In my work as a fitness professional, I thoroughly enjoy coming up with ways to make my client’s session innovative and fun.
of the ways I do that is providing lots of variety. One of my favourite
ways to do this is by changing the tempo of an exercise.
tempo of an exercise is the rate in which the exercise is performed.
There is a general tempo that is taught among fitness professionals.
The rate is 2 seconds, meaning 1, 2 up and 1, 2 down.
people use this tempo when strength training. However, there many other
tempos that can be used to stimulate your muscles in a different way.
For example, speeding up the tempo increases power versus strength.
Doing a set of exercises at a 1 second tempo allows you do more
repetitions per set.
When performing strength training
exercises, those of us in the fitness industry refer to the work
portion of the motion as “the positive” and the release portion of the
motion as “the negative”. Focusing on either of these motions while
strength training, can add up to great benefits.
down the entire motion of the “the positive” and “the negative” to a
count of 1, 2, 3, 4. You could also try moving “the positive” at a
count of 1, 2 and then slowing down “the negative” to a count of 1, 2,
3, 4 or vice versa.
Other tempos that can add some variety to
your exercises is 1, 2, 3. Half way up and half way down is another
innovative and different tempo to use. Half way up and half way down
(that’s the name I came up for it) has you not quite coming back to
your beginning position of your exercise. This one can be quite
challenging. I definitely recommend that one for the more advanced
Another really cool trick to try is
isometric holds. Isometric holds require you to hold the muscle in a
static state for a period of time. The great thing about isometric
holds is that you can dictate how long to hold them for.
holding the muscle in an isometric hold for a few seconds can
strengthen your muscles. I must warn you, however, slowing down the
motion and isometric holds cause the lactic acid in the muscles to
build up pretty fast. Lactic acid in the muscles is what causes “the
burn” you feel when exercising.
When you reach the point that
you feel “the burn” that tells you are close to fatiguing the muscle.
This sensation is what causes the muscle to strengthen. Always try to
complete your set especially when you begin to feel “the burn”. How
about trying mini pulses at the top of “the positive”. For example,
during a pile squat (that is a squat that is performed with the feet at
a diagonal position) hold the squat position and begin mini pulses that
have you going up and coming down within inches of the full extension.
I believe that is where the expression “feel the burn” came from; try
it and you will see why!
Changing the tempo of your exercises
will keep your fitness programme fresh and free from boredom! Using
these different tempos will shape your muscles in a whole new way! The
overall appearance of your muscles will look so much better! Enjoy!