more breathless than you can imagine.

You stay healthier longer

You can’t workout if your knee is busted up, or your arm is in a sling. #beentheredonethat

Slow training is more intense, but far less dangerous than traditional weight lifting. By slowing down the movements, you greatly reduce the risk of muscle damage and strain– not to mention wear and tear on your joints, which is why we call slow training “the forever workout.”

It’s the kind of lifting that covers both gamuts. It’s incredibly effective for 30-somethings (and you’ll look fab naked), but it’s also something you can do until you’re 98 – and hopefully still look fab in the buff.

Live in the DTLA or Echo Park area? Not a lot of time to get to the gym, but still want to look fabulous, lose weight, boost your metabolism and feel great?

Come hang out at our Echo Park location and try your first slow training workout with one of our awesome trainers for 50% off. Just head over to The Strength Shoppe to schedule your workout!

Prepare to be obsessed.

The 20 Minute Echo Park Workout

Commonly referred to as “the coolest neighborhood in LA”, Echo Park is known for its nightlife, trendy bars, vegan eateries (Sage Vegan Bistro is a MUST) and overall urban vibes.

But did you also know Echo Park is home to LA’s coolest and quickest workout?

The residents of Echo Park and Downtown LA are awesome, and awesomely busy. So leave it to them to discover the kind of workout that would have OrangeTheory evangelists converting to a new way to build lean muscle faster than you can say “burn, baby burn.”

In just 20 minutes a week.

Yep, you read that right. In 20 minutes a week you get a mean, lean, gorgeous body. And that body comes with a personal trainer.

Melinda Hughes, owner of The Strength Shoppe and slow training expert, explains the phenomenon that is “slow training”  and why it’s blowing up in Echo Park.

“Slow training, while super slow, is a high-intensity strength training workout that’s a more effective way of exercise than the traditional way of lifting. Easier on your body, but with the ability to build muscle faster, slow training is a full-body workout that focuses on compound exercises and can be done in just 20 minutes a week. In fact, it should only be done 20 minutes once a week.”

People don’t have time to workout 3x a week for an hour each time, and most people don’t want to spend $300+ a week on a personal trainer, even if they do have the time.

The Strength Shoppe is the best of both worlds. You always workout with your trainer, and to get maximum results you only come in once a week for 20 minutes.

The result?

A body that looks like you spend 3 days (or more) grinding hard at the gym!

Skeptical? Here are some of the benefits that Slow Training has to offer, besides just looking great, because we don’t want to come across as totally vain.  

Better Cardio

You don’t have to jog like a maniac to get your cardio on.

Actually, your cardio needs + weight lifting needs are all  accounted for when you slow train.

Since slow training focuses on taking the muscles to complete muscle failure, your heart and lungs have to work that much harder to get oxygen to the failing muscles.

The more the muscle is challenged, the harder your lungs and heart have to work.  Voila, cardio.

Better Metabolism

More muscle = more fat burning metabolic superpowers.

And the faster you can add that muscle mass, the faster you can burn fat. The best part? You can maintain healthy weight loss in just 20 minutes a week. Which means no obsessing over “points” or having to workout every single day to try and maintain your “perfect” weight.

If you’ve struggled to keep weight off in the past, slow training will help you keep the pounds off for good.

Better Flexibility

Can’t touch your toes at Yoga? We feel ya, and that’s one of the reasons we’re obsessed with Slow Training.

In just 20 minutes, once a week, your flexibility increases as your body gets put through an intense, full-body workout that requires your muscles to go through a full-range of motion. Not only do your muscles increase in flexibility, but so do your ligaments and tendons, resulting in both flexibility and better balance.

More Muscle Tone

Sounds obvious right? But lifting more often doesn’t mean more muscle tone. If you lift too often, you impair your ability to build muscle, because strength gains are made in the days following the workout during the recovery process, not during the workout itself. 

