Updated: Dec 16, 2022
Preview: In this post, we discuss what Tempo Training is, how to include Tempo in your workouts & the benefits of Tempo Training.
Understanding The Contractile Ability Of Muscle
There are 4 primary phases of Muscular Contraction:
Eccentric Phase is the force produced while muscle fibres lengthen under load.
Isometric Stretch Phase is the force produced when the muscle fibres tenporarily hold load while in the most lengthened position.
Contraction Phase is the force produced when the muscle fibres shorten against a load.
Isometric Contraction Phase is the force produced when the muscle fibres temporarily hold load while in the most shortened position.
With Tempo Training, the lifter simply uses time (in seconds) to increase the amount of force applied by the muscle in a specific phase.
How To Include Tempo In Your Workouts
Before including Tempo, you must first understand the perscription order:
First Number = Eccentric Phase
Second Number = Isometric Stretch Phase
Third Number = Contraction Phase
Forth Number = Isometric Contraction Phase
Tempo example: 3/2/0/1 (in seconds)
A lifter will be strongest in the Eccentric Phase, followed by Isometric Contraction Phase, followed by the Concentric Phase.
When you exhaust the Concentric Phase, you still have energy reserved to apply force in the Isometric Contracted Phase & still more energy reserved for the Eccentric Phase.
Applying controlled force in the Isometric Stretch Phase has been shown to enhance Joint Mobilization, Increase Muscular Flexibility & have a positive influence on the mechanisms behind Muscle Hypertrophy.
The Benefits of Tempo Training
For starters, utilizing Tempo requires a lifter to perform a movement with greater intention & attention, thereby enhancing lifter intensity.
Also, Tempo Training helps a lifter acquire skills and characteristics that may improve athletic performance. For example, the Eccentric Phase teaches a lifter how to absorb energy (great for Defensive Line Men). The Isometric Stretch Phase will enhance Joint Mobility & Muscle Flexibility. The Concentric Phase teaches a lifter how to create energy; both Explosive (starting strength) Energy and how to Accelerate (great for Sprinters). And finally, the Isometric Contraction Phase teaches a lifter to hold or contain force (think Wrestling).
Depending on your goals, more time would be required in specific phases to illicit positive adaptions. However, for the general population the Concentric Phase coupled with the Isometric Stretch Phase provides the most benefits.
Using Tempo in a workouts provides opportunities to teach the lifter how to address positional weakness and control movements so that each and every lift is consistently well-executed. Give Tempo Training a try, you won't be disappointed.