"Accelerating Muscle Gains: Unlocking the Power of TEMPO Training for Muscle Building"
TEMPO training, a strategic approach to resistance training, has gained significant attention in the fitness world for its remarkable impact on muscle building. By manipulating the tempo at which exercises are performed, individuals can unlock new areas of muscle growth and overall strength development.
Four Phase of Tempo Training (Eccentric-Isometric-Concentric-Isometric- EICI):
TEMPO training revolves around controlling the four phases of each repetition: the eccentric (lowering/lengthening) phase, the pause at the bottom (isometric), the concentric (lifting/shortening) phase, and the pause (isometric) at the top. The emphasis lies in intentionally adjusting the speed at which these phases are executed. This technique introduces a distinct element to training, which can yield transformative results. While I am training my clients, one of the first things I teach them is ‘Tempo Training’. You would see in my Functional Muscle- Rising Program; one of the columns is Tempo and you would see numbers like this 20X1 or 3111 etc,. They represent EICI. That means you are spending 2 seconds on the eccentric phase, no pause at the isometric phase, being explosive on the concentric and 1 sec pause at the isometric phase of a lift. Or spending 3 seconds on the eccentric, 1 sec pause at the isometric, 1 sec at the concentric, and 1 sec on the isometric phase of a lift.
Tempo Training is a Skill:
Tempo Training is a skill. It is definitely a cue that is very successful in helping my clients understand what I am asking for. However, it is also a skill. Being able to control the bar/dumbbells/kettlebells is not simple. Most individuals are pre-programmed to complete the set without even thinking about controlling the tempo of a lift. Most individuals need this constant reminder to control their eccentric part of a lift. This skill gets polished over time same as any specific skill gets better with better and efficient motor units recruitment.
Two Primary Tempo Variations Exist: Fast Tempo And Slow Tempo Training:
Fast Tempo Training- This involves executing each repetition at an accelerated pace. The eccentric and concentric phases are performed quickly, with minimal pauses. Fast tempo training is excellent for enhancing power and explosive strength. It engages fast-twitch muscle fibers and stimulates neural adaptations that contribute to overall performance improvements. While it may not induce maximal muscle tension, fast tempo training is valuable for athletes seeking to improve athletic performance, agility, and power generation. Though, it does have some space for muscle building towards the end of your set, especially the last set. If your goal is to perform a failure set after your slow tempo is not slow anymore, you can get the most out of your set by performing a fast tempo set which can help you with your true failure.
Slow Tempo Training- Contrary to fast tempo, slow tempo training involves performing repetitions at a controlled pace. The eccentric and concentric phases are prolonged, and pauses at the top and bottom magnify the time under tension. This method maximizes muscle tension, leading to muscle fiber recruitment and microtrauma. Slow tempo training is ideal for hypertrophy (muscle growth) goals, as the extended time under tension stimulates metabolic stress and triggers muscle adaptations that contribute to size gains over time. Slow tempo can also be used for sports performance especially when an athlete is learning the lifts. More time under tension can help them recruit the right muscle fibers and utilize joint mechanics properly.
Tempo Training's Effects On Muscle Building:
TEMPO training's effects on muscle building are profound. Slow tempo training, by pushing muscles to prolonged tension, induces microscopic damage to muscle fibers. This prompts the body to repair and rebuild these fibers, resulting in muscular growth. Moreover, this technique enhances blood flow to muscles, promoting nutrient delivery and waste removal, vital for optimal growth. Incorporating both fast and slow tempo training within a workout routine can yield comprehensive results. Fast tempo boosts explosiveness and power, essential for sports performance, while slow tempo maximizes muscle tension and hypertrophy.
TEMPO training is a versatile tool that can be tailored to your specific goals. Whether aiming for explosive strength or muscle hypertrophy, controlling the tempo of exercises introduces a dynamic and effective angle to your training routine. By understanding the differences between fast and slow tempo training and incorporating them strategically, you can elevate your muscle building journey and unlock your functional muscle.