Slow strength studio opens in Sonoma

‘All the exercise you need in 30 minutes, twice a week’ vows Strength Studio owner Hector Sanchez|

“More is not always better,” says Hector Sanchez, owner of Sonoma’s newest workout venue, the Strength Studio.

Sanchez’s offering is based on a type of training centered on super-slow movements, and the importance of resting joints and ligaments between sessions. He feels strongly that strength training is like medicine and the body only needs two 30-minute doses a week.

Sanchez has operated a Strength Studio in Sebastopol for more than a decade. He opened a Sonoma location this week, just off the Plaza at 10 Maple St., upstairs in suite 200.

Clients work out one-on-one with either Sanchez or an “exercise specialist” who guides clients through a handful of “medical-grade machines,” achieving full muscle failure in 30 minutes and, according to Sanchez, providing a full body workout each session. But to support the muscle growth, adequate rest and proper nutrition are required, hence the twice weekly schedule.

“The idea is to perform a specified sequence of exercises in a highly focused and efficient manner to the point of muscular failure,” he said.

Sanchez is a fan of the “super slow” strength training method because he believes that the scientific evidence supporting it is solid. He says the workout is based on the biology of how human bodies function. The slow motion exercise protocol was first developed by strength trainer Adam Zickerman.

The Strength Studio weight machines look similar to those in a conventional gym but Sanchez says they are designed with greater emphasis on both the positive and negative (both forward and back) range of motion. “You can’t find them anywhere else around here,” he says.

Sanchez warns against over-training.

“Recovery is just as important as the exercise, if not more so,” he says. “During your recovery time, your muscles are hard at work repairing themselves. This time is crucial in making you stronger and avoiding injury.”

Sanchez also believes that done right, slow strength training can help combat chronic pain.

“With my method, you are less likely to get injured and you can achieve your goals in less time,” he says.

Sanchez is worried by all the current misconceptions about exercise. He says most Americans work out too often and too much which results in too many injuries.

“Exercise is like medicine, you need to do the right amount and you don’t want to overdo it or underdo it,” he says.

Most clients do not break a sweat during a session with Sanchez and many work out in everyday clothing. Sanchez believes in cardio but he suggests hiking or playing tennis for fun, not so much for exercise, just for enjoyment.

Sanchez has been working in the fitness world for more than 17 years. Sessions with clients include information about nutrition and healthful eating.

The average age of his client base is 50 to 60 years old, but some are as young as 10 or as old at 90. He chose Sonoma as the location of his second studio because several Sonoma clients were already traveling to see him. He also noted that the demographic in Sonoma is perfect for his method, and very similar to Sebastopol.

Monthly memberships are available or a la carte sessions range from $75 to $90 a visit. Sanchez invites anyone to come in for a free consultation and to try out a mini workout.

The Strength Studio is open by appointment only, Monday through Friday, typically from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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