What is Tempo?

What is Tempo?

03 Mar

What is Tempo?


Resistance training, whether it’s lifting external weights or your bodyweight, is a staple in all of our gyms. It’s a tool that our coaches use to help their clients reach their goals and live a prosperous life.

But not all resistance training is created equal. One of the tools our coaches use to create highly effective and personalized resistance programs is tempo.

To help you make the most of resistance training, let’s address what tempo is and its benefits. 

What is Tempo?

Tempo is how fast you perform an exercise. When written, it has four numbers (ex: @2121), and each number refers to a different segment of the movement. 

The first number refers to the eccentric or lowering portion—the lengthening of the muscle. 

The second number refers to the isometric pause at the bottom of the exercise—the hold after the muscle has lengthened.

The third number refers to the concentric or raising portion—the shortening of the muscle.

The fourth and final number refers to the isometric pause at the top of the exercise—the hold once it is complete.

An example of Tempo:

For example, Back Squat with the tempo @4210 is 4 seconds lowering, 2 seconds pause at the bottom, 1 second raising, 0 seconds pause at the top.

The Benefits of Tempo:

Our coaches include a tempo with every exercise because it has several benefits.

First, it’s a great way to create consistency. Using tempo, your coach can make sure you are doing the same exercise for the exact amount of time for multiple weeks in a row. 

Second, it’s a great way to address weaknesses. If you struggle with a specific movement pattern, a slower tempo will strengthen that pattern. You can also use it to strengthen a particular segment of an exercise, such as lowering with control.

Thirdly, it controls the stimulus of the exercise. Depending on the tempo, your coach can change the exercise’s stimulus to match your goal, whether that be building lean mass, getting stronger, or creating better movement control.

Fourthly, it's a great way to create more of a challenge when you're lifting lighter weights. The longer the tempo, the longer the muscle is under tension and the tougher the exercise is. Additionally, this is a great way to add intensity to your workout if you're training at home.

The Best Tempo for You

Tempo is a great way to make your resistance training more effective.

But as with every element of your training program, the best tempo for you depends on your goals and current ability.

That’s why all of our coaches assess their client’s abilities and consult them on their goals before designing a program. If you’re serious about your health and fitness goals, find an OPEX Gym near you today.

One of our coaches will work directly with you to create a personal training program that is highly effective and sustainable.

Find an OPEX Gym near you
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