If you’re looking to add to a new trick to your hypertrophy arsenal, “2 reps slow 2 reps fast” might be what you’re looking for. As the name would imply, you alternate mini-sets of doing 2 reps slow 2 reps fast within one regular sized macro-set. If you’ve never tried this before, get ready for an all new training experience.
To do 2 reps slow 2 reps fast, you’ll first pick the movement you want to use. There’s not necessarily hard and fast rules to exercise selection, as both isolation and compound movements can work well. However, you do have to ensure that form won’t break down and / or surrounding muscle groups won’t want to take over when your target body part starts to fatigue.
For example, leg press would be a better choice than squats. If you’re squatting, your lower back could fatigue more quickly than your quads, which could lead to poor form. This could leave you open to injury. Don’t think you should always choose machine-based exercises, though. For example, barbell bench press is an excellent choice as long as you have a spotter nearby for safety when you tire.
Sample 2 reps slow 2 reps fast movement choices could include:
Once you’ve picked your exercise, go ahead and setup for it. Start with a weight that you can normally get 10 reps with good form before starting to struggle, then reduce it by another 10-20% or so. This will seem light, but you can always adjust (up or down) later as you gain experience with this method.
To do 2 reps slow 2 reps fast, you simply just do what it says. Start off by doing 2 reps in a slow and controlled fashion. You don’t have to go radically slow – 2-3 seconds for the concentric and 2-3 seconds for the eccentric is fine. There should be no pause or rest at either the fully stretched or contracted positions.
After those 2 reps, do 2 reps quickly. Ideally you’d do them with as quick of a rep cadence as you can muster. Just be sure that you keep form on point and don’t enlist the help of surrounding muscle groups. For example, if doing a standing overhead press, you wouldn’t want to inadvertently turn it into a pushpress.
After your 2 fast reps, go back to doing slow reps again. Alternate back and forth as many times as you can, though don’t expect to get through it more than 2 or 3 times. This would put you at 8-12 reps total, which is in line with the weight you’re using. 3-4 sets done in this fashion is more than enough. Also be sure that this is the first exercise you do for the selected muscle group.
When you do 2 reps slow 2 reps fast, you’re recruiting more muscle fibers. This is because the slower reps increase tension, while the faster reps produce more force via quick contraction. In addition, when you alternate rep speeds, your muscles capture waste products produced during the set. This then elicits additional hypertrophy via increased protein synthesis.
Almost every lifter wants to put on more size, and doing 2 reps slow 2 reps fast very well could be your key to doing it. Pick the right type of movement, use a light weight, and do 3-4 sets alternating slow and fast-paced reps. It’ll take some getting used to, but this might be one of the best ways to stimulate new growth you’ve ever tried.