Rep tempo part 2
In the previous post I discussed what rep tempo is. Now I will explain why it is important and the reasons for following a specific rep tempo in each of your exercises in your workout. Prescribing a certain rep tempo is an important exercise variable that unfortunately many trainers rarely use and they do a huge disservice to their clients by not doing so. The rep tempo is just as important exercise variable as sets, reps and the weight being used is.
Let me explain. Say you have 2 people doing a barbell bench press with 95 lbs. Let’s say one is using a rep tempo of 1010 and the other is using a rep tempo of 4010 and both do 8 repetitions. If you aren’t factoring in rep tempo you would think on the surface that both did the same amount of work and both sets of 8 repetitions with 95 lbs were the same. But the person that used a 1010 rep tempo was only stressing the muscle for 2 seconds per repetition. One second on the positive and one second on the negative. For 8 reps that gives us a time under tension or stress on the muscle of 16 seconds. Now the person who did a 4010 stressed the muscle for 5 seconds per repetition. 4 seconds on the negative and 1 second on the positive. For 8 reps that gives us a time under tension or stress on the muscle of 40 seconds. This person stressed the muscle for 24 more seconds and worked the muscle for a much longer period of time. 2 people doing the same weight and reps but with a totally different effect based on the different rep tempos. Even though the reps are the same the time under tension on the muscle is so different between the two different rep tempos that you are tapping into different types of muscle fibers and getting two different training responses.
Now this isn’t to say a longer rep tempo is better but more so to state the importance of rep tempo and how it must be factored in in any exercise program because just saying how many reps, sets and weight you are using doesn’t tell us the whole story.
Now the human body will adapt and adjust and get used to anything and everything in a workout and using the same rep tempo on every exercise in every workout is no different. Changing and varying the rep tempo is an important variable to change at times in a workout and there are benefits at times and reasons to using all different types of rep tempos whether they are fast and explosive or very slow and controlled or somewhere in between. Varying the rep tempo has been shown in research studies to be a important factor to increase muscle strength, size, athletic performance and fat loss.
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