Maximise Strength & Muscle Development Through Tempo Training

March 17, 2023 3 min read

Maximise Strength & Muscle Development Through Tempo Training

What is Tempo Training?

Tempo training is a form of resistance exercise designed to enhance speed of repetitions. Studies have demonstrated that it can effectively build both strength and muscle, in addition to enhancing endurance, balance, and flexibility. 

Tempo training is a technique for weightlifting, designed to promote strength training, size, conditioning, and athletic performance.

Tempo training employs an exact exercise tempo to maximize exercise intensity and mitigate the risk of injury. This type of training applies to multiple exercises, such as bench press, deadlift, and squats, depending on the intensity of the exercise routine.

A highly efficient method of gaining muscle & strength.

Tempo training is an exceptional technique for building muscle and strength. It enables users to increase muscularity without excessive weight or repetitions, making it suitable for both newcomers and experienced lifters who seek to augment strength through improved form instead of relying on hefty loads.

The "time under tension" of a lift, or Tempo, is determined by how long muscles are engaged in an exercise. For example, performing 10 repetitions of squats at a tempo of 1 second up and 1 second down with a weight of 50Kg is distinctive from the same reps at a 1 second up and 4 second down tempo.

Muscles are exposed to the weight or tension for a duration of 20 seconds in one variation versus 50 seconds in the other, a difference of 30 seconds in stimulus to the musculature and nervous system.

Writing prescriptions with Tempo into your Programs

Four numerical values are employed in tempo training, such as this:

  • 4210
  • The initial figure (4) represents the duration of the eccentric phase (the "down" movement for most exercises).
  • The subsequent figure (2) dictates a holding period preceding concentric motion.
  • The third figure (1) is for the concentric movement (lifting or upward action) of most exercises.
  • The fourth figure (0) denotes the lapse before repetition resumes.

A 4210 tempo squat requires four seconds of lowering the weight, a two-second pause at the bottom, and a one-second push upwards before repetition.

Establish Baseline Strength

Strength training has seen a further rise in demand, prompting more people to incorporate weights into their routines. To speed up progress,or creating variety,  counting tempo is recommended, with 4010 or 3010 being common starting points.

These moderate loads at slower tempos enhance technique and build muscle strength with minimal risk of injury.

Overcoming  Strength Plateaus

Controlled eccentric tempos are effective for building a foundation of strength, but after several years of training, you must explore other means to activate the neuromuscular system. Incorporating ballistic and high-velocity tempos into your program can optimize strength gains.

For example, one study found that compared to “going through the motions” without a specific tempo, athletes who lifted “as fast as they could” improved maximal bench press strength by 10 percent after only 6 training sessions.

Increasing Muscle Gains

Maximizing muscle mass necessitates stimulating protein synthesis to engender muscle fiber growth, while also targeting the more difficult to reach difficult-threshold motor units. Research has revealed that 6-second eccentric tempos can induce a three times greater muscle-building result than 1-second tempos.

For maximum long-term benefits, it is beneficial to practice ballistic, forceful tempos that target the Type IIX fibers, resulting in the recruitment of a higher proportion of muscle fibers.

Improve  Your Body Composition

To induce a metabolic disturbance, a common goal during fat-loss training, manipulating the tempo of lifting can be effective. An illustration of this is a study which investigated the impact of a 4010 tempo and a tempo of 1.5 seconds for both the concentric and eccentric motions on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), an indicator of energy expenditure.

Results indicated that the 4010 tempo prompted a notable rise in EPOC, which is understandable due to the extended duration of the exercise. Furthermore, a longer exercising time also encourages release of growth hormone, an effective fat burning hormone. Thus, this suggests that working out with a slower tempo could prompt a beneficial expansion of growth hormone and a post-exercise process of heightened calorie expenditure.

Concluding Thoughts

Programming loading parameters such as tempo during training gives you precise insight into the stimulus you are applying to your body, allowing  you to take charge of your workouts so that you can reach your desired results quicker.

This article's intention is to provide some guidance as to the advantages of tempo training with respect to bodybuilding and functional fitness regimens.

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