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question on form/ tempo

Posted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 9:59 am
by PaulP
I want to ask how important is the form/ tempo of a lift if your goal is to build mass. Everywhere you read about going slow on the negative part of the lift, like 4 seconds, and some say explosive on positive portion while others say slow there too. The all seem to say 1 or 2 second pauses. Is it simply just the importantance of taking momentum out of the lift? Is it because the muscle fibres have more time to stretch/ micro tear, or time for blood influx to the muscle? I have recently switched to a slow lift technique and the first few workouts have nearly killed me for two days after because of the muscle shock. Also, when going that slow I reach a point sometimes near the end of the set where shaking starts, like when you hold a side plank for a long time. Anyway, I just want to get an idea of how you folks do tempo and do you switch it up depending on your goals? Thanks for any input.


Posted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 10:38 am
by TimD
Hi P. I think that for general fitness, as long as you control the weight, that's probably fine. However, for bodybuilding/hypertrophy purposes, as is in your case, it is important, because you want to control the TUL (time under load) (sometimes referred to as TUT-timeunder tension) for a specific period of time, usuall 45-70 seconds for hypertrophy. Anyway, here is a good article on it. Also, do searches on Ian King and Charles Poliquin, they have written much about this as well. ... ining.html

Posted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 6:59 pm
by PaulP
Hey Tim,
Thanks for that link. What they say makes a lot of sense. I am going to stick with this program a while as I feel I am getting a great workout. I just wasn't sure if there was such a thing as too slow (although sticking with the goal for reps per set), as no one mentions that. I guess I am doing about a 4/1/4 second lift maybe a 2 second static hold. I am basically about to cry on the last rep of each set. Thanks again for the information.


Posted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 7:13 pm
by Juggers
I was always taught to explode with my lifts...I guess it was because of grappling. I've never tried to lift slower than that.

Posted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 7:25 pm
by TimD
Hi juggers. Well, you just stated the difference. Most sports conditioning programs do in fact stress for maximum acceleration (while keeping the weight under control), however, the article was geared to hypertrophy. Most sports conditioning programs take strength/endurance, limit or maximal strength, and explosiv strength all into consideration, while not rating hypertrophy high up in the priorities, except maybe for football )US kind). It all kind of depends on your goals.

Posted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 7:48 pm
by Ryan A
I have read many times that most growth occurs from the eccentric portion of the lift. For this reason, some lifters train only the concentric portion to allow them to train more often due to increased recovery.

Also, training the concentric portion as fast as possible is best for strength improvements.

Given these two things, I think ideally you would lower the weight slowly, 2-4 seconds is plenty of time for most training, and then push as hard as you can on the concentric.

If you are training heavy the concentric might be slow but as long as you are trying to move it as fast as possible, that is fine. This will recruit the most fibers and teach you to always recruit maximal fibers.

Overtime the increased strength allows larger loads which gives more eccentric loading and in turn more growth. It also gives you some great functional gains.

If you don't want to gain mass or need to shorten recovery times, then you can lower the weight faster (but safely) and then use more stretch reflex. This trains something completely different but may be what you need in a sport training situation.

Posted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 10:48 pm
by George G
I understand that you are trying to get a better understanding of training and at the same time want to caution you. Tempo is an not the most important variable. Keep your eye on the bigger picture.