Tempo squats have a wide range of benefits regarding one’s development and growth as an Olympic Weightlifter. Tempo exercises develop positional awareness by breaking and/or slowing down the movement allowing for heavier emphasis in weaker positions. They have the ability to manipulate time under tension without taxing the body’s central nervous system in the same way a high rep set would. They also help in injury prevention and assist in rehabilitation as they are designed to focus on proper technique and reduce stress on the joints.

Front Squat 4242 X 3 @ 70%

We like to write our tempo squats in the form of a four-number-grouping. The first number is the eccentric (lowering) component, the second number indicates a pause in the bottom, the third number is the concentric (standing up) component, and the fourth number is simply a pause (“rest”) at the top. Front squat 4242, for example, indicates a 4-second descent, 2-second pause at the bottom, 4-second ascent, and 2-second pause at the top. An X in the concentric component means to EXPLODE out of the bottom position as fast as possible (Ex. 42X2). Once this sequence has been performed, you would do this again for three reps.

Tips to keep in mind when performing a tempo squat:

  1. Use a clock or metronome! Most of the time our inner clocks are a lot faster than the actual clock, especially when we are under load.
  2. BRACE. Stay especially tight throughout these squats; you cannot rely on momentum to get back up, only brute strength.
  3. Breathe…but only at the top. Unless you have an abnormally long pause at the bottom of the squat, try to take a big breath in at the top and hold until you reach the top again or release bits at a time as you stand up—depends on the squat and/or athlete.

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