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Lifting Tip: Vary Your Lift Speed

Just like it is important to challenge and confuse your cardiovascular system by doing interval training or using fartlek techniques, you can increase the benefits of weight training by varying the tempo of your reps.

While very slow repetitions challenge the endurance strength of the muscle, it is important to incorporate a variety of tempos to your workout, including medium speeds as well as super slow. You can also lift slowly and recover quickly for a set and then reverse by making the return much slower. Using these varying tempos challenges the muscles with different rates of tension, increasing the benefits of strength training.

To track your tempo count while you lift. For example, use a steady count of four to complete a bicep curl, and a count of one to lower the weight (not letting the arm flop). For your second set, or the second half of your first set, reverse and bicep curl on one count and lower for four counts. Tempo variations work well with both free weights or machines.

Remember, variety is the spice of life!


rumpel2 rumpel2 9 years
great tip!! :)
llamapyjamas llamapyjamas 10 years
The 24-lift classes at 24-hour fitness go up 3, down 1 for a few reps, up 2, down 2 for a few reps, up 1, down three for a few reps, singles, and repeat. Besides keeping your muscles engaged, it also helps keep your mind engaged as well since you're constantly varying what you're doing.
ccsugar ccsugar 10 years
Good advice! Fit I don't know if you've heard of The Firm workouts, but I own many of their strength training videos and most of their sets include slow lifts/slow releases. For example, taking 3 counts to lower into a squat then one count up, or one count up for a bicep curl then 3 counts down. I think it's great too to "surprise" your muscles!! :)
Spectra Spectra 10 years
I'm definitely going to try this. I sometimes get bored with my strength routine and I'm always looking for ways to get faster results and to challenge my muscles more. Thanks for the tip!
almostloli almostloli 10 years
ohoooo :D gonna try this tomorrow!
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 10 years
I always do this! Varing how fast I pull the weights up or down. It does work every muscle a little harder!
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