My first DIY super-slow senior strength workout

older woman doing arm circle exercise with light weights at home
My first go at a DIY super slow workout: suitable for this particular senior

Let me tell you about this morning’s exercise: a do-it-yourself super-slow routine for strengthening arms and shoulders.

Once again I need to adapt my exercise routines, because of omicron precautions. And if I don’t have a routine, a habit, exercise is the loser.

I’ve been interested in the principles of super-slow strength exercise for some time. The principles are sound, it works, and it’s of special interest to older people like me.

At Pilates and Pump classes, I’ve often found myself deliberately going slower than the rest of the class. The likely causes are common and not serious — slower reactions, blood pressure adjustments — and fast movements of certain types just don’t feel good these days.

And after all, being slow is a talent of older people, right?
Slow—a poem

I looked for super-slow exercises on YouTube with no success. Sure, there are videos labelled Super-Slow, but they weren’t suitable for me. Typically the super-slow exercise videos:

  • required machines (no machines at my place)
  • were intended for muscle-building men (that’s not me)
  • leaned towards explanations rather than exercises (enough already)
  • were not noticeably slower than normal (cheating).

So existing videos were no use to me. Instead I chose a short video from FitnessBlender, a no-nonsense training duo. The beauty of this is that the video part consists entirely of a short demo followed by repetitions of an exercise. So no hanging around while the instructors give you a lecture or try a bit of bonding. No frills. No pot-plants. No dog. No machines. No aesthetic refinements. Suits me!
Tank Top Arms Workout – Shoulders, Arms & Upper Back Workout

How I converted a workout video to Super-Slow

  1. I muted the video although the commentary is very helpful
  2. Turned on Lucien Johnson’s album Wax///Wane (glorious creamy jazz)
  3. Played the video at half-speed and did the routine.

Wins: It was hard and interesting. A 10-minute video gave me a 20 minute workout.

Needs attention: Looking at the science, I need to go even slower. I could do this three times a week as long as I’m targeting different muscle groups.

Conclusion (! This is like a business report. To myself, though.) I’m on the right track! I feel very happy about this interesting little project.

Do you like this idea of Super-Slow senior strength exercise? Suggestions?

And this afternoon I’m going for a walk with a friend in the Botanical Gardens. Outdoors beats indoors. Maybe I’ll persuade her to do some squats…

View looking down on a park with big trees, lawns, and paths. People are walking there.
A favourite exercise for all ages: walking in the Wellington Botanical Gardens
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8 thoughts on “My first DIY super-slow senior strength workout

  1. I love this idea. My doctor reminds me that any exercise is good, even if you can only manage to do a couple of repetitions of three or four different exercises. Lifting (bags of sugar), sit ups (aided anyway you need), press ups (even partial ones), balancing on one leg (even just lifting a foot two inches off the floor), and any other mild exercise you can think of. Keep moving folks!

  2. Good for you, Rachel! I like walking so much I took TWO walks today.:-) I also did some pushups, but that’s all.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Gorgeous. In our first lockdown I went walking daily on our local hill/park, stopping at a park bench for 30 push-ups and 30 squats. That was “my” fitness trainer’s simple recipe and it was lovely.

  3. Nyla Carroll says:

    Looks wonderful Rachel. Might be the perfect tonic for me who needs to re-start exercising after a fall a month ago out walking, resulting in a broken elbow and a ten day stint in hospital – very hard to get going and motivated after so long off!

  4. Walking and exercising are marvelous. Kudos to you for doing both!

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Slow is the only way to prevent common injuries which come from quick movements. Slow also increases the stretch inherent in each exercise if we do them slowly.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      That’s good information thank you.

      1. Elizabeth says:

        My sports medicine doctor told me that most injuries occur with short quick movements.

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