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Chaos and Distracted Tempo Training

I was thinking the other day about Chad’s recent article series on tempo training and why he doesn’t like it. While I agree that it isn’t the end-all, be-all that some might I don’t think that dismissing it outright is a good idea, especially given the reason he stated. If I understand it correctly his main arguement centered around the counting actually interfering with your nueral process and potentially distracting you and making you weaker. My question is, so what?

How many times are you undistracted in the field of play? Why would purposefully go out of your way to minimize any and all distractions all of the time be a good idea when you are going to have to display strength and power while being far more distracted by your competition than counting will ever make you?

Implementing some chaos in your workouts is probably a good thing from my perspective

Although there is an element of logic in your argument, I’d counter with the notion that the weight room is for building strength, not learning how to deal with distractions.

[quote]bikejames wrote:
I was thinking the other day about Chad’s recent article series on tempo training and why he doesn’t like it. While I agree that it isn’t the end-all, be-all that some might I don’t think that dismissing it outright is a good idea, especially given the reason he stated. If I understand it correctly his main arguement centered around the counting actually interfering with your nueral process and potentially distracting you and making you weaker. My question is, so what?

How many times are you undistracted in the field of play? Why would purposefully go out of your way to minimize any and all distractions all of the time be a good idea when you are going to have to display strength and power while being far more distracted by your competition than counting will ever make you?

Implementing some chaos in your workouts is probably a good thing from my perspective[/quote]

Very true, but if minimal distractions, maximum strength/ power display are you’re goals then why would you want to do complex training? My original thought actually occured as I was doing Renegade style complexes using front squats and push presses. As I was doing them in a 2:1 ratio, three rounds in a set I realized how much I was having to concentrate on where I was in the set, and how if I didn’t concentrate really hard on doing the exercise I was noticably slower with my bar speed. I had to re-double my efforts in concentration to throw the weight around like I wanted, but I was able to overcome it.

This told me that you can overcome choas created in training programs and that tempo was simply an easy form of chaos thrown in. If you can’t deal with such a simple thing as counting during a rep how can you be expected to do more complicated things (like complex training) much less deal with your chosen field of play?

I’m not saying that you should always use tmepo training, simply that I don’t view the arguement presented by Chad (which had some extremely good science behind it) to never do tempo training to be a very valid one when viewed from a common sense point of view. Who cares if you lose some strength when you count? Overcome it and learn to deal with the distraction it creates (during times you do use tempo training) and you’ve made yourself a more mentally tough athlete.

[quote]bikejames wrote:
Very true, but if minimal distractions, maximum strength/ power display are you’re goals then why would you want to do complex training? My original thought actually occured as I was doing Renegade style complexes using front squats and push presses. As I was doing them in a 2:1 ratio, three rounds in a set I realized how much I was having to concentrate on where I was in the set, and how if I didn’t concentrate really hard on doing the exercise I was noticably slower with my bar speed. I had to re-double my efforts in concentration to throw the weight around like I wanted, but I was able to overcome it.

This told me that you can overcome choas created in training programs and that tempo was simply an easy form of chaos thrown in. If you can’t deal with such a simple thing as counting during a rep how can you be expected to do more complicated things (like complex training) much less deal with your chosen field of play?

I’m not saying that you should always use tmepo training, simply that I don’t view the arguement presented by Chad (which had some extremely good science behind it) to never do tempo training to be a very valid one when viewed from a common sense point of view. Who cares if you lose some strength when you count? Overcome it and learn to deal with the distraction it creates (during times you do use tempo training) and you’ve made yourself a more mentally tough athlete.[/quote]

Learn to overcome distractions when not in the weight room, but when you’re practicing your sport or some other activity. Don’t make lifting too sport specific, it is for getting stronger.

Waterbury doesn’t like tempo training for the same reason most hardcore strength trainers don’t like tempo training - it neglects athletic performance and strength while building sarcoplasmic muscle volume which doesn’t have much use in the field. Pretty much the fake notion of it all. Hence Cahd’s Lift Fast, Thibadeau’s Superman Sets and Tsatsouline’s Bear programs.

Would I discard tempo training completely - yes. If you actually count seconds or look at the clock while doing reps that’s at least stupid. But I wouldn’t say slower repetition speeds aren’t of any use as far as building mass goes. Overall time under tension you’ve accumulated during the week does matter and this is one of the ways to do it.

