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The New HIT - Rep Tempo Revisions?

Dr Darden,

Please excuse me if I may have touched upon this subject before. I know we have talked about rep-tempos before.

In The New HIT you recommend the general rep-tempo 4 sec positive and 4 sec negative as a good start, for 8-12 reps. That being said, you add that it may differ depending on excercise and/or preference.

Presumably following this book/regimen, do you still think this is the best general rep-tempo - or would you alter it today? Why not 5/5, 3/3 or 2/4? (I know they all work well, but differently). Also, later studies seem to prove that the positive portion is of less significance, in terms of results (though form is another question). That being said, I tried 2/4 for a period, and can’t say it was any better than 4/4 as I seemed to rush on certain excercises, like pullover machine.

In short: If you were to recommend a general rep-tempo for normal reps today - what would you recommend?

And don’t forget the 1-2 tempo in the 30-10-30 method

Are you insinuating I’m being too careful about this? LOL Maybe I am. Thing is, I love The New HIT. I was just wondering if Dr Darden’s ideas stood the test of time in terms of regular rep tempo.

Personally, I never had been able to stick with rep cadence recommendations for very long, especially longer duration reps. It just feels to distracting to me to try to regulate speed that tightly. Perhaps I just have training ADD. :grin:

Instead, I just train by feel. I start the concentric from a pause, and try not to throw the weight, just squeeze up deliberately. I perform the eccentric slower than the concentric, but mainly just try to avoid building up too much speed/momentum for the lower turnaround. As the set progresses and fatigue sets in, my speed on the concentric naturally slows down. When it feels grindy, I known I am close to being done.

I suppose for those who are trying to track TUL and use that for progression, this sort of approach won’t work. But I mainly just keep track of reps performed, and try to do the reps in a consistent fashion. That seems to work out OK for me. Of course, I’m mostly just shooting for maintenance these days - holding back the erosion of time.

I’m curious what Dr. Darden’s thoughts are on this kind of training by feel approach? I’ll note that most of the science studies have failed to show any impact of rep speed or cadence on results. To quote one of Carpinelli’s last critques:

Based on all the aforementioned section summaries, this Critical Commentary concludes that there is no credible evidence for any measureable or practical intra-individual difference in muscle hypertrophy as a result of the obsessive manipulation of resistance training variables such as the number of sets, amount of resistance (load), number of repetitions, volume of exercise, interset rest intervals, repetition duration (time under tension), frequency of training, whole body or split routines, periodized and non-periodized routines, free weights and machines, etc.


Thanks Al! Insightful, as expected from you. Re Carpinelli it seems he thinks nothing works better for hypertrophy (when the correct answer should be - What you believe in)!

For me lately it’s become more of what I enjoy doing more than what method is supposed to be better. I know I don’t like worrying about the time a set takes or how long a negative decent is or the time of a positive rep. I just try to do what gives me the best feel.

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Continued success for aging lifters, hinges upon changing up your workouts periodically (what that period is varies from trainee to trainee). Rep Tempo is certainly one of the variables that bears frequent change-ups well!

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Not quite sure what you mean… Placebo effect with objective (instead of subjective) benefits? That would be kind of unique, I think.

I mean that preferences tend to motivate us to a greater degree, which in turn produces greater results. Can be applied on everyone of us - on everything. I see this a lot in my job, and strive to follow or stimulate people’s preferences (and strengths) for a good outcome. “What you believe in”.

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I believe you already know my answer to your question.

Thanks Dr Darden! I think I might know, or at least make a qualified guess.

Old is new. Why change a working recipe. Don’t fix what isn’t broken. Rep-tempo 4/4 is the best of both worlds (not counting 30-10-30).

You get an A+ for your answer.

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I sort of agree… I have my preferences in training methods, and using methods that I enjoy leads to better consistency, which probably leads to better outcomes… If you hate the workout you are doing, you are less likely to stick with it long term. But I don’t need to believe that the methods I use work better than other approaches. As long as the results are good enough, I am content to stick with that which I enjoy…

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I agree…and what Carp found largely mirrors my own experiences. A lot of things just don’t matter. It’s more about preferences and consistency while training safely enough. Genetics dictate at least 95% of it all no matter what you do.


My experience is that “slow” strict reps, 4/2/4 standard is way superior to faster cadence. I don’t know why, momentum maybe? I used to make fun of slow reps zealots until I made zero progress for months busting my ass training to failure but with faster cadence. Form is more important than weight.

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4/2/4 might be allowing you to get more time under tension that you were missing with fast reps…especially if you were only doing one set.

Agreed about form vs weight.

But I can still use very good form moving faster. I stay controlled and not talking ballistic style. More rhythm-like. I also stay in the mid to higher rep range (10+ reps usually) and more than one set.

I used 4/4 for years, but it was arbitrary. I find it way too boring today.

I also find faster reps to be easier on the CNS. Slow reps more draining.

But to each their own here…and whatever works and is preferred…while training safely.

After reading this, I found several papers where Carpinelli notes genetics are the key factor in strength training and results, not the programs and all of the different varieties. HIT, Gironda’s 6 x 6 or 10 x 10, etc., etc., aren’t going to make any difference if you don’t have the genetics.

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I’m in between Barney Fife and Mike Mentzer muscle genetic wise and I’ve tried just about every routine that ever came out and as far as getting bigger or stronger I didn’t find much difference in what each routine did for me. The Important thing I did find is doing what I enjoyed the most vrs what the latest super routine me might be. If I like doing it it’s more likely I’ll continue to do it and I think consistency is way more important than trying the latest fad routine.


You realize probably 90% on this T Nation site have no idea who Barney Fife
even Is. I do, and they probably don’t care. That’s not being negative, just realistic.
In fairness, I don’t know a lot of the present day media-type personalities, and I really don’t care.

You’re absolutely right , many young whipper snappers on this forum won’t know Barney even though the show still plays on several channels but I don’t care so long as a few of you guys do and like you I don’t know many if any modern day personalities like the people on Big Bang theory.