Visualize this for me….

You’re at the gym, and you look over to your right and see a female doing bicep curls. Not just any bicep curl.  She looks like she’s curling the weight in hyper speed, lifting the weights as fast as humanly possible.

You then look left and see a guy trying to complete a deadlift with way too much weight.  His form is atrocious; he lets out a scream, and drops the weight after a long, agonizing rep.

You can walk into most gyms and see this same story played out day after day.  These folks don’t understand the value of lifting with TEMPO, which is one of the secrets to building strength.

What is tempo training?  It’s purposefully performing an exercise within time commitments.  Let’s look at an example:

Squat TEMPO– 3-0-1-0

What do the numbers mean?

3 = the first number dictates how many seconds to perform the downward motion of the squat.

0 = the second number indicates if there is a pause at the bottom of the squat.

1 = the third number represents how many seconds it takes you to perform the upward motion of the squat.

0 = the fourth number represents how long to rest at the standing position of the squat.

3 reasons why you should always tempo train

Get better results faster

Time under tension is the key to hypertrophy training and achieving phenomenal results.  You want 40 to 60 seconds under tension when performing an exercise for max results.  If you complete 10 reps really fast and do not achieve the 40 to 60 seconds under tension, you have minimized your chance at gains.  Don’t waste your time in the gym.  This is why it’s very important to keep your tempo while performing the exercises.

Minimize your chance of injury

When you train with tempo, it dictates the weight you can use safely.  If you are failing to complete the rep range holding the proper tempo, you know the weight is too heavy.  Lifting too heavy with bad form is one of the highest causes of injury.  Hold your tempo when lifting, and it will tell you what weight you should be lifting safely.

Breaks through your plateaus

Changing the tempo by adding a pause can have amazing effects and help you break through a strength plateau.  The pause at the bottom of the exercise forces your body to recruit more muscle fibers than if you just loaded the muscle up and quickly returned to the starting position.  Implement the pause into an exercise that you are having trouble increasing strength on.

So, make sure to get your “tempo on” and don’t be the fool in the gym wasting your time!

Train hard and train smart!

Chris Beer


  1. Poliquin Group. Ten Things You Should Know About TEMPO Training.