What Is Tempo Training and What Does It Do?

Try something - do one push up.

Pretty easy right?

Now, do the same push up but count to 5 as you lower, pause at the bottom for a 3 count (no chest touching or resting!) and come back up in another 5 count. A lot harder right?

You've just done your first rep of tempo training.

Tempo training is really simple. Move at a prescribed tempo.

There are 4 phases to most movements.

Take the bench press.

Usually you’ll train the downward portion slow, so a 3 count or similar. Then pause in the bottom for a second, then drive up as fast as possible; then pause at the top for a two count. That would look like this written out: 31x2

Bodybuilders use it frequently, and it's become more common in functional training circles. I use it with personal training clients all the time and we also use it in classes to hammer home form before everything else.

I've used it personally to train my overhead squat, which in turn produced a barbell snatch personal record. Time under tension in the receiving position meant that when the bar moved fast, I was ready for it and spent considerable amounts of time in that position.

You can use super light weight and get a huge benefit. It has been shown that using lighter weight at slower tempos will produce the same metabolic response as heavier weights moved quicker. (1)

Using lighter weight under control is also a great way to progress if your equipment options are limited or you just plain don't like working with heavier weight.

If you'd like more info on this type of training, as well as anything fitness or weight loss related, please feel free to reach out to me here.

(1) https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=00124278-201102000-00017