How Tempo and Training Age are Related

James FitzGerald’s Weekly AMA: How Tempo and Training Age are Related

In this weeks Ask Me Anything sneak peek, James FitzGerald, answers a specific question about tempo and how training age and tempo are related.

Tempo Defined

The tempo is the rate of speed at which an exercise is done. Coaches use tempo to control the time under tension in each exercise. Tempo is written with four numbers for each lift (eccentric-isometric-concentric-isometric). For example bicep curls at a 2121 tempo: the client lowers the curl for 2 seconds, holds for 1 second, raises for 2 seconds, and holds for 1 second. Learn more about how tempo and time under tension affect your program in this course.

Tempo is Specific

This AMA starts off with a coach asking James “how is tempo related to training age, as I am programming a 5131 tempo then a 5151 tempo for 200 of my athletes”. James begins his answer with “I am going to assume you are not using this tempo for every exercise”. Tempo is very specific to the exercise and the individual because it controls the time under tension adds James.

Since tempo is so specific, prescribing the same tempo to 200 clients for every exercise will get a lot of different responses. Some might respond well while some might not respond at all. “I do not know how [in what setting] you are prescribing 200 athletes this tempo, but it will be tough to understand everyone’s training ages and response in a group model. That is why I am so fond of our model” says James. In his model, the OPEX System of Coaching, every client is treated as an individual while also allowing the coaches to work with more clients. Learn our model here.

Tempo is Individual

Tempo is very individual as every client’s training age differs and therefore the amount of time under tension they need unique. While James always recommends programming tempo according to the client’s needs, here are some rough guidelines for tempo based on training age.

Beginner Clients: These clients need longer tempos to increase their time under tension.

Intermediate Clients: These clients can now play with longer and quicker tempos balanced together.

Advanced Clients: These clients can use all three, longer, shorter, and even shorter tempos as these clients can fully express all three.

You Need to Individualize

In order to get the best results from your programs the tempos you use must be specific to your clients. But, tempo is just one piece of the puzzle and there are many more factors that influence your client’s programs. Learn the basics of individualized programs and learn practical implementation through client avatars with our program design specific course, Programming: Principles.

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