Lifting Speed (tempo I guess)

This year for football we’re doing something we’ve never done before in the weight room. In the past, the coaches werent really concerned with the speed or tempo of your lift. But this year, they’re making us do 3 seconds down 3 seconds up for all lifts except for olympic lifts (which we arent really doing much of at this point in time). My question is, what are the advantages and disadvantages to lifting in this fashion, and what will this achieve as opposed to just lifting the weight without any regard to tempo?

Some of the others might have more to say about this, but personally i believe that controlling eccentric tempo and/or the pause at the bottom of a lift is ok. Shouldn’t concentric tempo should always be as fast as possible? I have always thought of controlling concentric tempo as a bodybuilding thing.

Seems like its training your body to be slow when the key is to train explosively which recuits the high threshold motor units which are responsible for most significant gains in strength.

Slowing down the tempo is advisable for novice lifters whos levels of muscular coordination are insufficient to effectively lift weights explosively.

Additionally, the slower tempo will result in longer time under tension, thereby, facilitating increases in muscle cross-section.

There is a time and place for every method of training, the question is…is it appropriate relative to the athletes current levels of physical preparedness and the training goal.

Is your coach having you lift this way, all year? How many reps?

As James said the increased TUT will cause more hypertrophy, but as Quik says it may slow you down!

And unless you and your team mates are very disiplined as you get near the end of a set and the weight gets heavy, the speed will surely increase. Especially with lifts like the squat, or pulling movements.

Plus eventually you’ll want to lift heavy. 6 second reps don’t allow you to lift near your max.

I always like a fast concentric. However early on in a training cycle, i like the idea of slower eccentrics with a slight pause.

As they year progresses, increasing the speed of the eccentric, with the elimination of the pause.

Lift fast to be Fast

Slow Ecc’s or Conc’s or even pauses are great for some things but not for actual speed.

I personally think their role in the early stages of rehab can be invaluable.

Aren’t pauses useful for working starting strength?

I might normally use slow eccentrics for beginners and generally with light weights,but once proper execution and trajectories are mastered I would not move too far away from speed in the concentric.

Mister C’s Age is 16! So I can understand this type of training for the AA phase but not all year round! Also you do train your body to be slow and there is no benefit from going up slowly concentrically at least not one that I know of! 6 seconds is insane! The TUT for the total lift should not exceed 3 seconds let alone 6!

From a different thread in this forum with the calve raises mentioned as an example exercise,

Referring to Ecc loading,

A. Mattes talks about endangering the myotatatic (stretch) reflex which protects the muscles. He sees this actions and the holding of a stretch position for more than 1.5 to 2 seconds causing the muscles being lengthened beyond their tonic/normal resting length to receive greater tension.

Remember you’ve gone beyond the stretch reflex because you’re now straining/stretching muscles to their normal elongation. Now it becomes a danger to the muscle fibers being forcefully elongated.

Now going back to you Steve standing with your heels off the tread of the step. You are lowering yourself so that your heels are now below the horizontal of the step. If you understand the above, then you’ve gone beyond your stretch reflex and the muscle, gastrocs/soleus which you are stretching are being strained under the weight of your entire gravitational body force.

If there are knots in the soleus or gastrocs, (fascia wrapped tightly around portions of those muscles which were injured through overuse or being overstretched…and contracted to protect themselves from further injury), you are overstretching/straining good muscle fiber that when overstretched can be damaged. The end result of this good feeling stretch is that there will come a day when you will say, stretching doesn’t work because you have a calf muscle which is almost totally bound up with fascia which like a tourniquet will not allow the muscle to move through its full range of motion (rom).

As John Jesse noted: Fascia has a strong tendendcy to contract due to age, chilling, poor posture, injury to the muscle it surrounds, and muscular imbalance. Contraction of fascia reduces the range of movement in body joints. You can begin to see why fascial release which is practiced by Rolfers and people of similar techniques works so well to assist someone get back to better balance and fuller range of motion by allowing those adhesions to be loosened from where they are holding unnecessarily to other fascia/muscles and bone.

Something I’ll mention but won’t go into fully since I don’t comprehend it enough to fully explain is the reality of “The Kinetic Chain.”

In movement there is a chain of nerve firings which take place at various moments in the movement of any body part. You probably have seen those machines which takes a person through the ROM of a joint so that when healing from surgery on that joint, there is no binding up of the surrounding muscles and tendons. In walking/running when the muscles within the chain of movement reach the correct position, the nerves fire to set in motion the next part of the chain. Simply by putting your muscles under an intense stretch, you can interfere with the normal firing of nerves in those muscles so that the normal, graceful body movement is impaired.

Supervenomsuperman states,

“I personally would start with 2 seconds. Anymore than 2 seconds and your just asking for trouble like a lot of bodybuilders who do negatives and try and bring the bar down as slow as possible until gravity beats them.”

so no sub-max eccentrics, negatives, isometrics, etc…i’m throwing out my chris t books as we speak. :confused:

Don’t throw them out.

Sub max eccentrics and isometrics are a fantastic method for retaining strength and muscle mass during periods of other CNS intensive activity (eg in season football)

Remember, there are no best methods, only optimal methods

Thibaudeau has offered some fantastic insights to the strength training community

Training does not exist in a vacuum. For this reason you must not take training insights passed on this forum, or any other medium, as gospel.

The exception would be if it speed training insights from Charlie, as he has been there and done that and if it has proved to be effective you can bet your ass that he has integrated it into his program in a highly systematized manner.

No other poster here, to my knowledge, is in the same universe, with respect to their own athletic accomplishments or gross product (number of elite [Olympic caliber] athletes they have produced)

Consider everything and make your own informed decisions


I was only kidding. Supervenom is very knowledgeable but he limits his scope of training methods by being quick to dismiss different ideas. It was my attempt at sarcasm to show superven that there are times when TUT manipulation can be useful.

Btw, great site!

I clearly have not yet mastered the interpretation of those small punctuation faces making different expressions.


Enh! Wrong Again! I never said not to use eccentric loading or isometrics! I only suggested they not be used for beginners! Mister C is only 16! I personally plan to use Ecc loading with what I would consider proper guidelines very soon! My point was that this is a young lifter who should master technique and acquire strength (until he platues which won’t happen for sometime!) first!

Then later on when he platues, ecc loading will help him get over the hump so to speak!

BTW, Zatsiosrky makes a similar argument about ecc loading, "The pause between eccentric and concentric phases of a movement eliminates any advantage that could be gained from the stretch-shortening cycle…[athletes mistakenly] perform the stretch-shortening action in two sequential movements instead of one continuous movement. Because of the negative transfer of training effect, the use of yielding [eccentric] exercises does not improve performance if reversible muscle action " (Pg 158)

Again, I believe there is a place for eccentric loading but if you put it in the wrong place you could screw up your performance; furthermore, ecc loading has DOMS effects for 24-96 hours. Therefore, a young athlete may not recover in time before,


please see page 16 on the westside for/against thread…posts #233 & 239.

AND? I still stick by those posts, I am not how you would say a flipflopper! My point in those threads was that there is greater risk in ecc loading compared to regular lifting! I still think that TUT greater than 3 seconds has a good chance of leading to an injury especially if a user is doing close to a 1RM lifting percentages! In eccentric loading its doubtful that you’ll injure yourself if you following proper guidelines; however, in an ecc-con lift like the bench press if you do both parts of the lift for 3 seconds than your chance for injury goes up astronomically!

Thanks for all the feedback guys. I heard the coach mention that after about a month or two he’s gonna have us lifting without any regards to the 3 sec tempo. So we’ll see how it goes.