What is Tempo Training?

Tempo training means that which ever movement you are using it with, in our case the back squat, the chosen lift has a tempo prescription attached to it written as a series of 4 numbers representing the times in which it should take to complete four stages of the lift.. For us our RX will be: Back Squat x4-5 [email protected] 53X1.

What does 53X1 mean?

The First Number –  refers to the lowering (eccentric) phase of the lift.  Using our back squat example, the 5 will represent the amount of time (in seconds) that it should take you to descend to the bottom of the squat.

The Second Number – The second number refers to the amount of time spent in the bottom position of the lift – the point in which the lift transitions from lowering to ascending.  In our back squat example, the prescribed 3 means that the athlete should reach the bottom position and are expected to pause for 3 seconds at the bottom position.

The Third Number – The third number refers to ascending (concentric) phase of the lift – the amount of time it takes you to get to the top of the lift.  Yes, I am aware that X is not a number.  The X signifies that the athlete should EXPLODE the weight up as quickly as possible.  In many cases, this will not be very fast, but it is the intent that counts – try to accelerate the weight as fast as you can.  If the third number is a 2 (for example), it should take the athlete 2 seconds to get the lift to the top regardless of whether they are capable of moving it faster.

The Fourth Number – The fourth number refers to how long you should pause at the top of the lift.  Take, for example, a weighted pull-up prescription of 20X2, the athlete would be expected to hold his or her chin over the bar for two seconds before beginning to come down. In our case you will take a second to breath and re-brace before beginning you next rep.

As far as counting goes go with the standard “one thousand” count.

Next week I will start explaining the benefits of tempo training.


Strength work: Back Squat

5 x 4-5 [email protected]×1

Start at a modest weight for these as we are planning on slowly increaseing the weight each week and these will be tougher than you think. It’s okay if they feel light this week.

Assistance: 3 Rounds NFT of:

5 Good Mornings

15 Wall Balls

2e Turkish Get Ups

How we will be making this assistance work quantifiable is we will be tracking load for the three movements. Find a load that feels heavy that doesn’t compromise movement quality.