60 Seconds of Pain

Short Topic


Here at T-mag, we aren't diehard proponents of any one particular training philosophy. Heck, anything works for a while until your body adapts to it. Instead, we're advocates of variety. Try something new, experiment, mix it up, sometimes let her get on top and hold the riding crop... well, you know what we mean.

One training theory that's been around for a while is called "SuperSlow." You've probably heard of this in association with guys like Arthur Jones and Ellington Darden. In a nutshell, you just lift very slowly, taking anywhere from 5 to 40 seconds for the lifting and lowering. It's not something we recommend you use all the time, but you can borrow an idea or two from it and apply it to your training.

There are two exercises that lend themselves nicely to this type of training: the chin-up and the dip. If you've never tried this before, we suggest you throw in a set of one minute chins the next time you train back or biceps. Here's how to do it:

The One Minute Chin-up

The object here is to perform a single chin-up that lasts one minute. In other words, you purposefully take 30 seconds to pull yourself up (the concentric portion) and 30 seconds to lower yourself back down (the eccentric portion).

The easiest way to do this is to have your training partner watch the clock for you and call out the time in ten second intervals. This way you'll know if you're going too fast or too slow. Considering how painful this is, most people tend to go too fast in the beginning because they're trying to get it over with! If you don't have a partner, you can set your Timex Ironman to go off every 30 seconds. You'll get the hang of it after a while and won't need a timer.


Since most of us around here don't buy completely into the SuperSlow philosophy, we just use one minute chins along with our usual chinning program. For example, after a warm-up, perform a single one minute chin-up. Then after a rest, go ahead and do your regular three sets of eight reps or whatever. Expect some extra soreness in the biceps, lats, rear delts and even the abdominals. OR, you could just do one super slow set as a finisher.

Don't hold your breath. Take short, shallow breaths with this type of training.

Vary your grip for variety. Use a wide, medium, or narrow grip. You can also perform these with the palms facing forward or backward. To target the biceps, try a narrow grip with your palms facing you.

If sixty seconds is too much for you, try taking 15 seconds for each portion and work your way up in five-second intervals from there. If you're really light or just incredibly good at chin-ups, then you may want to add weight using a dipping belt or by holding a dumbbell between your feet.

If you like one minute chin-ups, try one minute dips. The same rules apply – 30 seconds up, 30 seconds down.

Trust us, this will be the longest minute of your life!