Guide to Tempo Training

Guide to Tempo Training

Daniel Burford

Tempo training is a powerful muscle growth technique often overlooked by novice bodybuilders and lifters. By manipulating the time taken to perform a given part of a repetition, we're able to directly affect what muscle fibres are used, activated and torn.

This is a technique that can be utilised in workout and training programs for a variety of goals, including muscle growth, fat loss, weight loss and to get leaner. However, as you'll see taking advantage of tempo training for your desired results can be difficult without a proven program to follow.

In this blog post, I'm going to talk about tempo training, what it is and how it can benefit your workouts instantaneously!

Let's get started.

What is tempo training?

Tempo training refers to the speed at which you lift, hold and drop the weight.

Australian coach Ian King introduced tempo training with 3 movement parts. Charles Poliquin built upon this framework and introduced an additional count to make it 4 movement parts. 

Tempo Training

One of the strongest features of the acclaimed Shredded Workout Program is the use of tempo training that follows 4 movement parts because of the significantly increased metabolic output. This type of training is highly advanced, easy to follow and produces consistent results.

Understanding tempo training

The typical tempo training format is 4/1/1/1. 

The numbers represent seconds that should be counted as "one-one thousand" to ensure adherence to the plan. 

First Number: this refers to the eccentric phase. For example, lowering the barbell to your chest in a chest press. 

Second number: refers to how long to hold the weight once at the bottom of the eccentric phase. For example, just above your chest when performing a chest press.

Third number: This is the concentric phase - the part where you're lifting the weight and your muscles are contracting. For example, lifting the barbell from your chest when performing a chest press.

Forth number: This is the pause at the top before you lower the weight again. For example, this is where you would hold the weight up with your arms extended as far as you can, before lowering it to your chest.

What does "X" mean in tempo training?

X means to explode the movement. This is common in the concentric stage. Not to be confused with "0".

Tempo Training Summary

Tempo training is an innovative technique that should be introduced into your training program as soon as possible. However, it is often difficult to know exactly how to use tempo training for best results, unless you have a proven shortcut you can follow.

Any questions about tempo training, feel free to ask in the comments below.

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