T Nation

Reasons for Rep Tempos

I just read Doug Santillo’s article, “A Closer Look at Tempo” (http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=462176).

Given that the article is 7 years old and doesn’t really cite any research, can anyone find some support for his advice?

I ask because I’m developing programs for different training goals (mainly just hypertrophy, power, strength).

I believe that tempos are particularly useful when you want to accurately measure your progress.

Example: Say that you have been benching 250#'s for 4 reps @ a (301) tempo. You embark upon a strength training program in hopes of getting your bench press poundage?s up for the given amount of reps.

Now the next week you go in and put 255 on the bar and get 4 reps, but your tempo is(X0X). Did you really get any stronger?

Also, tempo will help you gage what works for different goals. Say you embark on hypertrophy program and plan use the old 8 to 12 rep range. However, you perform your reps at about a (101) tempo which would equal to way less TUT than what is considered optimal for hypertrophy, therefore you muscle mass gains are minimal. This may lead you to believe that the program was crap.

These are simplistic answers at best, but I hope it helps.


I think tempos are better for training for sport specific carryover (ex. explosive lifts, static holds). For strength and size lifting, I beleive there are other variables that you can manipulate for gains that will give you more results.

Tempo is like “total body vs. split” training. You will advocates for both. If you use good form and a “natural” tempo you should be fine. There are enough articles on here about tempo to keep you reading for awhile.