Tempo Training and Benefits

Tempo Training

Tempo training assigns a specific tempo (speed) to a lift to control the time under tension (TUT) ie. the time which a muscle is under load.  The amount of time under tension that a muscle experiences can greatly effect the results you get from training.

Tempo is typically written with 4-digits.  An example would be 4020 where…

  • 4 refers the amount of seconds in the eccentric phase of the lift (lengthening of the muscle under load)
  • 0 refers to the amount of seconds spent “in the bottom” of the rep, in this case zero.
  • 2 refers to the amount of seconds spent in the concentric phase of the lift (shortening of the muscle under load)
  • 0 refers to the amount of seconds spent “in the top” of the rep, in this case zero as well.

In the case of a Back Squat for a set of 5 reps, this would mean that lowering the weight take 4 seconds, no pause at the bottom, standing up takes 2 seconds, and no pause at the top, REPEAT for 5 reps or a total time of 30 seconds TUT for the set.

Benefits

  1. Increases Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) which is energy expenditure after training.  The increase in metabolism increases fat burning which is important to many of us!
  2. Increase Strength especially when the eccentric component of the lift is slowed down.
  3. For beginners allows for more focus on mechanics while minimizing risks associated with heavy lifting.
  4. Can help to reduce the risk of injury in sports (notably reducing hamstring strains by performing tempo deadlifts or single leg deadlifts in sports that involve quick sprints)