The signification of weight lifting tempo

The term tempo refers to the number of seconds it takes you to complete a full range of motion of repetition. It's expressed using three numbers, each representing the number of seconds of each segment of movement.

The first number represents the Eccentric Phase, also known as the "negative" portion of the lift. This is the point where the weight is being lowered and there is a muscular tension while the muscle is being stretched.  Hypertrophy training programs typically emphasize a slow and controlled eccentric movement.  This phase is very taxing on the muscle fibers and is the reason why the majority of muscle fiber breakdown - a positive thing when it comes to muscle growth!

The second number represents the Hold at bottom of movement - This phase being the end of the eccentric range of motion.  Typically you will either hold this position for a second, or immediately lift the weight and begin the next phase.  Whether you hold this position or go immediately into the next phase will depend on whether there is tension on the muscle at this point for the specific muscle group you are targeting.

The third number, also known as the Concentric phase - This phase is also referred to as the "positive" portion of the lift.  During this phase, the muscle is contracting while being under load and this movement is normally faster than the lowering phase. This step will take the weight back to the starting position of the exercise.

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