Tempo training assigns a specific tempo (speed) to a lift to control the time under tension (TUT) ie. the time which a muscle is under load. The amount of time under tension that a muscle experiences can greatly effect the results you get from training.
Tempo is typically written with 4-digits. An example would be 4020 where…
- 4 refers the amount of seconds in the eccentric phase of the lift (lengthening of the muscle under load)
- 0 refers to the amount of seconds spent “in the bottom” of the rep, in this case zero.
- 2 refers to the amount of seconds spent in the concentric phase of the lift (shortening of the muscle under load)
- 0 refers to the amount of seconds spent “in the top” of the rep, in this case zero as well.
In the case of a Back Squat for a set of 5 reps, this would mean that lowering the weight take 4 seconds, no pause at the bottom, standing up takes 2 seconds, and no pause at the top, REPEAT for 5 reps or a total time of 30 seconds TUT for the set.
- Increases Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) which is energy expenditure after training. The increase in metabolism increases fat burning which is important to many of us!
- Increase Strength especially when the eccentric component of the lift is slowed down.
- For beginners allows for more focus on mechanics while minimizing risks associated with heavy lifting.
- Can help to reduce the risk of injury in sports (notably reducing hamstring strains by performing tempo deadlifts or single leg deadlifts in sports that involve quick sprints)