T Nation

Benefits of Even Up/Down Tempo vs Long Eccentric Short Concentric

How does doing lifts with, for example, a 3 seconds concentric/3 second eccentric (3:3/even tempo) compare to going up faster and spending more of the time under tension in the eccentric phase, ie 1 second concentric/5 second eccentric (1:5/long eccentric)?

It seems to me the time under tension is the same (both add up to 6 seconds) so hypertrophy should theoretically be equal for these two, but the shorter concentric (1:5) might give some additional strength benefit simply from recruiting fibers a little faster on top of the same hypertrophy gains. However I see many bodybuilders like Kai seem to have more of the 3:3 tempo, so is there something about this that would give superior results over 1:5? What are the pros and cons of each?

This is Charles Poliquin-Ian King-Chad Waterbury-Arthur Jones-style speak. Because most don’t give a damn about this sort of stuff, why don’t we keep it simple.

Always control the weight down, regardless of what you’re doing. There is a way to lower a weight fast but under control when that sort of thing is desired, say a fast, yet controlled descent in the squat or bench (see Shane Hammond), but the key is control, whether the descent is slow or fast.

For pumping/isolation stuff or higher rep stuff: can use a faster concentric.

Low rep/power/strength: fast concentric.

Why are you interested in this issue in such detail?

Different muscles respond to different tempos in different ways. Lats tend to respond to well to slower tempos, for example. I don’t think there is a rule that holds true across all muscles.

some muscles respond better to TUT then others.

Quads is one of them for example.

so if we are aiming for a TUT of 40 seconds/set. we can either do squats for 10 reps at 3010, or we can do 20 reps at 1010 and any tempo in between. however its almost guaranteed that you will be able to use significantly heavier weight for the 10 reps at 3010 then you would for 20 reps at 1010.

also muscle damage is caused primary by the eccentric contraction and although muscle damage isn’t the only thing that causes hypertrophy, it is one of the most dramatic.