The Role of Tempo Training

  2018-01-19 10:13AM

Tempos are sometimes used in training to help drive physical adaptation and increase both learning and strength. The use of artificial pauses and tempos does an incredible job of forging the connection between the mind and the body. Here are just some of the neurological and the physiological benefits of using artificial pauses and tempos in training:


  1. Build movement stability. Both isometric holds (pauses) and tempo work increase muscular tension, which can improve movement quality. Additionally, these pauses and tempos require athletes to show stability in weak positions.


  1. Increases understanding of movement patterns. Exaggerating the actionable points of performance by adding a pause can aid in the neurological understanding of what athletes are doing. Pausing in a point of transition, whether it be the receiving position of the clean or at the top of a kipping pull up, adds awareness to the important steps in their movement. Through tempo work, we can create the awareness by increasing  mind-muscle connection.


  1. Drives physical adaptation. Proper tempo prescriptions can lead to vastly improved strength gains.  First, different tempo prescriptions permit for greater training variety and stimulus. This means fewer plateaus and more adaptation. Next, they allow us to shore up weak links by overloading certain areas of movements. If your tempo prescription called for a slow descent and a longer pause at the bottom of your squat, you might actually have to get stronger through your weak points. Lastly, slowing down movements with tempo prescriptions can allow for greater amount of time under tension with less overall stress on an athlete’s central nervous system.


  1. Reduced risk of injury. By slowing down the tempo of our movements, we can ease the stress placed on joints and shift that additional stress to the muscles. Our muscles are far better at adapting to increased loads than our joints. By slowing down the tempo you can give your connective tissue some rest while still strengthening the surrounding musculature, which in turn reduces your risk of injury!


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