T Nation

Tempo and low reps

When doing low reps (4 or less per set) what should the lifting tempo be? Right now I’m using a 6221 tempo. Should I be going faster?

I think this a good strength/hypertrophy tempo since you are @33-40 sec/set. I would probably drop the 2 sec pause to 1 sec since a 6 sec eccentric will reduce the elastic contribution to the concentric. Personally, I prefer a faster tempo when training in a lower rep range what exactlyb are your training goals?

molsonman…like Mark said, the training goal is of primary concern when prescribing tempo, and thus time under tension (TUT). If relative strength is the training goal, then TUT should usually be in the 20 second neighborhood. Therefore, if 4 reps is the target rep range, you could prescribe a tempo such as 311, 401, 40X or 50X. When training for strength and with heavy loads, the concentric is often explosive or very quick in order to target the type IIB fibers. Now if hypertrophy is the desired training effect, then a TUT from 30-70 is more appropriate. So if 4 to 6 is the prescribed rep range, you might choose a tempo like 408, 505, 422, the options are unlimited. If you decide that to switch the tempo from what you’re using now to a more strength-friendly tempo, I would imagine that the load you will be able to use will be greater. Hope this helps.

For right now I would like to train more for strength and power than hypertrophy.

If your goal is relative strength, keep the TUT per set under 20 seconds with longer rest (3-5min) between sets. If your goals are more hypertrophy based then keep the TUT per set between maybe 40-70 seconds and shorter rest intervals between sets.

Pretty simple…if you are training for strength as you say you are, lower the weight in a controlled, but not necessarily slowly…once you hit bottom, explode up with as much force as possible.