The 4 Phases
Put simply, tempo refers to how quickly you lift the weight for each repetition of an exercise.
Each exercise will have it’s own tempo guide which is made up of four numbers. These four numbers are used to help breakdown each of the different phases of a single repetition. This includes the eccentric (muscle lengthening under tension), contraction (muscle shortening under tension) and the pause between each of these contraction types.
The first number relates to how to how many seconds you take to lower the weight (eccentric phase). The second indicates how long you should hold the weight in a pause at the bottom of the movement, the third number represents the time taken to lift the weight to the original starting position (contraction phase), and the fourth number is how long you should pause with the weight at the top of the movement.
What does 3010 mean?
Using a Bench Press with a 3010 tempo as an example:
3 - Take 3 seconds to lower the barbell to your chest (eccentric phase)
0 - Do not pause with the weight resting on your chest (first pause phase)
1 - Raise the weight at speed using one second to return the barbell to the starting position (concentric phase)
0 - Do not rest before starting the next repitition (second pause phase)
MCT1 And Tempo
At FitnessGenes the tempo recommendations we provide come from multiple genetic interactions, with a major contributing factor being your MCT1 gene result that influences your lactic acid clearance rate.
Lifting tempo is something that most people don’t even consider when performing resistance exercises. Understanding how to implement tempo into your training regime can make a significant difference to your overall strength and hypertrophic response.
Optimising your tempo leads to an increase in the amount of working muscle under tension, know as time under tension (TUT). The rate at which Monocarboxylate Transporters (MCT) remove lactic acid from your muscle cells can impact how much TUT your muscles can withstand before becoming fatigued. This is crucial when considering what tempo is best suited to your genotype because your ability to dictate the amount of stress and overall load on your muscles will influence the recruitment of muscle fibres, delivering more growth stimulus to the muscle cells.