Exercise tempo, what is it, how it works and why we use it.
So tempo is the cryptic code that you see listed on your program that often looks something like this 3111 or 40X0.
This can be confusing, so lets break it down…
Each symbol represents a period of time (in seconds) in a specific phase of an exercise.
The first symbol is the eccentric phase of the exercise
Second is the isometric hold
Third symbol is the concentric phase
Fourth is the second isometric hold.
Using a Back squat with 41X0 as an example.
  • 4 – Taking 4 seconds to transfer from standing to the bottom position of the squat
  • 1 – Taking a 1 second pause at the bottom of the squat.
  • X – ‘X’ Stands for explosive, so moving explosive from the bottom position to the standing position.
  • 0 – Taking a 0 second rest at the top of the squat.
  • We use tempo to target an intended stimulus of a workout.
  • Again using the Back squat as an example, using the same rep range of 5 sets of 5 but changing the tempo can completely change the bodies adaptation.
  • 20X0 for relative strength 5210 for hypertrophy (Muscle growth).