What is the missing link in most training programs and why is it tempo? If you know, you know. If you don’t know, keep reading.
▪️Top and bottom positions
▪️Eccentric (muscle contracting while LENGTHENING). Normally the lowering phase but not always.
▪️Concentric (muscle contracting while SHORTENING in length). Normally the rising phase but not always.
Technically there is always a tempo taking place, but is it ASSIGNED in a program? That is the question. So maybe you’re taking half a second to lower down in squats, bouncing out of the bottom and then taking two seconds to stand up. That would be the “tempo.”
How do you read it if you see it in your program?
It is written in the order the phases take place (which will differ from movement to movement).
Squat = eccentric, bottom, concentric, top
Deadlift = concentric, top, eccentric, bottom
So if we wanted an eccentric tempo of 3 seconds, the squat and deadlift would be written like so:
✅Squat = 22.214.171.124
✅Deadlift = 126.96.36.199
Tracking? I have an entire coaching call on this inside Annie’s Secret Lab of Brain Gains (exclusive to Built By Annie clients), because it needs more than a single blog post. But the purpose of this is THE BASICS.
Tempo training can be as intense as 4-5 seconds eccentric and 2-4 second concentric, or long pauses at the top or bottom of a movement. All of this increases time under tension at a given joint angle or portion of a movement. and it can be applied to almost any movement. Certainly most resistance training exercises, from squats to seated rows. More gains all around!
Just know that tempo could be the missing piece to your programming. And it’s worth learning about + implementing. For now, try just SLOWING DOWN your eccentric phase (lowering), and pausing for a second in your end range (bottom of squat, bottom of bench press, top of deadlift, top of hip thrust etc).
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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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