Q: Does lifting tempo or eccentric movement matter in resistance training?
Your lifting tempo matters to the extent that you should vary your lifting tempo often. The body is great at adapting, not only to the types of exercises you choose to do, but also to the types of resistance and lifting tempo that you use during your exercises. Specifically, the Journal of Strength and Conditioning states that you may get similar responses from different lifting tempos when training, but that you should include both a 2 second up and 2 second down lifting tempo and a 2 second up and 4 second down lifting tempo into your training for maximum benefit. A slow down movement is termed the eccentric phase, and multiple studies have noted its importance.
Unfortunately, the lifting tempo is often overlooked when weight training. To me, it is a shame to see dedicated people work hard in the gym without getting the results they deserve. Incorporating a slow eccentric movement into your workouts will undoubtedly help to improve your muscle size and overall strength. Just be sure to vary your lifting tempo because your body adapts rather quickly to whatever type of exercise you perform.
In addition, when using more eccentric movements, you must make sure that you keep your core muscles, which include your abs and back, tight throughout the exercise. Because you are working these muscles while trying to move weight slowly, you are also improving core strength and endurance, which results in stronger abs and back and likely a good way to prevent and reduce back pain.
Final note, always give yourself a day off between workouts to let the muscle groups that you worked recover and regrow. Many have the misconception that you build muscle during your workout… So not true. You get the most benefit from your workout routines when you eat healthy, sleep well and give yourself at least one day of rest between bouts.
So, yes your lifting tempo matters. Vary it as much as possible for optimal results.
What lifting tempo do you mostly use? Share your thoughts below!