The hardest part with coaching is teaching your clients patience, especially in a world where people are conditioned to believe that expect results to happen overnight. And all the blame can’t be put on the client nor the coach. Both the coach and the client have to work together. Humans are the most adaptable species on this earth and our current environment has taught us that results happen instantly. In seconds you can have your questions answered with Google or a date lined up by “swiping right”. Never before has this ever happened. Before the exponential growth of technology, humans understood that things took time because everything around them took time from making a meal to finding a date, well at least for me it took a while. You may not realize it but your everyday activities influence your expectations throughout your other hobbies like working out.
I have seen this first hand coaching 100s of clients over the last four years. Most members of a gym are looking for a shortcut, they want results immediately and constantly want their exercise routine switched up. However, most of us, including myself, need to be doing the same movements over and over again until we have a strong foundation. In my opinion, most people rush through the basics and try to advance too quickly. In the beginning they may see progres Does this sound familiar? If so continue reading and I will show you how fix it.
Most of us need to spend more time on the same exercise program. Which means you need to do the same workout routine for at least four to six weeks so that you can address your deficiencies and improve on them. I have been working out for over 15 years and I still do the same movements from when I was 9 years old. And no, I don’t have any superpowers, I am just like you. I am your typical average joe, but I mix up my workout routines though a method called tempo training.
Put simply, instead of performing repetitions as quickly as possible, you do the opposite. You slow down the movement and take your time with each movement, especially during the lowering phase of each movement. The lowering phase, also known as the eccentric phase is when the muscle lengthens i.e when you lower down into a squat or a push up. This phase is the main contributor to the building of the muscle. When a muscle lengthens under a load that is heavy enough to stress it, the muscle becomes damaged. This damage is represented by small tears in the muscle. Ultimately, these tears are what make you stronger, leaner and sexier. When you perform a workout, you subject the muscles in the body to 100s of micro tears. These tears aren’t big enough to cause a tear or strain in the muscle, but it will cause you to feel soreness in the muscle. Nevertheless the body needs to fix these tears so that you can function. It does this through sleep, movement and proper nutrition. This recovery process is what builds lean muscle and reduces body fat on the body.
Tempo training is extremely useful for bodyweight exercises due to the absence of weight. And yes, you still can gain plenty of muscle through body weight training, but you do need to stress the muscle more. You see, the muscles on your body will only grow and get stronger if you tell it to. You signal growth to your muscles by damaging them through external load i.e gravity and weights. By using tempo training you can manipulate your body weight through the use of gravity and time under tension. When it comes to muscle growth and fat loss time under tension is the most important thing, not a certain number of repetitions.
Furthermore, when you train slower you target the muscles more due to the slow and controlled movement. This slow and controlled movement is perfect for building muscle, aka muscle hypertrophy. On the other hand, when you train ballistically and out of control, you target the tendons and ligaments of the body. This isn't necessarily a bad thing because your tendons and ligaments need to be powerful and strong, but by training quickly all the time you are making them stiffer. And if you aren't strengthening the surrounding muscle groups or doing exercises that lengthen your tendons and ligament then eventually you will develop an injury; hence why so many of us experience knee, elbow and shoulder pain. To prevent this from occurring make sure you add tempo training to your current routine (Next week I will go into greater depths on why).
So, if you have hit a plateau and your weight loss has come to a halt then give tempo training a try. It will build more lean muscle versus traditional training and will deliver lasting results. Check out the examples below on how to perform tempo training.
Here’s are some examples:
Option A: Lower down slowly for 3 seconds and push up as fast as possible. Repeat for 60 seconds
Option B: Lower down slowly for 2 seconds and push up for 2 seconds. Repeat for 60 seconds
Option C: Lower down slowly for 5 seconds and push up for 1 seconds. Repeat for 60 seconds
Option D: Lower down slowly for 3 seconds and push up for 3 seconds. Repeat for 60 seconds
* BONUS MOVE: Add a 1 second pause at the bottom of each exercise, this will really build the muscle!