What is tempo (31X2)?

What does 30X0 or 2112 mean if it it’s written next to a movement?

The numbers describe the tempo or time it should take to complete each stage of the lift.

Usually tempo can be written as such:

Back Squat 5RM  @ 31X2

This means you would find a 5 rep max back squat at a 31X2 tempo.

Now what do the numbers mean?

The first number represents how many seconds it should take for  the eccentric loading or “lowering or downward” phase of the lift. So the “3” would tell you to take 3 seconds lowering yourself down into the bottom of a squat.

The second number represents the number of seconds to pause in the bottom position. So for this example you would spend 1 second in the dead bottom of the squat. Count 1…1000.

The third number represents the number of seconds for the “ascending or upward” phase. Sometimes, but not always, this is written as an X. The X stands for “eXplosive”. You’ll try to raise weight or stand up as fast as possible. If a number is written, the you would spend that number of seconds coming up. For this example, since there’s an X, explode out of the bottom.

The forth number represents the number of seconds paused at the top position. For this example you would pause 2 seconds at the top of the squat before starting over again.

What if it’s a pull up or a deadlift where the first phase of the lift is upward?

The first number is still the eccentric, the 2nd number is still the pause at the bottom, the 3rd is still the concentric and the 4th is still the pause at the top.

Pullups 21X3

  • Pause 1 second at the dead hang
  • Explode upwards
  • Pause 3 seconds with the chin over the bar
  • Take 2 seconds to lower
  • Pause 1 second at the dead hang

Deadlift 3032

  • Take 3 seconds to lift the weight to standing
  • Pause 2 seconds at the top
  • Take 3 seconds to lower the weight to the floor
  • No pause at the floor (touch and go)






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