I got talking recently about the many different ways a training program can be modified to maintain intensity, or create a new stimulus for the body to react to. Einstein said insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. When it comes to training and nutrition this certainly rings true!
If your body uses 2000 calories per day, and you consume 2000 calories per day, you’ll continually stay the same. You need a different input to create a different output.
Training plans are split into cycles or phases, one particular phase may be working on a particular goal, in preparation for the following phases or all of the phases may be with the same goal in mind but based on different training systems. Drop sets and super sets are just two examples of enhancing a program or plan, primarily by exposing your working muscles to more time under tension. More time under tension means more gains (in short).
When performing weight lifting exercises it is important to lift the weights in a controlled manner. This is usually sold on a safety aspect, but the hidden aspect is again achieving better results. If your weight is so light you can nail drive 10 reps straight off in as many seconds then it’s probably not going to be effective, there will be technique issues due to the ‘speed’ element as well as your set taking 10 seconds to complete. If it is so heavy that you get bent out of shape and cripple yourself, it’s probably not going to be effective either for the obvious reason of creating an injury. A compromise between the two weights and the introduction of control is the aim. In actual fact it has been proven that the negative phase of a repetition (the lowering, or putting down) is the bit that actually stimulates your body to become stronger, and it is this reason that absolute control over the load should be maintained from the first, to the last rep.
This is where ‘Tempo’ comes in. Tempo is the time allocated per rep, if you lift for 1 second, pause for 2, return for 1 and pause for 2 then written down it would look like 1-2-1-2. Your lift and return would be 1 second each with a 2 second pause each side. This however wouldn’t be so effective for developing strength because the negative part of the cycle is too low.
For developing strength a negative cycle of 2 to 5 seconds is most beneficial so on paper your tempo would look like 1-1-2 to 5-1, resulting in a 1 second lift, 1 second pause, 2 to 5 second negative, 1 second pause. Lifting in this way is a more calculated method, and it offers more gains than ‘just going at it’. It also (just like supersets and dropsets) exposes your working muscles to extended time under tension or time under load, and is one of the most overlooked but effective ways of taking your strength training to the next level.
BP Lift sessions are full of compound exercises and various training systems which are vital to maximise your strength gains.