T Nation

Does anyone actually do...

…3 second eccentrics?

I’ve read the articles on this site regarding tempo and I’ve also read Ian King’s new book…I see ‘311’ in a lot of these programs as being the prescribed tempo.

Prior to a few months ago, I had never in my life paid attention to tempo other than to make sure I controlled the weight on the eccentric and did not use momentum between the eccentric and concentric.

So I decided to try a ‘311’ tempo for the last two months…I hate it. I don’t mind the pause, and I wouldn’t mind a 2 second eccentric as much, but using three seconds to lower a weight feels as if the whole workout is about how much weight I can lower. To me, that’s the shit part of training…making it nearly the entire focus makes me not want to even train. In addition, DURING a repetition, I feel as though all of my attention is devoted to timing the lifts…I even lose my rep count half of the time.

But there is a part of me that is of the opinion that these slower eccentrics (slower than I’m used to, anyway) must be beneficial if everyone is touting them (I’ve only read one article on this website where an author explicitly said that he doesn’t worry about time under tension because he thinks it takes focus away from the more important portion of the lift.) So I’m gonna keep trying them, hoping that I develop some level of affinity for them.

I wanna know how many of you actually follow these (relatively) slow rep tempos? Do you like them, or do you just do them because they are recommended? And have you noticed any acceleration of progress since you’ve begun using them?


This reminds me of what Patricia is always touting: this is a lifestyle.

If you don’t enjoy it, you are not going to continue doing it. I have also used tempos extensively in the past. But while doing westside and now in CW’s ABBH program, I have allot more fun working out. So I’m sticking with the “controlled eccentrics” and “explosive concentrics” for now.

In Faith,

To me, lift tempos are like anythning else in training: they need to be switched up every so often for optimal results. I’ve done 311’s. I’ve also done eccentrics as slow as six seconds. In my current routine, I just control it as much as possible. Just experiment with it and see how it effects you!

I follow 311 in a 6-12 rep range, but I switch it up from time to time, and also do programs with only a “controlled eccentric” (Chad has said “ideally” 201)

It takes practice. I imagine that the worst scenario is to decrease tempo from week to week, as you “do more work” by adding reps or load.

Hardly anybody at the gym I go to even uses 211. A lot of people at the gym I think have mixed feelings about my controlled tempos. Intuitively, they know its harder, but they probably think I’m holding myself back from the “big weight” (that they use for blinding fast half reps) They may even think I’m relying on some scientific basis that I’m not talking about, which makes me a snob.

of course we follow tempo paramaters!!! that doesnt mean it is always a 311. it could be 402 or 21x0.

hell, i even vary the tempo when i spank off.

Are you a 50-something accountant, and if so, are you saying you don’t like to count seconds on the eccentric? Something’s not right. Seriously though, coming from a nearly 40 year old CPA, changing the timing during your reps has merit, but for me it seems to be one of the lesser variables as far as results go. I prefer Waterbury’s ABBH program and controlling the eccentric, but not getting to wrapped up in the numbers. My strength (and enjoyment) suffers quickly when I overly emphasize the eccentrics. As with just about everything, you need to find what works best for you.

I have really enjoyed reading the responses in this post.

I too have wondered how many trainees follow the advice from those who preach strict tempo.

Personally, I may do one 6 wk. cycle per year where I actually calculate tempo. people have been lifting weights for a long time without strict tempo counts and many great physiques have been built. Do you need to count seconds on the eccentric to build muscle? No!

That is not to say that new research should be ignored. On the contrary I enjoy reading all of the lastest research and training articles by T-Nations in house Guru’s and others as well.

ironic, I’m an accountant but I’m nowhere near fifty-something…I’m 27. If you put 135lbs. across my traps and asked me to amortize a 60 month loan at 3.75%, I wouldn’t be able to do it.

I figured I wasn’t the only guy who wasn’t into these long eccentrics. I’ll mix them in occasionally.

I’m in the middle of a program where I’m doing a ‘612’ tempo and I personally hate it. Its effective, and its painful after 4 or 5 sets, but it makes a nice change from the traditional training. I personally like to keep my tempo pretty quick, but I find that slowing it down now and then makes for a nice change.

I’m with irondoc.

Let’s not begin to overly concern ourselves with every wee number. Let’s begin to concern ourselves with improving our performance. Mmm’kay?

I understand having to know this information; however, at some point it’s more important to just not wrap your brain into every little detail and just get your ass in the gym and do the work. And see what happens. Modify where you need it. As you need to.

I fail to see how comments like this “however, at some point it’s more important to just not wrap your brain into every little detail and just get your ass in the gym and do the work. And see what happens. Modify where you need it. As you need to.” have any merit on this forum. It is obvious that everyone here gets our asses to the gym and does the work. So all that’s left is getting our heads around the details, because that makes the difference between good and great. Do you think it’s not worth paying much attention to the details in our diets as well? how about the details in form during the exercises?

I’m all for lifting heavy things over and over, but “life is in the details”.

But I digress…to answer cpa5oh’s question, I pay attention to my tempo for most of my training. I pay extra attention during specific routines such as Limping, Superstrength etc. Those 802 tempos at the end of Limping Part I are a real bitch!

Yes, I do them regularly. My most common tempo that I use is 3-0-1. I remember back when Muscle Media posted Poliquin’s German Volume Training back in 95 or so, and I tried the 4-0-2 tempos. Hated them with an absolute passion. Now, years later it is very difficult to use anything faster than 3-sec eccentrics although on some lifts I use 2-0-1.

Part of it for me is the number of people I see in my gym using “uncle mo” and just bouncing the weight up and down…it irritates me and I like to show them how it’s done, so to speak.

"I fail to see how comments like this “however, at some point it’s more important to just not wrap your brain into every little detail and just get your ass in the gym and do the work. And see what happens. Modify where you need it. As you need to.” have any merit on this forum. It is obvious that everyone here gets our asses to the gym and does the work. "

It has plenty of merit. What’s the point of following all the minute details, getting frustrated, and then quitting. It happens all the time. And this poster is on his way there.

I would put getting to the gym on a consistant basis more important than following every little detail.

Patricia, I’ll be in the gym…errr, my basement…under a bar (as long as my pre-existing injury stays manageable.) If 311 becomes too much misery for me, I’ll change to something I get enjoyment out of. What I’m hoping for is to either become indifferent to longer eccentrics or (not likely) wind up preferring them. Long ago I learned that ‘getting my ass in the gym’ is my #1 factor in gaining muscle and strength. That goes without saying. Your point is well taken.

But I even question the effectiveness of slow eccentrics (for me.) I believe I read TC say that using 4 seconds or more for the eccentric and pause was ‘the most important thing for a trainee to learn’ citing something about an elastic effect of muscles. I’m sorta a newbie…before I injured my neck two years ago I had trained for three years without any unscheduled breaks. I expected strength gains to come back to me quickly and they were for about four months when I was using controlled eccentrics and explosive concentrics. Then I went to 311 tempos (or thereabouts) and I’m not blowing through weights as I had prior. Perhaps my ‘muscle memory’ gains are slowing, as would be expected at some point, but I’m still nowhere near where I was pre injury, so I’m not so sure that’s the case. In one week I’ll have finished a ‘program’ using 311’s and I’m gonna move back to merely controlling my eccentrics. However, the new ‘program’ (I’m using quotes because I’ve basically picked bits and pieces from programs in the archives into something that got me excited about starting something new) will be very different from what I’m doing currently, so I doubt I’ll get reliable feedback on this issue, which is why I decided to make this thread and ask others’ opinions about slower eccentrics.