Cirque du Soleil acrobat workout routine

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created July 15, 2012 at 3:33 AM

A buddy of mine is a gymnast in the Cirque du Soleil. I was asking about his workout routine and he says that he does modified bodybuilding-style routines, where he basically trains in a nonexplosive manner with a very slow repetition speed.

He said that, for instance, he might do shoulder presses and instead of doing 1 second up and 2 seconds down, he'll do 4 up and 5 down, or 3 up and 6 down. This is so unconventional, but I can't really argue with him because I'm not much of an expert and also because it obviously works very well for him.

Would this be an effective strategy for building strength for just a regular amateur lifter? Curious as to what your thoughts/experiences/knowledge/etc.

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on July 15, 2012
at 06:34 PM

Slower repetition speeds reduce/eliminate the use of momentum and muscle elasticity, forcing the connective tissue itself to power the movement. This increases intensity at a given weight (try doing super slow push-ups to see how it compares to normal speed) and can be an effective training method. However, I would venture to say that your friend also engages in a significant amount of very specific gymnastics/performance training, which I would imagine contributes greatly to his overall physical development.


on July 15, 2012
at 04:23 AM

Yeah! For like... all of us? :D (Kidding, kidding!)



on July 15, 2012
at 03:38 AM

I am SO jealous! Can you get free tickets?

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5 Answers


on July 15, 2012
at 04:22 AM

I don't think this is really all that unconventional. I mean it's the whole basis for Slow Burn AFAIK.



on July 15, 2012
at 04:18 AM

I'm not an expert, however from what I've read and from the types of workouts I've experimented with.

Since you said you're an amateur lifter, almost any strength building routines would work.

From what I understand this form of training falls under, time under tension. I'm a big Tim Ferris Fan so here is one of the protocols he experimented with a few years ago. I tried it myself In February of 2010 with great results.


And here is some extra reading to get a slightly better idea. http://www.bodybuildingfanatic.com/coloradoexperiment.htm

Mind you the last link they mostly used Nautilus machines.

I would also recommend that you look up stuff from Dr. Doug McGuff.

Hope this helps


on July 15, 2012
at 03:41 AM

This is how I was taught to workout. Really slow like that.



on July 15, 2012
at 09:56 PM

your friend is a highly specialized athlete. his weightlifting routine is designed to support his skill practice. considering that the term "gymnast in cirque" is very vague, you'd have to look at EXACTLY what his performance needs are. if he is a straight hand balancer, yes, he would need to focus on strengthening his connective tissues and controlling slow micro movements with whole body tension. this is not something a beginner or amateur can jump in on.

your question, about YOU, though, is different. i dont know how old you are, but if it's age 40 or above, focus on explosive power movements, get trained by an expert in oly lifts, etc. if you just want functional strength, but not much hypertrophy, you have to train your nervous system primarily, with the correct rep ranges, rest periods, and yes, tempo plays a part depending on what you are aiming for. you can look up dan john & pavel for many ideas. for more sport based functional stuff: gray cook, robertson, cressey. for gymnastic stuff: ido portal, gymnasticbodies.com, parkour, jeff tucker.

it pays to learn well, and get trained by a pro. form & safety is everything and not that easy to maintain.



on July 15, 2012
at 03:40 PM

This sounds reminiscent of Super Slow. I did it for a few months many years ago and built nice muscle in three 20 minutes sessions a week and some people were only doing two sessions a week and getting good results.

The downside for me of Super Slow was that it was so intense that by the end of some of the sessions I'd want to throw up. Plus, I could only do it with a trainer pushing me along. And, by the way, the trainer used a metronome to leave nothing to change re the timing and he had his own private gym since it wouldn't work to have to wait for a machine to become available since, if I remember correctly, there were no rest periods or if they were they were very brief.

There are books like Power of 10 out there based on the concept of Super Slow.

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