Tempo explained

Cara Testimonial2.jpgYou may have heard this before or have noticed the workout’s prescribed at Southwest Strength have things written like 20×0, 40×1, 3010, etc. This is prescribed tempo on certain lifts.

What does 40X1 mean?

This identifies a certain tempo/control of the lift prescribed. There are all different types of speeds/tempos that can be assigned. Mainly we focus these on squatting, pressing, deadlifts, pulling type movements – ring rows and chin-ups. So what does 40×1, really mean?

For example, if a bench press is RX’d at 40×1. The first number is the “eccentric” or the speed of the movement to the “ground”. Since the bench press start’s at the top of elbows being locked out, the eccentric portion of the lift is when you start the bench press down towards the chest. This count would be 4,3,2,1.

The second number signifies the pause at the bottom position of the lift. In this case the number is 0, so that means 0 seconds at the bottom of the bench press. So you would control the bar 4seconds down, 0 seconds @ the bottom. If the bench press was 42×1, that would simply mean 2 second pause at the chest.

The third number signifies the concentric or the speed of which the lift goes up to the “sky”. In this case X is prescribed, that simply means AS FAST as you can. In reality, more like 1 second if the lift is smooth and fast.

The last number is the pause at the top of the movement, in this case 40×1, means 4 seconds down (eccentric), 0 seconds pause at the bottom, X – as fast as you can go up (concentric) and 1 second at the top. If you were doing 5 reps on a back squat @40×1, that means you would be under tension for 20 seconds total for the set.

Not all movements start at the top of the lift like back squats or bench press. Things like pullups and deadlifts start at the bottom of the movement. So if you were prescribed 5 reps @ 40×1 on a weighted chin-up, you would perform the chin-up from the bottom as fast as you could up, pause with chin over the bar for 1 second, control the eccentric down for 4 seconds then no pause at the bottom and REPEAT.

Why is this important?

As your coach we like to ensure proper tension and control of the movement so you are receiving the proper dose response from the training. Tempo makes movements much more challenging and allow’s for maximal strength gains. It also allows individuals to get more valuable practice of the movement as it is slower and controlled, as well it allows for more lean mass to be achieved.


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