BENEFITS OF PLAYING WITH TEMPO AS YOU EXERCISE

Lockdown impacting your workout progression? Do you have limited or even no kit creating a lack of variety in your workouts?

Wasn’t it great when we could walk into the gym and have machines, free weights, kettlebells and core bags there waiting for you? There might have been a small weight before you could lift, swing, push or pull and create that post-workout feeling of accomplishment. Fear not though gym warriors, tempo training is going to become your new best friend, or you’ll form a love/hate relationship with this training style. 

Tempo training is where you add a set speed or ‘tempo’ to your exercises to help build more muscle, improve your strength and aid fat loss (yes you did just read those magic words…do we have your attention now?). If you’ve ever been to a fitness class where the instructor gives you a count of 4 or 8, it’s similar. The best thing is, you can utilise this now, and take it back in the gym with you. 

Tempo training is an easy and free way of adding another factor to your workouts to make the most of every rep while training from home. Think slowing down your moves. 

BENEFITS OF TEMPO TRAINING: 

TEACHES MOVEMENT CONTROL – Whether you’re a beginner, been using the gym for a while or a professional athlete, maintaining proper movement mechanics is the best way to improve strength and help avoid injury. 

ADDS TRAINING VARIETY – The possible combinations for tempo training are endless allowing you to keep your home workouts exciting and varied, as well as developing strength in the muscles. From targeting the eccentric portion to promote hypertrophy and metabolic response or the concentric phase to develop power and explosive strength, tempo training will benefit every goal. 

INCREASES TIME UNDER TENSION (TUT) – Whenever you manipulate TUT with an exercise it changes the response your body will have. For instance, bodybuilders will focus on the eccentric phase as this helps to promote lean muscle growth. The difference in the shape of biceps is evident in this, some biceps are large throughout the length of the upper arm, and some display a peak bulge. The long bicep has been performing moves throughout the range of a bicep curl, whereas the bulging bicep has increased the tension at the concentric phase.

HOW DO I DO IT?

Firstly, you need to know how to read a tempo format when you add this to your workout.

1010 – no this is no part of a binary code, this is your new workout language.

  • The first number represents the descent portion (eccentric phase) when the weight moves down e.g squatting down. 
  • The second number is the pause at the bottom e.g holding the squat position
  • The third number represents the ascent portion (concentric phase) when the weight moves up e.g coming out of the squat position. Sometimes you may see an ‘X’ which represents exploding as fast as possible or an ‘A’ which represents assisted up.
  • The fourth number is the pause at the top. For a squat this would be the start position, for a pull up this would be when you hold the top position with your chin over the bar. 

Secondly, it’s worth understanding simple movement mechanics and how the muscle reacts for a given exercise. This will allow you to adapt your tempo depending on the move.

ECCENTRIC – Lengthening of the muscle. Think the lowering phase of a bicep curl.

CONCENTRIC – Shortening of the muscle. Think the lifting phase of a bicep curl.

  • Tempo numbers are always written (Eccentric, Pause, Concentric, Pause) so check you know the movement pattern for the exercise you are completing, the easiest way to remember this is moving down will be eccentric, moving up will be concentric.
  • Exercises like pull-ups and deadlifts will start in the concentric phase. So you would read the sequence number 3,4,1 and 2 to get the correct tempo. 

Every individual will have different tempo prescriptions, due to their sporting or fitness needs, but changing the tempo can create a change in your normal routine.

Try these tempos out for the following exercises; Press Up, Squat, Lateral Raise, Bicep Curl.

1 – 0 – 2 – 0

4 – 2 – X – 1

2 – 2 – 2 – 2

Get in touch with one of our trainers to help you find your tempo training sweet spot.

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