I mean just look at gymnasts - they live off of crackers and salads and they still have big biceps from all that time under tension. I don’t care if it’s ‘fake’, there’s some benefit to doing things a little slower, with lower weight and high volume.

Not that Superslow has other uses besides being a bumper sticker on senior citizen’s cars.

Listen, I first want to clarify that I do not use tempo training a great deal with my training or with my clients programs. I do like to use it to help teach form with certain individuals (if someone can’t stop lowering the weight too quickly telling him to count to 3-4 while lowering will always slow him down).

I also think it has a place in rehab settings where you would sometimes want to limit the ballistic shock that usually comes with faster tempos, thus calling for slower tempos to purposefully be prescribed. In addition, you also are usually trying to control as many variables as possible with acute rehab making tempo prescriptions helpful in this situation as well.

I would like to point out, however, that several world class strength coaches have used tempo training with amazing success. I would dare say that Charles Poliquin and Ian King have trained more world champion athletes than the entire current crop of T-Mag writers combined (I mean no disrespect to them but that is the truth). Both of these men extensively use tempo training in their programs. Obviously it is far from a “performance robbing” method.

Listen, my point is simply this…tempo training offers a potential tool in your training arsenal. You may never use it but to dismiss it completely based on the argument presented by Chad is foolish. You will adapt to the tempo very quickly and that adaptation (overcoming a potential distraction to maximally display strength/ power) could have some value in athletics.

Let’s look at one of Chad’s own examples…of course making people count backwards from 100 by 7 is going to mess them up at first. But if you practice counting backwards by 7, make it second nature, you will eventually adapt to it and return to your “non-counting” strength levels.

Same with tempo. You may initially lose some strength/ power (and I kind of doubt even that) but you will adapt to it very quickly and the tempo becomes second nature with less actual counting and more use of an internal timer.

I like Chad as a writer and leader in the field of strength coaching. This is nothing personal against him, I think he’s right on the money 99.9% of the time. But this time I think he may need to temper his conclusion a bit. Tempo training does have it’s place and enjoys an amazing track record when used by someone who really understands it (Poliquin and King).

Not to talk for CW here but I dont think it is a thing about not using tempo or pauses but one of not focusiong or counting it. you simply use a controlled negative and on pauses he may say 3 seconds but you dont count it you ONLY think about Holding that weight not taking your mind off of it, You will guess when the pause has been about three give or take.

I think that may clearify a little.

[quote]Phill wrote:
Not to talk for CW here but I dont think it is a thing about not using tempo or pauses but one of not focusiong or counting it. you simply use a controlled negative and on pauses he may say 3 seconds but you dont count it you ONLY think about Holding that weight not taking your mind off of it, You will guess when the pause has been about three give or take.

I think that may clearify a little. [/quote]

Doesn’t clarify anything. No where did I say that Chad didn’t like pauses, but he did specifically say “let the weight control the tempo” and did suggest that actual tempo prescriptions (where time is assigned to each portion of the rep and you have to think about it) could be detrimental to strength and power work.

This leads me back to my original points which have been stated many times by now. No one has been able to give me a valid reason to dismiss all tempo training based on the “distraction” theory in light of the arguements I’ve presented.

  1. Poliquin and King don’t use slow tempos with athletes, because athletes don’t need bodybuilding workouts, they need performance. Poliquin, King and others used slow tempos in their BODYBUILDING WOKOUTS. Slow tempos have no athletic benefit.

  2. Counting tempo in seconds while performing an exercise WILL screw up your reps and break your concentration. Therefore you should try to memorise how slow you should do a movement and just perform it with that speed instead of actually counting.

Tempo training has its place. Just have your partner count for you, or use a metrenome. Explosive movements also have their place. Currently, I use both. I’ve been having trouble getting off of the bottom on the bench, so to rectify this it was recomended I use a controled drop(maybee @ 2), pause at the bottom (@4) to lose elasticity, then explode. The nice part of this is that on the eccentric portion of the lift, no counting is required. Seems to be working.

As far as distraction goes, have you tried seeing what happens once you are conditioned to counting, then lifting without counting?

[quote]w2097 wrote:

  1. Poliquin and King don’t use slow tempos with athletes, because athletes don’t need bodybuilding workouts, they need performance. Poliquin, King and others used slow tempos in their BODYBUILDING WOKOUTS. Slow tempos have no athletic benefit.

