Why going slow is better! by Christa Fobbs

  Ever try to rush into a workout just to get back to real life? Well…  

  Tempo is very important for resistance training. The tempo for resistance training is dependent upon what one is trying to accomplish. If just beginning an exercise program, a slower tempo is best. However, professional athletes and seasoned gym junkies can also benefit greatly from using a slower tempo.

  A slower tempo, such as a 4-2-1 tempo, allows for a quick one-count contraction of the muscle, a two-count stabilization of the muscles, for core and joint stabilization, and a four-count lowering motion, which causes the greatest muscle growth. This tempo is effective for muscular endurance when using 12-20 repetitions and performing 3 sets.

   You will find that taking time to build the stabilizer muscles early in your training will increase your strength for future phases of training. Ignoring this phase of training will yield poorer strength gains later, because you are only as strong as your stabilizer muscles are, as they play a major role in all movements. When moving and lifting weights, the stabilizer muscles are integral in giving the core and joints maximum stability. Therefore, having weak stabilizers equate to weaker muscles and poor movement mechanics.

  The stabilizer muscles consist primarily of slow twitch muscle fibers, which is why a slower tempo is needed. Also important to note is that the slower tempo helps condition the connective tissues properly so that they will not tear later on when lifting heavier loads at a faster tempo. Connective tissue has limited blood flow which is why the slow tempo is important for their conditioning.

   After four to six weeks of training at the 4-2-1 slow tempo, your body will be ready to progress to a faster tempo, such as 2-0-2 tempo for strength endurance. Progression is the key to longevity in weight training and the best way to build the body from a foundational standpoint.

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