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Exercise Tempo

Tempo is a critical component of the Apollo Challenge workouts.  It is imperative that you understand the importance and execution of the tempo methods outlined for each workout as they are different for each day of the week.

You will realize results relative to the quality of work and effort you put in.  Training with a conscious effort to maintain the prescribed exercise tempo during each lift and following the outlined number of reps and sets all contribute to the undeniable intensity of the Apollo Challenge workouts and will produce significant results.  Learning to emphasize your training “tempo” for every exercise will improve your awareness and exhaust your muscles in the intended way.

You can learn more about the different tempo’s for each day here:

Tempo Explained:

The tempo of a given exercise can be divided into four phases. The order of tempo is listed below using a tempo of “4010”

  1. (4) The time (measured in seconds) spent during the eccentric (lengthening) muscle action. Example: Lowering the dumbbells during DB Incline Press.
  2. (0)  The time (measured in seconds) spent during the end point/range of motion of the exercise/lift.  It’s at this point where the muscle is at it’s greatest length during a movement.  Example: The lowest position of the dumbbells when performing theDB Incline Press.
  3. (1)  The time (measured in seconds) spent during the concentric (shortening) muscle action. Example: The time spent while pressing the the dumbbells up during theDB Incline Press.
  4. (0)  The time (measured in seconds) spent during the finishing point of an exercise where the muscle is at it’s shortest length.   Example: Pressing the DB’s up during the DB Incline Press.

The workout table below reflects the tempo for  the Incline Bench Press on day 2.

Exercise Sets Repetitions Tempo (Seconds)
DB Incline Press 3 8 4010

Phase 1 Eccentric (Muscle Lengthening)4010 | The first number (4) represents the time spent in seconds while performing the eccentric phase of the bench press.  Eccentric means muscle lengthening and is a muscle action.  Emphasis on eccentric strength will unlock your potential to improve your strength and make massive gains!

Advantages of Eccentric Aspect of an exercise.

  1. The ability to induce high levels of stress to generate growth.
  2. Improved control during a movement to provide a stable base to perform the concentric aspect.

Phase 2 Eccentric (Terminal Length)4010 | The second number (0) represents the time spent at the lowest point of the eccentric phase.  In other words it is the the point where the muscle is at it’s longest.  Typically time spent here is uncomfortable to execute for anything longer than ½ a second.  Time spent here is great to overcome a plateau because it forces you to contract without the benefit of momentum.


  1. Improved muscle recruitment to perform the concentric aspect.
  2. Muscle growth.

Phase 3 Concentric (Muscle Shortening)—4010 | The third number (1) is the time spent contracting (shortening) the muscle in the concentric phase  The weight or resistance is the limiting factor in executing the recommended speed.  1 second is commonplace for the movement.  Slowing it down has it’s benefits for growth and neuromuscular control.  This can labeled numerically in seconds or with the use X to represent EXPLOSIVE, i.e  if a tempo prescription indicates a 10X0 you will explosively move the weight as fast as you can in the concentric phase.

Faster Speed Advantages

  1. Power
  2. Speed

Slower Speed Advantages

  1. Greater muscular tension
  2. It can help overcome plateaus

Phase 4 Concentric (Muscle at it’s Shortest Position)—4010 | The fourth number (0) is the time spent at the completion of a movement (when the muscle is at its shortest).  Time spent here maximizes stress across the fibers.  It’s a great opportunity to maximize muscle tonicity (muscle tone).  It’s important to note that it can be performed with an emphasis on contraction or an emphasis on the rest.  That is dependent on your intent and how hard you “squeeze” the muscle.

Advantages of Emphasis

  1. Maximize the number of muscle fibers used.
  2. Maximize the fiber stress.
  3. Heightened muscle contraction for increased tone.

It can’t be overemphasized how important tempo is to your strength and mass gains while following the Apollo Challenge.  Make sure that you truly understand the concepts of tempo before you begin your workouts.