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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