Detailed guides to painful problems, treatments & more

Lift faster, function better

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

Lifting weights faster makes aging people more functional. A new scientific review is a nice clean win for power training.

And what does “faster” mean exactly? Just “move the weight as fast as possible in the lifting phase.” Schnell, schnell!

More and more people are lifting weights not to get bulging muscles but to be more functional. This big new review of the science says that lifting weights faster — power training — results in more functional adults, probably because “muscle power is more highly correlated with physical function than strength or muscle mass.”

Whatever is good for function is probably also a win in a rehab context. To whatever extent strength is helpful in rehab — an endlessly debatable topic! — this evidence suggests that a power training style might be optimal.

Naturally there’s some uncertainty. This is science, and science is rarely sure of anything (a feature, not a bug). But it’s a fairly clear result with practical implications for many people, and you are not going to go too far wrong by trying to move your weights quicker.