With slow training, the muscles are exhausted to complete failure, meaning you get to build more muscle tone and strength quickly as the muscles are forced to adapt to a high stimulus. Which is a good thing, considering that after your late 20s you start to lose a half-pound of muscle every year – and that muscle loss is usually replaced by fat. UGH.

Slow training helps you regain that muscle mass and keep it!

Want to try a 20 minute high-intensity slow training workout with a trainer for 50% off? If you’re in the Echo Park or Downtown LA areas, scoop up this deal, we promise you’ll be hooked!

Get the deal here!

Injured at CrossFit? 3 Myths About Slow Training You Need to Hear

Let’s stop the myths in their tracks, shall we?

CrossFit – or maybe we’ll just call it “the workout that shall not be named” is a butt-kicking, intense workout that is responsible for a lot of hot bodies.

And torn rotator cuffs.

Busted up knees.

And a lot of BS around what it really takes to get a great body.

Here’s the deal.

Working out harder isn’t the BEST way to get a sexy physique.

Everything you know about HAVING to go to the gym 3-5 times a week, to look (and feel) great is a big, fat lie.

Enter Slow Training. Some of you guys know it as the Power of 10, some of you have never heard of it at all.

So, what IS Slow Training exactly?

It’s exactly how it sounds. Slow training is about SLOWING down. It’s about working the muscles to absolute failure. About lifting the weight as SLOW as you possibly can, without compensating with any other part of your body or using momentum. No resting, no momentum. And as slow as you possibly can lift. Anyone who scoffs at this workout, clearly needs to come in and try it. Which is cool, because you can do that – and we’d love to have you.

If you’re healing from Crossfit, or any other kind of physically intense workout or intense beliefs that workouts have to be long, painful and soul-crushing, here are three myths about slow training that will have you ready to give this a whirl.

Myth 1 – You have to workout 3-5 times a week

No. Just no.

One of our clients used to lift 3-5 times a week, with a personal trainer and STILL got hurt. Luckily, when she became a business owner she didn’t have the time to workout that much (but who actually does?)

With Slow Training, you take the muscles to absolute failure (not a certain amount of reps) and so the body takes a longer time to recover. Which means, one 20 minute workout a week is all it takes to have a killer body – that also doesn’t hurt.

In fact, we’ve had some clients WANT to workout more than once a week, and occasionally I’ll let them come in twice. What we routinely find out, is that even TWICE a week, 20 minute workouts interfere with the recovery process, and the results are never as good.

Myth 2 – 20 Minutes Isn’t Enough Time

Last month we had a camera crew check us out, and the skepticism was written on all of their faces. How could 20 minutes possibly make any kind of difference?

After watching one of our clients bust through (and breathlessly) a 20 minute workout, the results were apparent. 20 minutes IS enough time to get that full-body workout in.


To get a full-body workout, one that strengthens and tones the entire body, you only need to perform three exercises properly – to work all the major muscle groups of the body, to get that full body workout. But in 20 minutes, we can do 5-7 machines and hit all the muscle groups. We love this article on WebMD, about WHY the 20-minute super slow training whips you into shape. We also have to admit that we love that this article stresses what a MAJOR workout slow training actually is!

Myth 3 – A Power of 10 workout (i.e. slow training) is for old people

If you’re talking about bad@ss older people, who are still walking, cruising, and lifting heavy weights at 98 years old (yep we have those clients) we don’t see anything wrong with that! Yes, it beats osteoporosis, and helps gram recover from that broken hip, but more commonly Power of 10 workouts also help you look fab in that bikini on spring break….which is coming up BTW.

So, yes. It only takes 20 minutes a week to get into the best shape of your life. Which means between work, school, social life and drinks – you have the time (oh and money) to ONLY workout 20 minutes, once a week and with a personal trainer to boot!

Wanna try it out for half the price? Snag a killer workout with one of our trainers for half-off at our Echo Park location. We promise you’ll get to complain how sore you are the next day at brunch.