Five reasons why you should differentiate the pace in training programs


For over 20 years, I have been directing my words to bodybuilding and strength training adepts, stressing the importance of using a variety of stimuli in the training process. Those who have taken my words to heart, often changing the parameters of the load in training, share their successes with me. Here are the reasons why you should bet on diversity.

If you do not manipulate such training load parameters as tempo, rest between sets, as well as the frequency of training units, unfortunately you can not determine exactly what type of training stimulus you are applying. Using 15-second rest breaks between the series will be a completely different training system compared to the use of 2-minute breaks in the mentioned training. And if you try to combine a small number of repetitions with several series, or a large number of repetitions with a large number of series in a given exercise, then certainly your body will be overtrained soon.

One of the most underestimated parameters of the training load is the speed of the exercise being performed. The tempo refers to muscle tone during one repetition (time under tension). For those who are still not convinced of the importance of the pace, here are five reasons that have been supported by scientific research.

Read also: How to build muscle mass?

1. Differentiate the pace to break the stagnation
Differentiating the pace or changing the speed of movement for individual components of a given exercise is a great way to overcome stagnation, as well as shock for the body to adapt. The pace or time of muscle tone is a key element in resistance training. Unfortunately, this element is often overlooked by trainers. The time of muscular tension regulates the number of stimuli to which our body is exposed. For example, 10 repetitions of squat with a weight of 60 kg made at a rate of 1 second lowering 1 second return to the starting position, will be a completely different exercise for the same number of repetitions and the same weight made at a rate of 4 seconds lowering 1 second return to the starting position. The time of muscular tension will be the key. In the first example, it is 20 seconds, while in the second it is already 50 seconds (5 seconds x 10 repeats, plus crowd). This is a 30 second difference in which muscle fibers are subjected to external load forces.

Here is a four-digit way of storing the 4210 pace. The first digit dictates the rate of a portion of eccentric motion, or as you prefer lowering, the second number indicates a pause before the concentric motion phase, and the last digit is the pause before the next repetition. In this case the rate 4210 for bench press lying means 4 seconds for the phases of lowering the bar to the chest, 2 seconds pause at the bottom and 1 second, rapid transfer of the bar up, where the next repetition starts again.

It is necessary to vary the tempo for a given portion of exercise, because it increases the so-called intramuscular tension, and thus provides a new stimulus for muscle tissue. This is a great way to further develop strength when the body has adapted to the number of repetitions and series of the given exercise without further progression. In addition, it is an ideal solution when we want to train our muscles stimulating them to grow and at the same time we care about strength.

2. Train various energy systems to increase adaptation
For optimal results of sports training, you should not only vary the pace of a given exercise, but also use those exercises that have a natural ability to generate more speed. Explosive ballistic exercises such as Olympic weight lifting will cause more adaptation in the nervous system, while exercises with a lower speed generation capability with different portions of the eccentric and concentric phase will bring more adaptation at the metabolic level – increase in muscle glycogen, creatine phosphate or ATP. The combination of these two types of exercise results in better performance in shaping strength and beneficial changes in the composition of the body in favor of muscle tissue, compared to the use of each of these methods separately.

Check: Creatine – ATP and anabolism


Differentiation of the time of muscle tone facilitates adaptation at the muscular level. In one of the scientific studies, it was found that with increased muscle tone time (TUT), the skeletal muscle was more fatigued, as a result of the weakening of the mechanisms responsible for the contraction of this muscle. Researchers suggest the possibility of achieving significant gains in strength and muscle mass if the nervous system is increased by varying the pace.

3. Use an isometric pause for fast-twitch units
Resistant motor units are fast twitch fibers (strong / thick / white muscle fibers). A great way to increase their involvement is an isometric pause in a convenient position (where the body is the strongest for a given lever length). For bending exercises, such as bending your arms or legs, you should pause in the lower position for 1 to 2 seconds. For exercises to straighten joints, such as squats or bench pressing, pause at the top (between concentric and eccentric movement), where the limbs reach an almost locked position.
Of course, changing the pace also means the possibility of pauses in unfavorable positions, where you have a weak lever. The position with a weak lever in the bending exercises is “up” and in the straightening exercises is “down.
It is easy to imagine that keeping the lower position in the squat for 1 to 2 seconds would give a valuable training stimulus for the nervous system and thus increase the intramuscular tension at the same time. This combination can stimulate the further development of strength.

It is necessary to take into account that it is necessary to train motor units with a high threshold of resistance to training in slower movements such as squat, deadlift and bench press, in order to improve speed in complex combinations of movements, such as Olympic weightlifting buoys.
For example; we can not do a power strike on 100 kg if we do not sit down about 184kg. (which results from the physics / equations of motion – crowd).
So if someone is squatting 160kg, there is no way to force 100kg without a significant improvement in the squat result. Variable rate of motion is an ideal method to improve these parameters.



Posted on: January 22, 2019

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