Tempo Workout Notes

Grant Weaver, who runs the Body Series programs on Daily Spot, has started to incorporate tempo cues into his daily workouts. Below Grant explains what these cues mean in his workouts.

What Tempo Cues Mean

As you will see in the new body series spots, some lifts will have a 4 digit number in parentheses next to the set/rep scheme. These numbers indicate the tempo at which to perform the reps.

This first number is the eccentric (or negative) phase of each lift, in which you are working with gravity to decelerate the weight and the muscles worked are lengthening under tension. Examples are lowering a squat, lowering a bar to chest on a chest press, letting the cables pull your arms into extension during rows and pulldowns, etc.

The second number is time spent in the “bottom" portion of the lift, where the muscles are fully lengthened after the conclusion of the eccentric phase.

The third number is the time spent in the concentric phase of the lift, where the muscles are shortening and working against gravity to move the weight. Examples would be standing up from a squat, pressing bar off the chest on a chest press, and pulling on cables during a row or pulldown. This portion will often be noted with an X, indicating to move the weight explosively, as quickly as possible.

The fourth and final number will be how much time is spent at the conclusion of the lift. This will often be zero, but for some lifts, especially curls, pec flys, and hip thrusts, holding the squeeze for a longer period of time can be beneficial.

Example of Tempo in Your Workout

Hip thrust 3x8-10 (20X2)

This means lower the weight from the lockout position over 2 seconds, do not pause at the bottom where hips dip almost to ground, then drive the weight up as fast as possible, and hold the weight at lockout for a 2 count, before again lowering the wight over another 2 seconds, etc.

It is not imperative that you are exact with these numbers, and tempo will only be used for lighter movements where we are focusing more on the muscle working that we are with moving a heavy weight.