Get the workout results you want by changing 1 simple rule in your workout’s – TEMPOS !
Do you find yourself going to the gym and doing the same old exercises – just going through the motions. And if your honest just accomplishing attending the gym but no real results to speak of.
Variation in your training program is important – and there are many ways to manipulate this: sets, reps, exercises, rest intervals. But one that’s not considered to often, and can have the most dramatic effect is tempos. As they cycle through Phases of training all my Online Coaching clients will engage in specific tempo prescription for their goals.
Four-Point Tempo Prescription Protocol =
• The first movement is the lowering portion or what is called the eccentric phase.
• The second phase is the Isometric hold (pause) before lifting the weight.
• The third phase, obviously, is the lifting portion of the exercise, or what is
called the concentric phase. Where we work against the resistance.
• And finally to complete the pattern we arrive back at the start position (contracted)
So let’s touch on each of these four positions and see how they would effect your exercises.
The eccentric (lowering) portion of each rep is what causes the most muscular damage and post-exercise soreness. You can bet whenever you hear someone say ‘Wow I’m so sore from my workout” it’s due to them spending more time in the eccentric portion.
In the trade we call this – (DOMS) Delayed onset muscle soreness
Using the Push Up as an example – starting in Push Up Plank at the top of the rep start to slowly lower your body ‘under control’ to the ground. Eccentric emphasis would be used for Muscle Gain and grooving a new movement pattern. It’s a very humbling action, with the extra time under tension a set of 10 (rep a second) presses will turn into 5 very quickly. Give one or two a try now… take at least 4 Seconds to get down to the floor (lowering consistent with the time).
I want to note that the isometric and contracted holds can be interchangeable depending on the exercise and where you start. Let’s use the deadlift as an example – from lowering the barbell to the ground I find myself in the Isometric portion where I am setting my position just prior to the lift. In the Deadlift this is probably the most important portion, its here that we establish our normal spine, find tension in the body, and pre load the system read for the lift.
Sticking with the deadlift – from the ground we perform the lift working against the resistance. We can use this to develop speed, strength and power. It’s here where we learn which muscle group(s) are the prime movers in the exercise. In the video below I’m using a Goblet Squat and slowing down the standing motion.
After ripping the bar off the ground we arrive at the top of the lift where we are again under tension – contracting the dominant muscle group in the particular lift. Which would be the Gluteals in our DL example.
All 4 positions total the time spent on the repetition. For example a tempo count of – 3211 would, yes you guessed it, be 7 seconds for the Rep. This is known as TUT (time under tension) Don’t worry once you’ve performed a couple of reps with the prescribed tempo you should be able to commit it to ‘muscle’ memory for the full set without counting for eery rep. And you only have to change one number to see a noticeable difference.
Putting it into practice..
To start with I recommend manipulating the lowering (eccentric) phase – like I mentioned above in the push up example. So the next time your in the gym for every exercise you normally do, pick a tempo prescription to follow and I guarantee even though all the other variables are the same it will feel like a completely different workout.
Drop a comment below if you have any questions.