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Repetition Tempo Explained For Any Exercise

#Beginner’s Step-By-Step Guide🤓

Repetition tempo refers to how you perform a repetition and the speed at which it’s done. It’s usually expressed as either a four-digit number or a three-digit number.

When interpreting these numbers it can be confusing and counterintuitive. You’d think the first number is where you start the exercise when you lift the weight, known as the CONCENTRIC PHASE, but it is NOT.

The first number is when you lower the weight, i.e. lengthening of the muscle or ECCENTRIC PHASE.

3-1-3-1 OR 3-1-3

Starts Here

Using squat exercise as an example:

3s1s3s1s
Eccentric PhaseFully Lengthened PositionConcentric PhaseFully Shortened Position
how long you take to go from the bottom position to the standing positionhow long you spend in the bottom positionhow long you take to go from a standing position to the bottom positionhow long you spend in the standing position

The numbers show you how to perform each stage of a full repetition of any exercise to get the desired effect for your goals.

Let’s apply it to the Pull-Up for a repetition tempo of:

3Take 3 seconds to lengthen the muscle
0No pause, immediately pull-up once bottom position is reached
1Take 1 second to contract the muscle and pull-up
1Contract the muscle for 1 second

How to determine the tempo?

Your goal and ability will determine the tempo of an exercise.

For beginners/ learning a new exercise, a slower tempo may be more suitable.

To build muscle, a consistent and slower tempo without momentum is better.

For speed and strength, you need to lift faster.

Now you understand how to interpret tempo, you can apply this to any program.

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