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Metronome for Rep Tempo?

Hey Dr. Darden,

I have a quick question for rep tempo. Have you tried using a metronome to accurate record your rep tempo?

PS: Going to purchase the New Bodybuilding for Oldschool Results.

Thank You.

No, I have never used a metronome, but plenty of my past trainees have incorporated it into some of their routines.

It should work well for you. After a few routines, let me know how you feel?

Thank you for your response Dr. Darden. I have been using a metronome since June of this year til presently with a 4/4 tempo (recommended by Drew Baye). However, I have noticed some pros and cons.

Pros: I do not have to focus on counting reps but instead I can focus on contracting my muscles. I can divide my time by 8 seconds and easily calculate my reps (I have trouble keeping count during last few reps before failure). It definitely helps to ensure that each rep is “standardized”.

Cons: Certain exercises feel better with varying tempos and this is dependent upon the distance of the exercise. A great example is the barbell shrug which has a short distance to travel, it feels smoother with a slightly faster tempo of 2/2 or 3/3. Exercises such as deadlifts and overhead press have a longer distance to travel and would feel smoother with a tempo of 5/5.

I plan to workout this month without a metronome to see or feel any difference. I’ll let you know by the end of the month. Thank you again.

  • David

I have used a metronome over the course of several years. It is very useful for 30-30-30 reps, 10 up 10 down, 2/4, whatever your preference. It helps you provide consistency to your reps.

A metronome can be purchased inexpensively on eBay or Amazon.com. There are small battery operated units, and even small in-ear units available for around $20. You can even Google “online metronome” on your cellphone and listen through your headphones. It has worked well for me.

Hey Mmhd,

Thank you for the information. I have been using a free app metronome. It definitely helps with keeping the reps standardized and not having to count. I feel that utilizing a certain rep tempo can be awkward with certain exercises based upon the distance (e.g.barbell shrugs, deadlifts, and overhead presses). Which kind of metronome do you use?

Hey Dr. Darden,

I went back to using a metronome with my workouts. It definitely helps with keeping the reps constant paced. I noticed that as I began to approach MMF, I would try to speed through the reps.

-D. State

It is interesting to see how much counting to yourself when trying to do 30 seconds up or down varies in accuracy to when someone stands there looking at a clock and counting off the seconds . It’s easy to speed up the seconds when counting yourself. I remember trying these 30 second up and down reps and trying to count them to myself and then my son came over and took his watch and started timing my reps. It seemed to take twice as long going by the clock , I remember asking him is that damn watch broken, ha ha!! At the same time I hope I never get that anal about a few seconds off either way. For me being that strict sorta takes the fun out of it. 


Ok this is the 4th time I wrote a long reply ( above) to a post and only the top line shows up! What’s up?!

I found that sometimes there’s a huge discrepancy In the actual time when I try and count seconds myself vrs when someone uses a clock to count the seconds. I remember trying to count seconds when trying a 30 second up and 30 second down set and then having someone use a clock to count the seconds. It seemed a huge difference. Once I was doing some reps on my own and my son came over and started timing my sets with his watch. At the end I had to say is that damn watch broke or something, ha ha! It seemed to take twice as long when actually timed correctly! At the same time I hope I don’t get so anal that I worry about a few seconds either way. For me anything that strict takes the fun out of it !

Hey Scott,

Thanks for the reply. I was able to read your text as a whole with an email alert. I like to set my metronome app for a 4/4 tempo just to ensure I’m not cheating the rep speed. I like to keep everything as accurate as possible include my rep tempo. Have an OCD personality.


I’m guessing it’s a formatting thing, my guess would be either on

here’s a text started with a >

Or on

Here's one that starts with four spaces before any text

Edit: seems to be the latter

I have recently used a type of sport timer (similar to the ones track and field coaches use) which has a cadence function with beeps built in. Convenient to have hanging around your neck. And yes, it keeps the rep-speed accurate. I don’t like having headphones or in-ear devices during excercise, why some close bystanders may react - though it’s not that loud. An excuse for a friendly conversation about HIT. I have recognized the other HVT-trainees wonder what I am up to. I seem to be the only one doing HIT at my gym…

@pettersson, do you mind specifying which sport timer you use, so that I might google it? Sounds like practical solution.

Then this covid thing is over, I am hoping to return to an Actic (former Nautilus) gym filled with old goodies. Years ago, when I trained there, the instructors taught Nautlius style hit alá traditional Darden. However, they never understood or instructed effort and intensity. Hence I would not call it hit.

Hi hitjv,

Good to have a countryman here! The timer is a chinese no-name brand, it just says “sports timer 500”. That being said I can tell you where to get it in Sweden (No direct PR: It’s the chain of botiques which in bad english translates to “The technical magazine”! Get it? LOL

Agree with you on the HIT-approach on Actic (former Nautilus). But it’s at least a step in the right direction.

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Clear and innocent enough!