- Front Squat: 4-4-4-4 (Tempo 32X1)
B. “Nancy” 3RFT
- 400m run
- 15 OHS @ 95/65
C. AMRAP 10
- 10 Airdyne Calories
- 10 Burpees
What Does Tempo 32X1 Mean?
You’ve seen the above notation before on our workouts, and this notation defines the tempo we’d like you to use for a given lift. When people think about lifting weights, or doing bodyweight exercises for strength, they usually think of sets and reps. Sets and reps are the most common notations, and they surely are important, but tempo is not to be overlooked! First, you need to understand what the notation means:
- The first number is the length of time of the eccentric phase, which is the lowering portion of any lift. Descending in a squat or pull-up are both the eccentric phase, as is lowering the bar to your chest in a bench.
- The second number is the length of pause after the eccentric phase. This would be the pause in the bottom for a squat, or a pause on the chest for a bench, or hanging with arms extended at the bottom of the pull-up.
- The third number (or letter) is the length of the concentric phase, which is what you think of as doing the work of the lift. Standing up out of a squat is concentric, as is pulling your chin over the bar in a pull-up.
- The final number is the length of pause after the concentric phase. This would be standing at the top of a squat, or holding your chin above the bar in a pull-up.
As you might have noticed, not all exercises start with the same phase. Some start with the lowering of the weight (eccentric), and other start with the raising of the weight (concentric). Squats and bench press, for example, begin with the eccentric phase, and thus the tempo notation is in order. However, things like standing presses and pull-ups start with the concentric phase, so the tempo notation is not in order. Using the 32X1 notation as an example:
- Back squat: 3 second descent, followed by 2 second pause in the bottom, up as fast as possible, followed by a 1 second pause at the top.
- Pull-up: up as fast as possible, 1 second pause with chin above the bar, 3 second descent, followed by 2 second pause at the bottom.
As you can see, a tempo that might be easy for one lift might be very difficult for another based on where those pauses happen. Standing at the top of a squat for a second to catch your breath makes things easier, spending a second above the bar in a pull-up does not!