The B & B Connection: Episode 6 – Tempo Training

Hi Fitness Folks!

Welcome to the sixth episode of the B & B (Bret & Brad) Connection.

Brad Schoenfeld and I are recording a 30-minute podcast each week where we discuss muscle science and anything else we feel like rambling about. The key is to keep it to 30 minutes so you don’t feel overwhelmed.

In case you missed them, click HERE to listen to episode 1 (hypertrophy science), HERE to listen to episode 2 (HIT vs. HVT), HERE to listen to episode 3 (periodization), HERE to listen to episode 4 (variety in training), and HERE to listed to episode 5 (good versus bad exercises).

Episode 6

Click HERE to download the MP3, or just listen below (or watch the YouTube video underneath).

Links

Short-term high- vs. low-velocity isokinetic lengthening training results in greater hypertrophy of the elbow flexors in young men

Acute Training Variables, Muscle Growth, Strength, and Power – Velocity and Frequency

Intended rather than actual movement velocity determines velocity-specific training response

Tempo and hypertrophy

Optimizing power output by varying repetition tempo

Effects of lifting tempo on one repetition maximum and hormonal responses to a bench press protocol

Resistance training for strength: effect of number of sets and contraction speed

Effects of regular and slow speed resistance training on muscle strength

Effect of explosive versus slow contractions and exercise intensity on energy expenditure

Effect of maximal and slow versus recreational muscle contractions on energy expenditure in trained and untrained men

Mode and speed specificity of eccentric and concentric exercise training

The effect of eccentric strength training at various speeds on concentric strength of the quadriceps and hamstring muscles

Effect of different pushing speeds on bench press

Muscle activations under varying lifting speeds and intensities during bench press

Effects of lifting rate on elbow torques exerted during arm curl exercises

The Development of a Repetition-Load Scheme for the Eccentric-Only Bench Press Exercise

The effect of time-under-tension and weight lifting cadence on aerobic, anaerobic, and recovery energy expenditures: 3 submaximal sets

Forms of Variable Resistance Training

Bret & Brad

11 Comments

  • Chuck says:

    Bret,

    Would you ever consider loading this as an iTunes Podcast? I’d love to be able to listen from my phone!

    Thanks man

  • Nolan says:

    I like John Kiefers methodology regarding the eccentric portion of the rep: employing a “free fall” at the bottom of an eccentric with a quick turn around into an explosive concentric. Anecdotally, I found it helped to make that mind-to-muscle connection in muscles I found were lagging behind. What about total time worked or rather the set length? Any data on that for strength or hypertrophy for that? I remember reading some bro-logic that the working muscle should remain under stimulation for 40-60 secs. Sounds dubious but would be interested in hearing your thoughts Mr C. Thanks.

    • Kenny Croxdale says:

      Dr. Tom McLaughlin

      McLaughlin wrote “The Biomechanics of Powerlifting” for Powerlifting USA magazine back in the 1980s.

      McLaughlin also wrote “Bench Press More Now”, a book based on his research.

      “Speed Kills”

      In one of his articles and in the book, McLaughlin addressed the issue of eccentric speed in heavy lifts.

      McLaughlin’s examined novice/intermediate and edvance bench pressers. One of his finding was that elite lifter’s “rode the brakes” in lowering the bar in the bench press (squats, other heavy movements).

      Doing so minimized the amount of eccentric force that lifter had to overcome to drive the weight back up.

      Novice/Intermediate Example

      McLaughlin found that novice/intermediate lifters who allowed too much eccentric bar acceleration in lowering the bar had to deal to deal with 149% more force.

      In other words, when lowering a 300 lb bench press, novice/intermediate had to exert 447 lbs (300 lbs X 149%) of force to drive the bench press back up.

      Elite Example

      McLaughlin found that elite lifters lowered the bar much slower. In doing so, the elite lifter only had to deal with 112% more force.

      That means, in lowering a 300 lb bench press an elite lifters had to exert 336 lbs (300 lbs X 112%) more force to drive the weight up.

      The Last Two Inches

      McLaughlin noted that in the last two inches of the bench press (squat, etc), you need to allow the eccentric bar speed to accelerate.

      Doing this elicits the stretch reflex, eliciting more power out of the hole.

      Kenny Croxdale

  • Sam says:

    In my opinion, this episode fits very well with the HIT vs HVT episode. HIT proponents require a rep to be performed a very specific way (you often see a 2 second concentric and 4 second eccentric) and HVT proponents usually do not specify exactly how a rep should be performed. I thought maybe you guys would have discussed this more. Not only is low volume vs high volume a difference between HVT and HIT, but the specific way a rep is performed is extremely different.

