What is Tempo Training?

High Intensity Interval Training


Tempo training involves performing reps at a controlled, specified pace determined by the number of seconds spent in each phase of the lift – eccentric, bottom, and concentric.


  • Tempos are prescribed like 3-1-2: 3 seconds lowering, 1 second at the bottom, 2 seconds raising back up.
  • Slower eccentrics increase time under tension to spur hypertrophy. Explosive concentric tempos build power.
  • Use a weight that allows meeting the tempo targets. Tempo training forces you to focus on quality versus quantity of reps.
  • Combining tempo manipulation with straight sets, rest-pause, supersets and other techniques provides training variety.


  • Squats with a 4-0-2 tempo focused on a slow eccentric.
  • Bench press with a 2-0-1 explosive concentric tempo.

Related Terms

  • Time under tension, plyometrics, power training, hypertrophy

Common Questions

  • What tempo is best for muscle growth? A 3-1-1 or 4-2-2 tempo provides greater time under tension.
  • Is tempo training better than normal reps? Varying tempo is an effective technique but not required every set.

Do Not Confuse With

  • Supersets – Tempo training isn’t directly related to supersets, which focus on exercise pairing.
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