If your goal is to change your body, create a new shape, enhance muscles, tighten and tone while creating a stronger, leaner physique; tempo will help you get there!
|| what is tempo ? ||
Tempo is the speed at which you raise and lower a weight.
Ultimately, this speed controls your success with weight training.
It’s funny when I see people who are lifting weights but before finishing their set, they toss their weights down and I hear the big KABOOM going throughout the whole gym. I’m sure you’ve seen this as well; these people tend to be in every gym. But what’s funny about the whole situation is the fact that this person is trying so hard to lift heavy weight, meanwhile tossing the weight down before finishing the lift.
If this person only knew how much they are throwing away with those weights.
|| the importance of tempo ||
When you lift weights, in order to obtain results and create muscle growth/strength you need to create tiny microscopic tears within the muscle. These tears are what causes the muscle to begin repairing and eventually grow. Without these tears, the muscle will not repair therefore will not grow.
As you lower the weight, you tear muscle fibers and this creates growth.
|| what is the best tempo ? ||
When lifting any weight, you should always focus on a slow, smooth movement as it is critical to your weight training success. Lifting too quickly, or fast jerky movements can cause injury. It is also important to know your strength and lift an appropriate weight. Not being able to control the weight you’re lifting will definitely cause bad form which again, creates injuries.
Tempo is normally expressed in seconds and written out like this; 4/0/2/0/.
This would mean, a lift with a tempo of 4/0/2/0 is to be done with a 4 seconds of the eccentric phase (lowering), no pause and immediately 2 seconds of the concentric phase (raising the weight) with no pause between reps.
Eccentric is the lengthening of the muscle, and concentric the shortening of the muscle.
This is the most common tempo and could be used within any phase of weight training. Generally I would change tempo as I change workout phases when I prepare a goal specific workout plan for a client or myself.
The concentric phase (shortening of the muscle) is the phase which creates tiny microscopic tears within the muscle. These tears are necessary for the muscle to rebuild and repair.
|| change it up ||
It is important to change your tempo just like you would change your grip, your rest, and your reps on a regular basis. Doing so keeps the body from being too comfortable with a specific lifting phase.
I change my tempo depending on the type of workout phase I’m in. Usually I work with the 4 second eccentric phase and 2 second concentric phase, but if I’m looking for muscle gains I usually change my concentric phase to 4 seconds. This puts more stress on the muscle and could create more tears.
If I’m a fat burning phase, sometimes I add a 2 second pause after the eccentric phase because this really gives the muscle a good burn!
Different workouts will vary with tempo, but one thing that never changes is the slow, controlled, steady movement. This is the most important factor of tempo during any workout.
Think, nice and slow.
Control that weight and feel the muscle being worked.