during resistance training how quickly should you move

How Fast Should You Move During Resistance Training? Tips for Safe and Effective Workouts

Understanding Repetition Tempo

Understanding Repetition Tempo

When it comes to resistance training, the speed at which you perform each repetition is crucial for achieving the desired results. Known as repetition tempo, this refers to the duration of each phase of a movement- eccentric (lowering), isometric (pausing), and concentric (lifting) phase. The speed you move through each phase of the exercise is what makes the difference between building strength, muscle growth, and power. Different training goals require different repetition tempos, so it’s important to understand the concept to maximize your results.

The first phase of repetition tempo is the eccentric phase, which refers to the period when your muscle is lengthened under tension during the lowering motion of an exercise. This phase is mainly responsible for muscle growth and strength building. Moving slowly during this phase increases time under tension, leading to more muscle damage and therefore more muscle growth. The converse is also true: moving quickly during this phase reduces time under tension and limits muscle growth and strength building.

The second phase of repetition tempo is the isometric phase, in which your muscles hold the contracted position for a little while before moving onto the final phase. Isometric contractions help build strength by enhancing neuromuscular connections and increasing the stabilization of your muscles and joints. The duration of this phase depends on the desired outcome e.g. strength or power. A longer isometric phase may increase isometric strength, while a shorter phase may enhance power.

The final phase of repetition tempo is the concentric phase, which is the lifting motion of the exercise. This phase is essential for building power and speed. Moving quickly during this phase can help in increasing speed and power. Concentric movements are all about generating as much force as quickly as possible, depending on the desired outcome.

In conclusion, when it comes to resistance training, the repetition tempo should be tailored to the desired outcome of the exercise. When working on building strength, slow and controlled movements through the eccentric phase are crucial. Conversely, when working on power and speed, faster movements through the concentric phase are ideal. Finally, the isometric phase can also make a big impact on your strength and power outcomes, with longer isometric phases being ideal for isometric strength and shorter phases for power. Ultimately, understanding and implementing correct repetition tempos in your resistance training routine can help in achieving your desired fitness goals.

The Importance of Lifting Tempo

Lifting Tempo

Resistance training is a popular type of exercise for maintaining and building muscular strength, endurance, and size. It involves performing a variety of exercises that target different parts of the body, such as squats, lunges, bench press, and bicep curls. While performing resistance training, you must focus on lifting tempo, which is the speed at which you perform each repetition. Optimal lifting tempo for an exercise depends on your fitness goals, experience level, and the muscle group targeted.

Why is Lifting Tempo Important?

Lifting tempo plays a significant role in achieving your fitness goals. It affects the intensity, duration, and effectiveness of your workout. Also, it influences the muscle fiber recruitment and time under tension, two essential factors in muscle growth and strength gains. Therefore, you must understand the importance of lifting tempo and how to apply it to your workouts.

How Quickly Should You Move During Resistance Training?

The rate of movement during resistance training varies based on the objectives. Generally, there are three tempo categories that you can use to guide your workouts: slow, moderate, and fast.

Slow Tempo

Slow tempo involves taking 4-6 seconds to perform one repetition of an exercise. This tempo is ideal for muscle hypertrophy, or muscle growth, as it creates more time under tension. Additionally, this approach removes momentum from the movement, forcing the muscles to work harder through the exercise’s entire range of motion. You should use slow tempo for exercises that target larger muscle groups, such as the chest, back, and legs.

Moderate Tempo

Moderate tempo involves taking 2-3 seconds to perform one repetition of an exercise. This tempo works well for endurance training, as it creates a balance between time under tension and the speed of contraction. This approach is useful for exercises like the bench press or lat pulldown, where more weight is available, and fatigue occurs quicker.

Fast Tempo

The fast tempo involves taking 1-2 seconds to perform one repetition of an exercise. This tempo is ideal for building power as it allows you to quickly generate force. Therefore, it helps in improving movements such as jumping, sprinting, and throwing. However, this tempo can also apply to movements that require explosive contractions, such as the Olympic lifts.


In summary, lifting tempo plays an essential role in resistance training. It determines the quality and effectiveness of your workouts, as well as the results you achieve. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the different tempos and how they apply to varying exercises, fitness goals, and body types. Make sure to start off slowly and focus on good form and then build up from there.

Fast vs Slow Repetitions

Fast vs Slow Repetitions

When it comes to resistance training, speed is a crucial factor to consider when performing repetitions. Generally, there are two types of repetitions, namely fast and slow repetitions. Fast repetitions are when you move the weight quickly or explosive in nature, while slow repetitions are the opposite, where you perform the exercise slowly and deliberately.

