Proper Lifting Tempo to Lift More Weight & Get Stronger

Proper lifting tempo-slow eccentric & fast concentric-helps you lift more weight and get stronger. Control your descent to maintain proper form and position and stay tight in preparation for the ascent.

Why Proper Lifting Tempo Matters

New lifters often collapse into the bottom of the squat, press, and bench press. Some lifters may believe that a faster eccentric phase may preserve energy for the concentric portion. Others may fear the weight on the bar. An inability & misunderstanding of how to stay tight and maintain proper form cay cause others to collapse.

Regardless of reason, a proper descent sets up a proper ascent. If you find yourself out of position or loose as you prepare to drive up against the weight of the barbell, you are more likely to fail the rep. Staying tight and maintaining proper form ensure you are in the proper position to drive the bar up.

During the eccentric phase, your muscles lengthen under tension. Like a rubber band with its ends pulled apart ready to shoot out of one’s hand, the muscles prepare to concentrically contract as you lower yourself and the bar. While you can lower yourself too slowly, most people lower themselves too quickly and without proper control.

How to Fix Your Lifting Cadence

To perform a lift with proper lifting cadence, you can use the cue “down slow, up fast.” You might also count in your head “one-one-thous-and, two-one-thous-and, three-one-thous-and” to slow down the lift.

This applies most to lifts that do not start from a dead stop (i.e. the deadlift) but start from the top (squat, bench press, press). This means that you perform a lowering (eccentric) portion below the rising (concentric) phase.

No matter the weight, lifting tempo helps you maintain form, stay tight, lift more weight, and get stronger.

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