One of our favorite strategies to help our clients continue lifting and doing the exercises they
love (like squats, deadlifts, bench press, cleans etc) WHILE going through the rehab process is
While this training strategy isn’t the golden ticket to preventing all future lifting-related injuries
(and let’s be honest, there’s really no such thing, as injuries are never 100% preventable), it is a
powerful tool in helping you to continue to train while dealing with an injury.
So you’re probably wondering…what is tempo training?
Simply put, tempo is just the speed at which you perform the portions of each rep of an
Tempo is most often prescribed as a 3 digit number, X-Y-Z.
X is the duration of the eccentric or lowering phase, Y is the duration of the pause at the bottom,
and Z is the duration of the pause at the top.
So in this case, a 3-0-3 tempo would be a 3 second eccentric/lowering phase, no pause at the
bottom, and a 3 second concentric/lifting phase.
A 3-1-0 tempo would be a 3 second eccentric/lowering phase, a 1 second pause at the bottom, and a fast concentric/lifting phase.
Some of the most common tempo schemes that we use with our clients are 3-0-3, 5-3-0, 4-2-1,
Here are some examples of exercises using these tempos:
3-0-3 Tempo DB Floor Press:
5-3-0 Back Squat:
5-0-0 Incline Bench Press:
Tempo training like this is incredibly useful when dealing with an injury for 2 main reasons.
First, when using slower tempos or pauses, you are going to have to use less weight during the
exercise. This can help you limit the loading on an injured body part while still getting a good
training effect from exercise.
Second, the amount of stress that is placed on an injured area is not JUST about how much
weight you’re lifting, but also how FAST you’re lifting it.
The faster you move a certain weight, the more force (and therefore stress) there is being
applied to the area. With slower speeds, there is less overall force, which will tax injured body
So the next time you’re dealing with shoulder pain while benching, back pain while deadlifting,
knee pain while squatting, or any other injury, don’t automatically think that you have to
completely STOP those movements.
Try incorporating tempo training like this, and you’ll most likely be able to keep training the
movements that you love WHILE rehabbing your injury.
If you’re looking for expert help in implementing this into your training (or just rehabbing an injury in general), fill out the form below for a free phone consult with one of our experts to see if we can help you out!