When you head into the gym, the box, the track or wherever it is that you choose to work out, you've probably got a plan written out, it's on an app or it's mapped out in your head. You've got everything covered from start to finish, except for the intensity. Sure, your intensity can be written and be prepared for, but when it truly shows is when you set the workout log to the side and get to work.
Here at Men's Fitness, we strive to find and share some of the best tips and tricks to consider when trying to bring your A-game, every time. Strength and Conditioning expert, Jon-Erik Kawamoto C.S.C.S. gives us an Intensity Amplifier that looks at four different repetition tempos you can apply within a set of four.
The tempo of an exercise is the speed of each repetition, normally written as four numbers in the format ABCD. The first number (A) is the eccentric phase (muscle lengthening; think of the down phase in a squat or bench press) and C is the concentric phase (muscle shortening; think of the up phase in a squat or bench press). B is the pause between the eccentric and concentric phases (think pause at the bottom of the squat or bench press) and D is the pause after the concentric phase (think pause at the top of a squat or bench press).
* For example, a tempo of 4121 would be read as: 4-seconds eccentric, 1-second pause, 2-seconds concentric and 1-second pause.
Rep Tempo One: Slow Negatives 4/1/2/1
Benefits of Slower Negatives:
Slow negatives will jack up the intensity of any exercise as the weight typically used with slow negatives is heavier compared to “normal” sets. Slow negatives result in muscle ripping reps with intense delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) a couple days after the workout. This training style is hard on the body and should be used in phases, but when applied, is great for taking your strength and muscle building to the next level.
Rep Tempo Two: Fast Negatives 1/0/X/1
Benefits of Fast Negatives:
Fast negatives are commonly seen when performing plyometrics or explosive reps. Fast negatives allow for the storage of elastic energy that can be utilized in the subsequent concentric phase of the movement resulting in more explosive power. Ensure the eccentric phase is fast, but performed with control and make sure the pause or transition before the concentric phase is as short as possible. This will provide maximal power production.