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Understanding Lifting Tempo

TEMPO 101 // “I’m a thick bitch, I need tempo” 😂👏🏻⁣⁣

Lifting tempo is often written as #-#-# (eccentric-bottom-concentric) or #-#-#-# (eccentric – bottom – concentric – top). Neither is better or worse or right or wrong. Don’t over think it!⁣

Now before we dive in lets chat lifting phases which you may not be familiar with. We have 2 main phases of movement in our lift and then top and bottom positions.⁣

💪🏻 ECCENTRIC — this is the lowering phase of your lift. Think: dropping down into a squat or lowering a bicep curl. ⁣

💪🏻 CONCENTRIC — the more *explosive* part of a lift. This is where you are LIFTING the weight up. Think standing in the squat or curling the weight towards your body. ⁣ ⁣

Tempo is most commonly used to manipulate pauses at the top of bottom of lifts or slow lowering/eccentric phases. Some examples of this may be a 2-3 second eccentric in your split squat, holding your quads at the top of a leg extension, or a pause at your chest when benching.⁣

We can use tempo for a few different reasons, more common/most applicable to many of you are—⁣

👉🏻 Learning how to slow the frick down in your lifts 😉 . Tempo can help you learn how to move intentionally + learn new movement patterns + muscular control as beginners vs flopping around. ⁣

👉🏻 Increasing time under tension. Since tension is the main contributor to muscle growth this can be key! Research pans out to be ~2-4 seconds max, where beyond the benefits are less/not as significant/none. ⁣

👉🏻 Adding pauses to our lifts in sticking points or areas of weakness. Or to remove momentum we gain from moving right into eccentric > concentric from our muscles crossing over each other. Training us to be stronger in weaknesses.⁣

👉🏻 Using isometrics holds or simply pausing/resetting fully between our reps.⁣

You may see your concentric number written as 0 or X as well meaning simply “explode” or “stand” up. ⁣

Since tempo is often written in this order I provided some examples of the starting point of squats and deadlifts showing how this looks with moves that start with the eccentric vs the concentric portion of lifts.⁣

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Hey, I'm Lyss!

I’m Exercise Physiologist, sports nutritionist, weight lifter, and ultra runner. I am here to bring science to your training in a no-nonsense way. I have helped thousands of women crush big lifting goals, cross race finish lines, and even do both. I’m here to help you do the same!

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