There are various ways/protocols through which one can vary the intensity of a resistance workout, such as changing weight, number of sets or number of repetitions. One such protocol which is often overlooked is modifying the tempo of one specific repetition.
‘Repetition tempo’ refers to the speed at which one performs one single repetition, which in training programs usually appears in the form of 4 numbers e.g. 2:0:2:1 or 4:1:1:2.
Each such number represents the duration (in seconds) for an identifiable section of a repetition as follows:
1st number: duration (in seconds) for the eccentric contraction (also referred to as the negative rep or releasing portion) e.g. the way down in a bicep curl
2nd number: duration (in seconds) for the pause between the eccentric and concentric contractions e.g. the bottom/stretched point of a bicep curl
3rd number: duration (in seconds) for the concentric contraction (also referred to as the positive rep or lifting portion) e.g. the way up in a bicep curl
4th number: duration (in seconds) for the pause between the concentric and eccentric contractions e.g. the top/flexed point of a bicep curl
Adding the 4 numbers together equates to what is known as ‘Time Under Tension’ (TUT). The larger the TUT, the higher the intensity (and usually effectiveness) of a repetition.
TIP: Try performing long eccentric reps (add seconds to the first number) for added gains
To fitness with love,