Men's Fitness - - Trainer | How To Use Variables -


The speed at which you do your reps. This is of­ten un­nat­u­rally slowly, in or­der to max­imise mus­cu­lar growth. Tempo is of­ten recorded in a four-digit for­mat – for in­stance, 4021. The num­bers re­fer, in or­der, to the time in sec­onds taken for the ec­cen­tric (low­er­ing) part of the move, the pause in the bot­tom po­si­tion, the con­cen­tric (lift­ing) part and the pause at the top. Oc­ca­sion­ally you’ll see an X, sym­bol­is­ing ex­plo­sive­ness, which sim­ply means “as fast as pos­si­ble”.


There’s some ev­i­dence that time un­der ten­sion (TUT), or how long your mus­cles are work­ing dur­ing your sets, is more im­por­tant than how many sets or reps you do for hy­per­tro­phy. So do­ing a ten-rep set that lasts for a solid 60 sec­onds might be more ef­fec­tive than grind­ing out 12-15 reps with the same weight but faster. Bear in mind, though, that to­tal TUT for each body part seems to be the defin­ing fac­tor – so if it’s chest day, in­clude your dips as well as flyes and bench presses. Con­versely, other stud­ies sug­gest that lift­ing ex­plo­sively can re­cruit oth­er­wise hard-to-hit mus­cle fi­bres, so the odd fast con­cen­tric isn’t a bad idea.


Su­per­set a slow set of bench presses with chin-ups, us­ing a weight that al­lows you to do six reps of each, with a 4021 tempo. Rest for 90 sec­onds, and re­peat a to­tal of four times. If you’ve never done it be­fore, en­joy the all-day pump.

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