Why Every One Should Train With A Prescribed Tempo

When lifting weights everyone should train under some type of prescribed tempo. The tempo of an exercise has a direct correlation to an individuals ultimate goal. First let’s explain what a prescribed tempo is. A tempo of an exercise is usually given in a 4 number sequence. So let’s prescribe a client a barbell back squat at a 4-1-1-0 tempo. The first number is the eccentric phase of the lift, so in this case “4”. So it should take 4 seconds to lower the bar to a proper depth of a squat. Now the second number is a isometric pause at the end of the eccentric so in this case “1”. So the client will pause for 1 second at the bottom. After that the third number is the concentric phase of the lift which is also “1”. So the client will stand within 1 second. Finally, the fourth number is another isometric pause at the end of the concentric so “0”. The client will take no pause at the top and continue to the next rep. Keeping the same tempo for however many reps. So the order of a tempo is eccentric-pause-concentric-pause.

However, not all lifts are in that order. Deadlifts for example starts on the floor so you will perform the concentric (3rd) number first opposed to the eccentric (1st) number. Now that we understand the tempo of a lift. The questions is why should we be doing this? The reason is because it is beneficial to every individual and can be individualized to a specific goal. A tempo can be prescribed for a very slow lift (ex. 5-0-5-0) for muscle hypertrophy or it can be prescribed to be an explosive lift (ex. X-0-X-0) for explosive athletes. There is wide range of variety when prescribing tempos with a wide range of benefits. The overall benefits of training under tempos

  • Improves Body Awareness
  • Improves stability
  • Improves control of lifts
  • Develops work capacity
  • More muscle damage for hypertrophy
  • Exposes weak areas of lifts which then can be fixed
  • Great teaching tool for beginners
  • Can program to be goal specific

 If you want to learn more about training under tempos please contact us. 

Jermaine Hough

-B.S. Exercise science
-Minor in nutrition
-BPS Level 1

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