Effects of high- and low-velocity resistance training on the contractile properties of skeletal muscle fibers from young and older humans

Claflin DR, Larkin LM, Cederna PS, Horowitz JF, Alexander NB, Cole NM, Galecki AT, Chen S, Nyquist LV, Carlson BM, Faulkner JA, Ashton-Miller JA.

Purpose: To investigate the effects of movement velocity during progressive resistance training (PRT) on the size and contractile properties of individual fibers from human vastus lateralis muscles. The effects of age and sex were examined by a design that included 63 subjects organized into four groups: young (20–30 yr) men and women, and older (65–80 yr) men and women.

Conclusions: Both types of PRT increased the cross-sectional area, force, and power of type 2 fibers by 8–12%, independent of the sex or age of the subject. Contrary to our hypothesis, the velocity at which the PRT was performed did not affect the fiber-level outcomes substantially. We conclude that, compared with low-velocity PRT, resistance training performed at velocities up to 3.5 times higher against reduced loads is equally effective for eliciting an adaptive response in type 2 fibers from human skeletal muscle.

IN PLAIN ENGLISH: Based on this study, resistance training using fast or slow movement velocity offers no superior advantage compared to the other. Therefore, given the choice of fast or slow, opt for the slower speed to minimize the risk of injury potential that faster movements naturally produce.