ABCbodybuilding (
-   Hardcore Training (
-   -   Regarding tempo: time under tension vs maximum power output (

Yiannis 04-15-2013 07:29 PM

Regarding tempo: time under tension vs maximum power output
On Mr.Wilson article Count To 60 seconds And Grow Man Grow describes that the Optimal Amount of Time To Expose Your muscles To Tension
is between 30-70 sec.

For example, say that you can barbell curl 135 pounds for a total of 6 repetitions. If this takes you 30 seconds,then this is the rep range you would use to fail within this time frame.That means that the tempo that we should use for each rep is something like (3-1-1-0) or (2-1-2-0) etc.

Does anybody think there is any benefit to lifting like (3-1-1-0) from a strength point of view?I think that someone who uses this kind of tempo or (2-1-2-0) will end up using lighter weight than if he does faster lifts.

Again i would like to stay on the lower edge of the time frame which is more linked to strength training.I agree that we need more time under tension for hypertrophy and these tempos like(3-1) or (2-1-2) or( 4-2) are more useful.But for strength and if someone wants to incorporate more IIb fibers i think that we should use the maximum weight we can for 3-5 reps as fast we can without having a prescriped tempo in our minds.

Do you agree?

Commander 04-16-2013 12:13 PM

Hypertrophy results from 3 main pathways:
1. Mechanical tension - lifting heavy or lifting moderately heavy but truly exploding the weight
2. Muscle damage - can be achieved by volume or using a lower volume but applying intensity techniques such as drop sets and slow negatives
3. Metabolic stress - this is caused from byproducts of higher rep sets where tension is maintained on the muscle (almost causing occlusion)

Interestingly, Vladimir Zatsiorsky, has stated that there are three ways to get stronger:
1. Maximal effort method - creates mechanical tension (heavy weights)
2. Repeated effort method - creates much muscle damage (higher volume)
3. Dynamic effort method - creates mechanical tension (lighter weights moved very explosively)

As you can see, focusing your training on getting strong will still results in size gains since the 3 methods of getting strong successfully cover 2 out of the 3 methods for getting bigger.

Therefore a well designed program will have:
1a. Big compound lifts where you go heavy (Max effort method and Mechanical Tension)
1b. Also occasionally do the big lifts lighter but ridiculously fast (Dynamic effort method and Mechanical Tension)
2. Secondary compound lifts where you go moderate and increase volume by using slightly higher reps and many sets (Repeated effort method and Muscle Damage)
3. Tertiary lifts that you can increase time under tension (Metabolic Stress)


To directly answer your question, is there benefit to a 3-1-1-0 tempo from a strength point of view? Not really, it is hard to specify the negative as a squat negative may take longer than a bench press simply because the distance is longer. And the concentric phase should be explosive, but on lighter weights this may take not even 0.5 seconds, but on a heavy weight it may be closer to 2 seconds. In terms of pausing, depending on if you are training for a powerlifting meet, that may or may not be valuable, but generally speaking, as you get truly heavy with a squat for example, you will not want to pause in the bottom.

The tempo would look like this:
Controlled Eccentric - No Pause - Explosive - 1 (maybe 1 second at the top ROM)

You are correct, slowing down your tempo will lighten your weights. And since two of the three hypertrophy pathways involve heavy or moderate weights, I would not want to do anything to lighten the weights.

However, as long as your training contains a couple compound lifts programmed for some heavy weight and decent volume, than by all means throw in some isolation work where you strive to achieve at least 30 seconds of time under tension and use prescribed tempos.

Arms are a muscle group which I am finding work better with slower tempos and less of a concern for weight, but most other muscle groups I train with the idea of moving heavy weight and moving it as fast as I can.


I'm glad you've been active on the boards and reading the articles!

Yiannis 04-16-2013 04:21 PM

thanks Commander,your answers are always enlightening!

Commander 04-16-2013 05:45 PM


Originally Posted by Yiannis (Post 926173)
thanks Commander,your answers are always enlightening!

No problem!

All times are GMT. The time now is 11:41 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.