What is Tempo Lifting

When lifting weights, no matter what your goal or the exercise your performing is, there is always some sort of tempo we are lifting at. This is true even if your not thinking about it/focusing on it. When we intentionally manipulate this tempo is when we are tempo lifting. Within this article, I will be explaining “what is tempo lifting”.

This will be broken down into a definition/explanation, benefits and how you can implement tempo lifting within your training. Let’s learn about what tempo lifting is!

Tempo Lifting Explained:

As I mentioned above, tempo lifting is when you intentionally manipulate the tempo of a lift. This is typically used with slow eccentrics, however, it can be with the concentric, and even adding in pauses at the bottom or top of the lift. This is definitely a “fine-tuning” part of lifting, however, nonetheless, it is still a part.

To put this into context for you, lets look at a tempo squat. This is when you control the eccentric movement for 3 seconds, and explode up on the concentric, sometimes implementing a pause at the bottom. This isn’t the way you would be doing the majority of your squatting under ideal circumstances; however, it does have its benefits which I will talk about in the next section of this article!

Benefits of Tempo Lifting:

There are a few benefits worth considering with tempo lifting. I would say the main three include, coming back from an injury or time off from training, working on form, or creating a similar stimulus of heavy weights with lighter ones. There are reasons as to why these things are beneficial which I will get into below.

While I would never tell you how to come back from an injury, one way that MAY be beneficial would be to work with tempo lifting. This would force you to use lighter weights, while re-familiarizing yourself with the form, and ensuring your technique is bang on. Also, it would help to get you moving and back in the grove. Tempo lifting can also be beneficial to work on form in general, regardless of your circumstances. This will have good carry over to when you’re lifting heavier weight with a more “normal” tempo. This because you were practicing your form perfectly. Lastly, constantly lifting heavy weight can take a toll on our body. Tempo lifting allows us to use lighter weights for the same reps as a heavy weight and get a similar challenge. This can also be beneficial if you’re trying to get back into the swing of things.

Implementing Tempo Lifting:

When implementing tempo lifting, we need to think about our personal circumstances. Are you trying to recover from an injury, get back into the swing of things, work on form, or are you just trying to make a lighter weight more challenging? These are all things we need to consider, which I will be talking about below.

If you’re trying to recover from an injury, I would suggest speaking with your doctor to get specific instructions. If you’re trying to get back into the swing of things in general, maybe use tempo lifting as your main lifting style for your compound lifts for a week or two. If you’re trying to work on technique, consider throwing in a set at the end of your other working sets for a period of time. Lastly, if you’re trying to make a lighter weight feel more challenging, consider implementing a short block of 2-4 weeks and do your main, compound movement sets with a tempo lifting style.

Concluding Remarks:

Within this article, I have outlined what tempo lifting is, its benefits and how you can implement it within your training routine/program. All of this with the goal to further your knowledge and so you can think about how tempo lifting can fit into your training.

I look forward to you being able to benefit from this information and I thank you for taking the time to read this article! As always, if you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to leave them below and I will be sure to reply!


Until Next Time,


Kohl Johnson

Please refer to my liability disclaimer to ensure you know who is responsible for use of this information after reading.

Support is much appreciated if you benefited from this:

Kohl Johnson

I am a 16-year-old fitness fanatic! I have learned nothing but quality training and nutrition information from the utmost well-respected individuals in the field. Now, my only focus is to share this knowledge with you for your benefit, in the most honest way possible. We are all in this together! LET'S GO!

2 Responses

  1. Kohl, I have not implemented weight lifting in my routine.  I found your article very interesting. I’ve never heard of tempo lifting before. I’m a little older (44).  I’m looking for a way to get started lifting and getting my body into better shape.  Do you think tempo lifting is a good way to get started lifting weights?

    • Hi Hans, glad you liked the article! When starting with lifting weights, it’s super important to master technique first. While nothing will prevent injury, I think tempo lifting can be a great way to help work on form while limiting the risk of injury. This because of the lighter weights and focus on form. Hope that helps!

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