  2. Counting tempo in seconds while performing an exercise WILL screw up your reps and break your concentration. Therefore you should try to memorise how slow you should do a movement and just perform it with that speed instead of actually counting.[/quote]

Are you kidding? That’s what tempo training is. Assign a tempo, count it the first couple of times while memorizing it and then you concentrate less on it and more on the exercise while you let your internal timer take over.

And according tho Chad’s article there is no need to use tempo under any circumstances, with the possible exception of teaching form. No where did I suggest the use of slower tempos for athletics.

This is a very good example of why debates in this medium suck. Suddenly I’m having to spend time clarifying my point, despite several lengthy posts. Don’t read into what I say. Simply debate what I specifically mentioned.

Forget about it…obviously no one with half a brain can respond to the very specific point that I made. Use Chad’s article as an excuse to never use tempo training again…

There is another flaw in our logic - there is a difference between internal and external distractions. External distractions, such as angry fans yelling at the athletes, are very different than internal distractions, such as counting tempo inside your own head. You can learn to tune out external distractions.

Unless you have some strange multiple personality disorder, you can’t tune out what’s going on in your own head, although you might be able to learn how to perform multiple tasks at once. I would say that counting tempo is useless in learning to tune out distractions.

One other point: Chad is against counting tempo, not against tempo training per se. Unlike those who recommend counting tempo and moving the weight for the prescribed number of seconds, Chad manipulates tempo by increasing or decreasing the amount of weight used. A heavy weight will naturally be moved at a slower pace, without the need for counting, even if the lifter is trying to move the weight as fast as possible. IMO, this is a much more intelligent way of manipulating tempo. I think he mentions this concept in the Art of Waterbury.

I didn’t catch Chad’s article but I’m reminded of two things. People can walk and chew gum at the same time and people who write about training come up with some of the silliest stuf.

[quote]kellyc wrote:
I didn’t catch Chad’s article but I’m reminded of two things. People can walk and chew gum at the same time and people who write about training come up with some of the silliest stuf.
[/quote]

I’m reminded that people should actually read the article before making retarded comments about it.

[quote]Dave2 wrote:
kellyc wrote:
I didn’t catch Chad’s article but I’m reminded of two things. People can walk and chew gum at the same time and people who write about training come up with some of the silliest stuf.

I’m reminded that people should actually read the article before making retarded comments about it.

[/quote]

Point taken. Anyone got a link?

[quote]kellyc wrote:
I didn’t catch Chad’s article but I’m reminded of two things. People can walk and chew gum at the same time and people who write about training come up with some of the silliest stuf.
[/quote]

Chad never said you couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time. But that’s not the right question. The right question is whether you can sprint and chew gum at the same time. According to Chad, the gum-chewing will detract from your sprint so that, while you could sprint some, you will not be sprinting as fast as you could if you weren’t chewing gum.

Bottom line: if you want to walk and chew gum you’ll just end up walking, maybe jogging, rather reaching maximum sprint speed.

[quote]bikejames wrote:
Are you kidding? That’s what tempo training is. Assign a tempo, count it the first couple of times while memorizing it and then you concentrate less on it and more on the exercise while you let your internal timer take over.

And according tho Chad’s article there is no need to use tempo under any circumstances, with the possible exception of teaching form. No where did I suggest the use of slower tempos for athletics.

This is a very good example of why debates in this medium suck. Suddenly I’m having to spend time clarifying my point, despite several lengthy posts. Don’t read into what I say. Simply debate what I specifically mentioned.

Forget about it…obviously no one with half a brain can respond to the very specific point that I made. Use Chad’s article as an excuse to never use tempo training again…[/quote]

No, I’m not kidding. The whole damn point of tempo is so that all the repetitions would be performed at the same speed, which in turn means counting them. When you count your rep is screwed. No, you can’t block it out of your mind because your mind is what’s doing the counting. That was your original point, that you can count and concentrate at the same time, remember?

I totally agree that there are uses for slower tempos, especially for bodybuilding and general stability effect of thoroughly going through the motions of the movement. And the only thing I’m against is 6 second eccentric or concentric phases and actually counting while performing. Otherwise I use many tempos throughout any given workout and even set. I just don’t count them, and that’s good variety.

I already pointed out why all the strength coaches are against slower tempos - it’s because they’re biased. They only know maximum strength and power, both of which are inapropriate mediums to be trained slowly. I’ve also heard the argument that it builds sarcoplasmic volume instead of sarcomeres. I’m fine with that and I don’t like to be told that it’s a complete waste when it works.