What is Tempo Training aka Eccentric Training

Today’s blog will explore Eccentric training and answer what is tempo training. You’ll learn exactly how the tempo of each repetition changes the intensity of the exercise, including tips to deliver the eccentric tempo training system effectively.

If you are working towards your Level 3 Personal Trainer Qualification, tempo is a key variable that you need to understand, plan and instruct…

Eccentric training is one of the 17 training systems taught in the Level 3 personal trainer qualification.

Watch the concise 1-minute video below, then test your knowledge with three mock questions.

Watch an introduction to Tempo Training

Check out this short 1 minute video to see tempo training in action. https://youtube.com/shorts/otUF4FTrpDE

What is Tempo Training?

Tempo refers to the duration of the repetition

The vast majority of clients will work at a tempo rate of 2 seconds up & 2 seconds down. Making the repetition 4 seconds in duration.

More time under tension will make the exercise feel harder.

To make the exercise harder you can slow it down on the eccentric phase. This means the muscle has more time under tension, and more opportunities for the actin and myosin to be stressed.

The eccentric phase is the lowering phase, whereby the load is lowered back down towards the earth. E= Eccentric, E = Earth.

How to write Eccentric Training?

The video above shows the client doing 2 seconds Concentric phase and 4 seconds Eccentric phase.

You can see that the shoulder press machine, is 2 seconds to lift the load, and 4 seconds lowering it to the earth.

On the Lat Pull Down, the cable pulley system is reversing this, but look at the weight stack (this si the load). the weight stack is lifting up for 2 seconds in the concentric phase (but the bar is pulling down), and the weight stack is lowering down to the earth in the eccentric phase for 4 seconds (bar is lifting).

This is written as “2:4” the 2 represents the concentric phase and the 4 represents the eccentric phase.

So, I could write an exercise like this:

Shoulder Press. 2 sets x 12 Reps. Tempo 2:4. 100% of12RM

Some people also write the tempo as “0204”. In this example, the two zero numbers relate to the beginning and end range of movement. this is often used to show whether the client is holding at the top of the movement.

What is Eccentric Tempo Training and its benefits?

Tempo is a very important part of resistance training, and it is essential to have the correct speed for the client’s goals and desired intensity. An Eccentric Tempo Training system is having a longer eccentric phase than the concentric phase, and has many benefits.

  • Intensity = More time under tension for every repetition, making the actin and myosin work harder
  • Gravity = The client often appears stronger in the eccentric phase (compared to the concentric phase) because gravity is assisting in the movement. Therefore slowing the movement down on the eccentric phase adds to the desired intensity even if the client can lift the load concentrically to overload.
  • Adaptation = Slowing down the eccentric phase puts a greater strain on the actin and myosin myofilaments, this causes more micro-tears which in turn contributes to more muscle adaptation and more DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).
  • Mid-set changes = Most intensity variables require you to stop the set and change the load or make an adaption. However, tempo can be applied mid-set. Your client may be aiming for overload on the 12th repetition, they get to repetition 8 and you realise the load is a little light for them, you can simply ask them to slow down the eccentric phase for the last 4 repetitions. This can be the small tweak that will help them to have an effective overload at the end of the set.
  • Control = Eccentric tempo is a great way to encourage the client to improve the control of their movements, especially if they are frequently moving through repetitions quickly.

Instructing tips for Eccentric tempo training

You may think eccentric tempo training is easy to instruct, because it’s just an exercise, with a slower tempo…

But here’s the thing… Whichever tempo you choose, whether that’s 2:2, 2:4 or 3:10

Make sure that the repetition time is the time that you actually plan for.

Don’t count down time super quick and your 4 seconds eccentric suddenly becomes just 1 second. Make sure you count properly!

If it’s 4 seconds eccentric, make sure the client performs all 4 seconds in the eccentric phase.

If you’d like more knowledge and confidence with your planning and delivery of client sessions You’d defo like our short online course called FITPROGRESSIONS…

Tempo is one of many variables for resistance training

There are over 17 resistance training systems that are taught in the Level 3 PT syllabus which can be overwhelming to distinguish which system to use and when to plan them. Our FIT-Progressions online programme breaks down each of these in detail with clear protocols to follow for each one.

Plus you learn how to periodise your planning of these systems to allow for logical progressive overload so your client can get their goal every time.

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Test your knowledge with today’s planning mock questions:

[NOTE: The answers are below the 3rd question]

Q1: Which of the following show an exercise that is using eccentric tempo training?

A. 2:2
B. 2:4
C. 4:2
D. 1:1

Q2: What is a primary benefit of using tempo training to vary intensity?

A. A smaller force to be generated on the next set
B. it is good for beginners
C. It can be changed mid-set to achieve full overload
D. DOMS decreases

Q3: If a client was performing the Lat Pull Down, which phase is the eccentric phase?
A. The time the client is holding the position at the lowest point
B. The bar is lowering down
C. The weight stack is lifting
D. The weight stack is lowering

Answers to the mock questions are :

Question 1= B, Question 2 = C, Question 3 = D

If you want more mock questions like this, then you can download more Free Mock Questions: DOWNLOAD NOW

Dedicated to More

Hayley “What is Tempo Training” Bergman

Parallel Coaching

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