Many people believe that fast repetitions are the best when it comes to resistance training, and it’s not hard to see why. Fast repetitions can lead to more power and speed, making it great for athletes who need to perform explosive movements, such as sprinters and boxers. Additionally, fast repetitions allow you to push yourself harder because it is less demanding on your muscles and requires less effort.

On the other hand, slower repetitions can lead to greater muscle activation and growth. When you perform slower repetitions, it allows your muscles to work harder because it takes more energy to lift a weight slowly, and you are using the eccentric contraction phase more effectively. This extra effort leads to greater muscle damage, which is essential for muscle growth.

It’s important to note that the type of repetition that you do depends on your goals. If you’re an athlete or someone who needs to improve your power and speed, fast repetitions are the way to go. However, if you’re aiming to increase muscle mass and strength, then slower repetitions are better.

The Benefits of Slow Repetitions

Benefits of Slow Repetitions

Slower repetitions are beneficial in many ways that many people don’t realize. Here are some of the benefits:

More Muscle Activation

Slow repetitions allow for greater muscle activation. You’re not only working your main muscle group but also activating smaller muscles that come into play when you slow down your movements. This allows for more balanced muscle development in the body.

Better Form

When you perform slower repetitions, it allows you to focus on your form better. You’re less likely to use momentum to lift the weight, and you can better isolate the muscle you’re targeting. Better form can also help prevent injury when performing resistance exercises.

Increased Time Under Tension

Slower repetitions lead to more time under tension. Instead of quickly lifting and lowering the weight, you’re holding the weight for a more extended period, leading to more significant muscle damage and growth.

Improved Mind-Muscle Connection

Performing repetitions at a slower pace also allows for better mind-muscle connection. You’re more aware of the muscle you’re working and can feel the contraction more effectively. This leads to better muscle recruitment and growth and can also help with injury prevention.

The Benefits of Fast Repetitions

Benefits of Fast Repetitions

In contrast, fast repetitions, too, have their own unique benefits. Here’s a list:

More Power and Speed

The primary benefit of fast repetitions is that they increase power and speed. Athletes often use fast reps to perform the explosive movement required in their sport, such as boxers and sprinters.

Less Joint Stress

Fast repetitions often put less stress on the joints than slow repetitions. Your joints absorb less force during fast reps, making it ideal for anyone who may have joint pain or who wants to avoid joint pain in the future.

Fewer Repetitions Required

Fast repetitions require fewer repetitions to achieve the same or a similar result when compared to slow repetitions. This is because fast reps require less time and can be done in fewer sets compared to slow reps. This can be especially useful for anyone who wants to save time while still achieving the desired result.

Better for Improving Cardiovascular Health

Fast repetitions are great for improving cardiovascular health. They increase the heart rate and provide cardiovascular benefits similar to more prolonged cardiovascular exercises such as running or cycling.



So, which type of repetition should you use during resistance training? Again, it depends on your goals. If you’re training for power and speed, fast repetitions are the way to go. In contrast, if you want to increase muscle mass and strength, slower repetitions are better.

It’s important to note that you can use both types of repetition in your training. Incorporating a mix of fast and slow reps into your workout routine can help you achieve your fitness goals more effectively. You can use slow reps to build a more solid muscle foundation and then use the fast reps to increase power and speed. Ultimately, it’s all about finding the right balance and listening to your body to achieve the best results.

What Is the Ideal Tempo?

Resistance Training

When it comes to resistance training, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to tempo. The ideal tempo will vary based on your personal goals, the specific exercise being performed, and other factors, such as your fitness level and injury history. In general, however, there are a few key principles to keep in mind to help you optimize your resistance training tempo.

The Basics of Tempo

Resistance Training

Tempo refers to the speed at which you perform an exercise. It is typically expressed as a series of numbers, with each number representing a specific phase of the exercise. For example, a tempo of 2-1-2 for a bench press might mean that you take two seconds to lower the weight, hold for one second at the bottom, and take two seconds to lift the weight back up.

The Importance of Tempo in Resistance Training

Strength Training

Tempo can have a major impact on your resistance training results. By varying the tempo of your exercises, you can target different muscle fibers and gain more strength, endurance, or muscle mass, depending on your goals. Additionally, tempo can help you improve your form and prevent injury by forcing you to slow down and focus on every part of the exercise.