    Also, I think it is worth noting that tempo training is nothing new- Arthur Jones advocated slower reps and reducing momentum back in the 1970s when introducing his HIT concepts. He demonstrated his methods to be extremely effective with athletes in a study called Project Total Conditioning which was performed with football players at West Point Academy.

    Last, is it true or false that performing reps slower will put less force on your joints? I think a primary concern when training should be safety and long-term joint health. Just wondering what your thoughts were on this.

    Thanks

  • Kenny Croxdale says:

    Bret and Brad.

    I enjoy the topics you present. With that said, I like to add my two cents on some of the information you presented.

    Jump Squat Jarring Forces

    On of Bret’s concerns with the us of Compensatory Acceleration in performing Squats is that with sub max load, you go ballistic (go airborne).

    This turning the Squat into a jump squat. Bret’s concern was that the jarring forces upon landing.

    First of all, their isn’t that much of a jarring force providing you land properly.

    Secondly, slowing down the bar speed is counter productive.

    “The accompanying deceleration phases result in significantly decreased motor unit recruitment, velocity of movement, power production and compromises the effectiveness of the exercise.” (Berry et. al., 2001)

    It “trains the muscle to “put on the brakes” for three quarters of the movement! Imagine the disastrous consequences of training a boxer to slow down a punch for the last 75% of the movement or a football lineman to explode only partly off the line of scrimmage.” (Flannagan, 2001). Plyometric Bench Press Training for More Strength and Power: http://www.liftinglarge.com/Plyometric-Bench-Press-Training-for-More-Strength-and-Power_ep_52-1.html

    Accommodating Resistance

    As Bret mentioned, Accommodating Resistance (Bands/Chains/Bungees) allow you to continue to accelerate through the full range of the movement without your body or the bar becoming airborne.

    Loads

    Another item Bret mentioned was that most lifter use Accommodating Resistance Loads that are heavier that they should be in training for power and/or speed.

    Eccentric Speed

    Brad mentioned quoted Dr. Mel Siff in one of your previous seminars, stating that there are no good or bad exercises. It depends on their application.

    As you know, that applies to the use of Eccentric Speed in strength training, as well.

    “What is the most direct means to achieve strength gains specific to the demands of jumping?” http://www.mansfieldathletics.com/pole_vaulting/docs/eccentric_workouts.pdf

    This is an excellent piece of work on the application of Depth Landings (High Velocity Eccentrics) as a method of increasing the performance of High Jumpers in track.

    The use of High Velocity Eccentric are an effective tool with traditional strength training movement that are used with light to moderate loads.

    Kenny Croxdale

  • Stelbel says:

    For ideas of future discussion topics you briefly touched on older people doing moves that wouldn’t normal be prescribed for them, but you sited studies and reasons why the more “power lifting” (squat, dead lift etc.) are actually beneficial to age. Even if the listeners are young they have family that are older, and eventually age is something that happens to the best of us, so better to be prepared!

    • Kenny Croxdale says:

      Stelbel,

      Older people can preform the same movements as everyone else. The only contra-indication for an older individual (anyone) is if have some type of pre-existing condition.

      They should preform Squats, Deadlifts, etc because these are true “Functional Movements”. You have to squat to get down and up from a chair, sofa, etc.

      You have to deadlift to pick pennies, nickels off the floor.

      Compound exercises (Squats, Deadlifts, Press, etc) are movement that you use every day. Also, compound movement are the “Money Exercises”. You work a multitude of muscle groups with one movement.

      Kenny Croxdale

  • Ondřej says:

    I’d like to ask whether you feel the exercise is subjectively harder and the rep more controlled at 3/3 tempo in comparison to speeds you generally use. I watched Bret’s holiday bodyweight training clip and damn, it’s really fast training. I originate from HIT school that emphasises control, an while I don’t support SuperSlow, I am a little afraid to do those quick reps. If the TUL is the same, are there any advantages/disadvantages of performing let’s say 4/4 reps vs 1/1? Because subjectively it feels like 1/1 is a “bad” rep that was done more for ticking off a number than anything else…it feels you don’t really focus on muscles, you just move quickly up and down, and there is no stop at turnarounds.

  • When it comes to hypertrophy, it seems like the main argument against long eccentrics is losing the mind-muscle connection. What if, instead of counting, you simply lower slowly (slower than you normally would), while still concentrating on the feel? Are there merits then?

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