T Nation

Rep Speed for Growth and Strength


So i was wondering how you guys lift your weights.......

By that i mean do you slowly lower the weight down on the negative everytime, or is it a case of just banging out the reps quickly but safely?

I know most of you guys are considerably bigger and stronger than me and i want to know, in your first years did you build up your strength./size lifting quick or slow(ish)? I couldnt imagine anyone building super strength lifting slow all the time on everything.

My goal is to get bigger AND stronger btw :slightly_smiling:


As explosive as I can be on the concentric portion of the movement, controlling it on the eccentric at a speed that won't allow me to injure myself.

I really don't believe in slow tempo reps unless you are forcing blood into that muscle with a pump exercise.

Just my opinion.


As was previously stated, up explosively and down controlled. Don't worry about time.


There is no right tempo for use all the time. For example, slow tempos can be very beneficial for beginners to build up the mind-muscle connection.

A more advanced person might use a slower tempo as part of a pre-exhaust for the targeted muscle(s) of the training session. This can be really useful for a lagging body part or even working around an injury. For example, if you are coming off a knee injury but really want to hit your quads, you might do some light pre-exhaust work on the leg extension before squatting or the leg press.. then you can hit that muscle group "hard" without using nearly as much load.


You need to listen to and watch your body and monitor your results over time. If slow cable pull downs aren't cutting it after a month, switch to a faster tempo.

On the other hand, I'm a firm believer in developing bar speed for more complex lifts, like bench and cleans, and moving that weight as fast as you're able to control it in all phases of the lift. I'm deployed with guys who's bench has only gone up 10-20# the 10 months we've been here because their bar speed has gone down, not up. They spend so much time under tension that they're smoked 3/4 the way through the lift when they try to PR.


Its interesting you say this..... at my gym theres a whole lot of guys who never stray from the 3x10 EVER and perform all the reps slow and smooth. Problem is the weight they are using is the same they have been for the past year(s) :S The idea of ramping is strange and foriegn to them lol

I guess a focussing on strength with compounds and more controlled on iso with a focus on contaraction and pump would be a good way of doing things then :slightly_smiling: I do like 'pumping' on occassion but theres nothing better than whacking another plate on some equipment like shoulder press and beating a PR.........