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  • Writer's pictureSophia Smith

Tempo Training

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

What is tempo? Tempo is the speed of each repetition. Every rep of a movement is broken down into four parts. The eccentric (lengthening of the muscle), concentric (shortening of the muscle), and two isometric (static) contractions at the top and at the bottom of the lift.

How it works? Each rep is broken down into four parts represented by a number. The number equals the seconds spent on that part.

First number = eccentric phase e.g. lowering the weight in a deadlift Second number = isometric pause in the stretched position e.g. bottom position of a squat Third number = concentric phase, moving against gravity e.g. standing up a squat Fourth number = isometric pause at the top of a movement. E.g. chin over the bar in a pull up

Why it works Slowing down the speed of your reps increases the amount of time you spend under load (time under tension). Time under tension is key to strength gains. Tempo helps to build muscle, improve strength, body awareness and helps prevent and/or rehab injuries. It can improve technique, mindfulness, and identify your weakest point within a given range. Tempo makes lighter weights feel heavy because you're under them for longer. Arguably during lockdown, it was key to many people maintaining their gains when they couldn't get a hold of heavy weights!

Incorporating tempo training into your weightlifting can be a valuable strategy for achieving specific training goals and enhancing your overall performance.

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