T Nation

Tempo Guidelines?


I am just about to start up a new workout routine (Its about DUE TIME been a few years). I just read CT article on how to put a DAMN GOOD PROGRAM together… which helped A LOT!

1.My question is should I focus on tempo for starting out… or that more something I can add done the road?

2.Is there a guideline for what an effective tempo is per exercises or its different for each exercises?


I’ve never focused on tempo and I’ve never seen anyone I consider huge talk about tempo ever.

The bigger and stronger I get the less important I’ve realized the small stuff is. It’s kind of funny.

Tempo was a big thing when Poliquin addressed it as a training variable in his writing. I imagine it was somethhat most trainees never really stopped to think about. Of course in light of all of the variables you could be manipulating, I would say that you needn’t worry so much about actual tempo perscriptions, and focus more on the intensity of muscualr stress you can generate with a good quality, forceful concentric.


There are some things that are worth keeping in the background of the mind, though ordinarily no thought need be given to them:

  1. Be reasonably consistent – nothing obsessive, nothing requiring close attention – in your general rep speed approach. The reason is that in some cases someone uses a fairly difficult style, for example with relatively slow negatives and rather deliberate positives, and as they add weight week to week they adjust this style to become easier and easier. After a few months the tempo is radically different. It seems as if progress has been made, but in fact the new weight could have been handled before all this was done with this later rep style, and the weight that can be used with the old rep style has not improved at all.

In other words, it’s possible to deceive oneself by allowing style of performing reps to drift as time goes on.

That doesn’t mean you can’t change it deliberately. Or that you have to be obsessive on this.

  1. I personally believe that one of the main factors limiting the total volume of work that can productively be done is total time of doing negatives.

In other words, if you decide to do 4 second negatives per some Famous Name Trainer prescription, don’t combine this with a volume that was intended for lifters allowing fast but controlled negatives.

I consider one of the biggest mistakes of my training career being stuck on slow negatives for such a long time. I now usually do them either at about the same speed as the positives, or alternately, as fast as what allows no problem at the turnaround.

  1. There’s a lot to be said for explosive positives, but there is also a great deal of good to be said about smooth positives. Use both to advantage. Not that every exercise needs both approaches.

As to deciding which exercises get what sort of speed for the positives, it really just is seeing what works and makes sense. For example, it works well to do the bench press explosively, provided that you know how to keep your shoulders down and the scapulae together at the top. But you can also do it smoothly and “feel the muscle.”

But on the other hand, it wouldn’t work so well to do a DB fly explosively. So that one, you do smoothly.

[quote]austin_bicep wrote:

The bigger and stronger I get the less important I’ve realized the small stuff is. It’s kind of funny. [/quote]
yup, same.

Explosive on the way up, controlled on the way down… thats pretty much all the tempo guidelines u need to know

Sweet thanks for the input!