Tempo Training



Bench Press 5x3 tempo (2010)



10 Toes to Bar

10KB Swings

We introduced tempo training this month and though we've talked about the how's and why's, here's an outstanding explanation by Crossfit Invictus' C.J. Martin:

What Does @ 30X0 Mean? – Why I Like Tempo Training
Written by C.J. Martin

Slow down . . . it might be your key to avoiding injury and getting stronger.

Tempo training is not just for bodybuilders.  Olympic caliber athletes from all over the world use tempo training to become stronger, faster and more powerful.  The benefits of tempo training have been touted for years by the likes of Bulgarian Olympians and their coaches to internationally renowned strength coaches Ian King andCharles Poliquin.  I was introduced to the benefits of tempo training by my coach and mentor, James Fitzgerald, who uses it very effectively to train many of the top CrossFit competitors.

It’s time for the entire Invictus community to understand how to read tempo prescriptions and understand why tempo training is beneficial.

What Does 30X0 Mean?

Tempo prescriptions come in a series of four numbers representing the times in which it should take to complete four stages of the lift.  In a workout, the tempo prescription will follow the assigned number of reps, such as:

Front Squat x 2-3 reps @ 30X0

The First Number – The first number refers to the lowering (eccentric) phase of the lift.  Using our front squat example, the 3 will represent the amount of time (in seconds) that it should take you to descend to the bottom of the squat.  (The first number always refers to the lowering/eccentric phase, even if the movement begins with the ascending/concentric phase, such as in a pull-up.)

The Second Number – The second number refers to the amount of time spent in the bottom position of the lift – the point in which the lift transitions from lowering to ascending.  In our front squat example, the prescribed 0 means that the athlete should reach the bottom position and immediately begin their ascent.  If, however, the prescription was 32X0, the athlete would be expected to pause for 2 seconds at the bottom position.

The Third Number – The third number refers to ascending (concentric) phase of the lift – the amount of time it takes you to get to the top of the lift.  Yes, I am aware that X is not a number.  The X signifies that the athlete should EXPLODE the weight up as quickly as possible.  In many cases, this will not be very fast, but it is the intent that counts – try to accelerate the weight as fast as you can.  If the third number is a 2, it should take the athlete 2 seconds to get the lift to the top regardless of whether they are capable of moving it faster.

The Fourth Number – The fourth number refers to how long you should pause at the top of the lift.  Take, for example, a weighted pull-up prescription of 20X2, the athlete would be expected to hold his or her chin over the bar for two seconds before beginning to come down.

Counting – It seems silly to even mention how to count seconds, but I have heard many clients audibly count to 4 in less than one second while under a heavy load.  So, to ensure that your 4 second count and mine are the same, use “one thousands,” as in: 1-one thousand, 2-one thousand, 3-one thousand, 4-one thousand.

Got it?  If you need more practice, think about how you would perform the following:

Push-Up x 15 reps @ 2111

Bulgarian Split Squat x 6-8 reps @ 41X1

Pull-Up x 81X2

Keep Reading Here:  What Does 30X0 mean?