WHAT IS TEMPO?
Tempo is the speed at which you perform one repetition of an exercise.
Let’s bring this back to Time Under Tension (TUT) - how long a muscle is under strain during an exercise.
TUT dictates your training result. The TUT for a set how long you perform one exercise consecutively, is calculated by multiplying the number of repetitions of an exercise by the tempo.
Without setting/ controlling your exercise tempo you’re essentially guessing at what you want out of your training and results.
An example being - you could do perform 10 reps of a shoulder press in 20 seconds, or you could take 60 seconds for those 10 reps. The training outcome would be much different.
Build muscle/ stimulate hypertrophy: Optimal TUT = 40-90s
- keeps tension on the ‘lowering’ part of the exercise - the STRONGEST part of the lift. The phase that causes most trauma to the muscle, therefore GREATER muscle GAINS.
- Reduces momentum & isolates sections of the movement that may need more work and therefore acts as a way of helping overcome ‘sticking points’ or working towards progression.
- A great tool when you are limited in your exercise choice and equipment availability
Without tempo, you are not fully in control of the results you will get from training.
HOW IS IT WRITTEN?
It’s written as four numbers EG. 3010, you may have seen this before, you may not. But it isn’t a mysterious code, it’s a guide on how to perform the exercise and gain the most out of each rep for your goals.
WHAT DO THE NUMBERS MEAN?
FIRST NUMBER (3)010 - LOWERING (ECCENTRIC) PHASE OF EXERCISE
SECOND NUMBER 3(0)10 - PAUSES TAKEN AFTER THE LOWERING PHASE
THIRD NUMBER 30(1)0 - THE LIFTING PHASE OF EXERCISE (if written as X=explosive i.e. AFAP)
FOURTH NUMBER 301(0) - PAUSE TAKEN AFTER THE LIFTING PHASE
EXAMPLE: Seated DB Shoulder Press - 3010
Press the dumbbells up using power, 1 second up, no rest at the top, then 3 full seconds to lower to full range. No rest at the bottom and repeat for your full set of reps.
Even if the ‘lowering’ phase is not the first part of the exercise, as with Shoulder press you begin with the ‘lifting’ phase; tempo is still written in the same four number format.
A1 Split Squat 3110 - 15 EL x 4 sets
B1 Shoulder press 3010 - 15-20 x 3 sets
C1 Sissy Squat 3120 -12 x 3 sets
D1 Press up 3110 - 8-10 x 3 sets
E1 Lateral raise 3110 - 15-20 x 3 sets