What is tempo in strength training?
Time under tension (TUT) also known as tempo training.
We can look to place a desired tempo on a certain movement. Varying the speed in which a movement is performed puts a different stress on the body. We use tempo’s for a number of reasons with our ladies.
By placing a tempo on a movement this can enable our ladies to develop more control under load. It can also positively impact body awareness, build muscle and address shortfalls in their lifting. It can help to build stability and motor patterns with any lifter.
There are four numbers in a tempo sequence.
- The eccentric phase: the first number is the lowering component or stretching of the muscles
- The pause: after the eccentric at the midpoint of the movement
- The concentric phase: is the lifting component which is the contraction of the muscles
- The pause at the end of the lift: any pauses at the top
We can place a tempo on lots of different exercises depending on what we want to influence as a physiological adaptation.
For example utilising a tempo of 2010 on a squat was used to help our babes learn to control the weight in her descent as she had a tendency to rush her hip hinge which left her lift unsteady. This meant that she would squat for 2 seconds down with no pause at the bottom.
Another example may be where we have used a tempo of 1310 on a bench press. This would mean that the babe would hold the bar on her chest for 3 seconds. This would be used to help teach her how to hold a steady position on her chest with a load.
A tempo of 2010 and 1310 makes sense on these lifts as the bar is lowering down. Tempo can be a little confusing when used for an exercise that doesn’t start with the lowering phase like an overhead press or a chin up. Remember that the tempo doesn’t automatically equate to the direction so to speak. The first number is always the eccentric part of the movement.
For example you may have an overhead press and wish to push the weight up with a powerful controlled movement and lower it back down (eccentric) to your chest with a tempo of 2 seconds. This would have a tempo of 2010.
Utilising time under tension or tempo training is a powerful tool that can be employed in your training.
We love adding various tempos to our ladies programming but sometimes they don’t love it as much as we do!