You know, when you first started lifting weights it might have been a case of picking the heaviest you can lift and chucking them about, maybe it's still like that now? Do you stick to the same tempo when lifting your weights or do you mix it up? Have you ever heard of the phrase TUT or time under tension? Did you know that you can build muscle effectively by changing how fast or slow you lift your weights and if you put pause reps into your sets? If this is all sounding rather new to you then I suggest you read on to learn how you can include some new methods into your training sessions that may well give you the extra kick you need.
What Is Tempo?
May sound like I am patronising you, but for those of you who don't know this simply means the speed at which you are lifting the weights. We all know that weight training is the best for burning calories and sculpting your body in a way where you can look at yourself and smile. So tempo is important because the speed at which you either push or pull something is going to have a greater impact on your muscles. Think about it, if you are pushing a 40kg weight but counting to three before pressing it, the load on your muscles is much greater than just repping out without a pause.
There are a variety of different tempos you can perform when looking at shaking up your routine to give yourself a kick up the bum. Something as easy as changing the speed of which you lift something is going to make a big difference to your muscles. It's called TUT training which is also know as time under tension. This is the amount of time you spend with a certain muscle under tension of a certain weight, and yes, it's not pleasant.
Examples Of Tempos
You can literally explore every avenue of lifting when you change the tempo of how you lift each weight during each set. For instance you might want to control the eccentric phase of a lift which is commonly known as the 'negative'. With this you might want to slow it right down for 1-4 seconds before you perform a concentric repetition. On the other hand you might want to have a quick eccentric (negative) rep and a very slow concentric movement. The tempo is designed to how you see fit, so even an extra second of tension on a muscle group is going to see good results.
Another good example of a tempo change is to use pause reps whereby you pause at the bottom of each rep before returning to the start position. This engages the muscles and allows them to feel more strain than they normally would, creating a larger impact on the muscle group. Pause reps can be used on a squat, chest press or lateral raise.
If you're wanting a new way to shake up your workouts, this is definitely it. You might need to lighten your weights slightly but get ready to experience a whole new level of training. Enjoy :)