Tempo refers to the speed of movement and is usually represented by a 4-digit number:
eccentric (negative) contraction - isometric (pause between negative and positive)
contraction - concentric (positive) contraction - isometric (pause between positive and
negative) contraction. For example, a tempo of 3-1-2-0 means to lower the weight for a
count of 3, pause for a count of 1, raise the weight for a count of 2, and do not pause
before starting the next repetition. An "X" designation denotes eXplosive, meaning to lift
the weight as fast as possible.
It's not uncommon for people to race through their sets in order to get done sooner.
Although this could benefit power development, hypertrophy might be sacrificed. For
instance, if two individuals were to perform the same number of repetitions, but one
completes the set in 6 seconds and the other takes 60 seconds, is the training effect the
same? Obviously not! Tempo is a training parameter that is quite often neglected. You
can calculate total time under tension (TUT) of a set simply by multiplying tempo (add all
4 digits) and the number of repetitions performed.
The problem with tempo prescription is that cadence tends to vary among individuals
and also between reps and sets. (Generally, the count speeds up as you fatigue!) For this
reason, I recommend that you purchase a metronome - the Robic SC-700 Sports
Chronometer available at Creative Health Products is a good choice. Set the watch to 60
beats per minute so that it beeps every second and try to keep the cadence uniform
throughout the entire range of motion.
About The Author
John Paul Catanzaro is a certified kinesiologist and professional fitness and lifestyle
consultant with a specialized honours Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology and
Health Science. He owns and operates a private gym in Toronto, Ontario providing
training and nutritional consulting services. For additional information, visit his website at
http://www.BodyEssence.ca or call 416-292-4356.
- Name: John Paul Catanzaro
- Date: 08/27/04 at 11:42
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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