Think about applying these two principles:
1. Time under tension
A muscle can be stimulated better depending on how long tension is applied to the muscles being worked. This will allow for better adaptation and stronger muscles when using your body weight. This principle is best applied when adding more time to the tempo of your exercise.
Let’s take the squat, for example, you can drop down quickly under low muscular control due to gravity. So, whilst you may think you’re doing a great job it’s not training the muscles as effectively and loading the tendons, ligaments, and joints more. You can also hold the bottom of the exercise under full tension rather than bouncing back up. All of these add to more work in the muscle for the same exercise.
What tempo to apply?
Evidence does show that the going down phase (Eccentric) is where most of the muscle adaptations occur. I like at least 3 seconds decent if not more. I also like the hold at the bottom (Isometric) under full tension. Again, I like 3-5 seconds feeling that tension really start to build. Don’t let go of that tension in this phase!
Coming up (the concentric phase) I like an acceleration of 1 second as this stimulates some of our faster more powerful muscle fibres. But you can come up slowly 3-5 seconds.
Just imagine that squat with the tempo:
3-5 secs down
3-5 secs hold under tension at the bottom
3-5 secs coming up
Do this for 10 reps and you have a completely different exercise experience even though it’s the same exercise.
Whilst these are guides you can decide to change up what you do, holding for longer if you choose. You’re looking for things to sting in the muscles that are working.
Enjoy a new way of looking at an old exercise!
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