Tempo prescriptions

Tempo prescriptions 

You are going to see something in the strength section that may be new to some of you. “Tempo” training is taking a movement and breaking down the direction of travel into four parts and how long it takes you to perform each one.

Example- Back Squat 41X2

1st Number,

This is always the eccentric phase of the movement. Eccentric is the lengthening of the muscle away from its center, simplified its the “Lowering” phase. Think down in a Squat, lowering the Deadlift, or lowering your chin from a pull up bar.


2nd Number,

This is how long you will stay static in the bottom, the Isometric phase, muscles stay tight to hold in place but do not move. It is key to not loose proper position here, it is easy to get sloppy but(t) you will have to regain that good position if you want to stand back up. If you see this in a Deadlift as 1-2 or 3 we are looking for the bar to stop all movement, and be a true “Dead”-lift with no bounce.


3rd Number,

Third is the accent, concentric phase is the shortening of the muscle towards its center. Now, I understand that “X” is not a number, but X refers to exploding to the top. While the measurable speed of the bar may be unnoticeable, the attempt to explode and not just stand up will have large response to your system. If there is a number here, say 1-2-3 or 4 it should take you that long to stand up. No matter how heavy or light it may seem.


4th and final,

Lastly is the hold at the top. Once again this is an Isometric phase, depending on the movement it may be where you are taking a deep breath for the next rep or holding your chin over the pull up bar.

Take a second and do a few warm up reps to make sure you have the sequence correct, count it out properly, “1 one-thousand, 2 one-thousand” etc etc. Not “1….2..3 o shit go”. This will be a big change in your weights lifted, your looking closer to 65-70% don’t over due it to start. Quality is king.

…and remember the sequence stays the same no matter the movement. Some movements may start on a different number.

1-Going down

2-All the way contracted/Bottom

3-Going up

4-All the way extended/Top


Happy lifting and have fun.


-Russel Olofson, Big Mountain CrossFit.


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