Factors That Affect Tempo


There are a number of factors that will influence the ideal tempo for your resistance training workouts. These include:

  • Your goals: Whether you are trying to build strength, endurance, or muscle mass will greatly affect the tempo you should use for your workouts.
  • The exercise: Different exercises will require different tempos to be performed effectively.
  • Your fitness level: Beginners may need to start with slower tempos to get the form and technique right before speeding up.

Recommended Tempos for Different Goals

Resistence Training

While there is no one “correct” tempo for resistance training, there are some general guidelines you can follow based on your goals:

  • Strength: For maximum strength gains, use a slow tempo of 4-0-2 or 3-0-3 for heavy compound exercises such as squats and deadlifts.
  • Endurance: For endurance training, use a faster tempo of 1-0-1 or 2-0-2 for lighter weights and higher reps.
  • Muscle Mass: For hypertrophy (muscle growth), use a moderate tempo of 2-0-2 or 3-0-1 for a mix of heavy and moderate weights and reps.

Experiment and Adjust as Needed


Ultimately, the ideal tempo for your resistance training workouts will depend on what works best for you. Use the recommended tempos as a starting point, but don’t be afraid to experiment and adjust as needed based on your unique body and goals. Remember that tempo is just one part of a well-designed resistance training program, and should be combined with other factors such as proper form, rest periods, and progressive overload for optimal results.

Consider Your Own Abilities

Consider Your Own Abilities

When it comes to resistance training, it’s essential to consider your own abilities before deciding how quickly to move. No two individuals are the same, and each person will have unique physical limitations, strengths, and weaknesses that will affect their lifting tempo. Therefore, it’s essential to adjust your lifting tempo based on your own abilities and comfort level. Here are some factors you should consider:

1. Strength level

Strength Level

Your strength level can have a significant impact on how quickly you should move during resistance training. If you’re a beginner, you may need to start with a slower lifting tempo to ensure proper form and prevent injury. As you gain strength, you can gradually increase your tempo and challenge your muscles more. On the other hand, if you have been training for a long time, you may be able to lift at a faster tempo, but you should still be mindful of your form and avoid using momentum to lift the weight.

2. Range of motion

Range of Motion

Your range of motion can also impact how quickly you should lift. If you have limited mobility or flexibility, you may need to lift at a slower tempo to avoid exacerbating any existing conditions. Additionally, a slower tempo can help you focus on maintaining proper form and engaging the correct muscles throughout the entire range of motion.

3. Physical limitations

Physical Limitations

If you have any physical limitations, such as an injury or chronic condition, you should adjust your lifting tempo accordingly. For example, if you have a shoulder injury, you may need to lift at a slower tempo to avoid aggravating the injury. Alternatively, if you have a condition like arthritis, a slower tempo may be more comfortable for your joints.

4. Exercise type

Exercise Type

The type of exercise you’re performing can also impact your lifting tempo. For example, exercises that require a lot of stability, like single-leg squats or one-arm rows, may require a slower tempo to maintain proper form. Conversely, exercises that are more explosive, such as jump squats or power cleans, may require a faster tempo to generate momentum and power.

5. Goals


Your fitness goals can also influence how quickly you should move during resistance training. If your goal is to build muscle size and strength, you may want to lift at a slower tempo to ensure maximum muscle activation and time under tension. On the other hand, if your goal is to improve power and explosiveness, you may need to lift at a faster tempo to generate momentum and power.

In conclusion, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how quickly you should move during resistance training. You must consider your own abilities, comfort level, physical limitations, exercise type, and goals before deciding on your lifting tempo. By adjusting your tempo to fit your unique needs, you’ll be able to maximize the effectiveness of your training and prevent injury.

The Bottom Line

Resistance Training Speed

Resistance training, also known as strength training, is a form of exercise that involves working your muscles against some form of resistance. Resistance training can involve the use of weights, resistance bands, or simply your own body weight. One important factor that can impact the effectiveness of resistance training is the speed at which you lift. So, how quickly should you move during resistance training? The answer is – it depends! Let’s take a closer look at some important factors to consider when deciding on your lifting speed.


Fitness Goals

One of the most important factors to consider when deciding on your lifting speed during resistance training is your fitness goals. If your goal is to increase muscle size and strength, you may want to lift at a slower speed. This is because slower lifting speeds place greater tension on the muscles, which can lead to greater muscle growth and strength gains over time. On the other hand, if your primary goal is to improve your muscular endurance, you may want to lift at a faster speed. This is because faster lifting speeds can help improve your ability to perform endurance activities.

Age and Fitness Level

Age and Fitness Level

Another important factor to consider when deciding on your lifting speed is your age and fitness level. If you are older or have limited mobility, you may need to lift at a slower speed to reduce the risk of injury. Likewise, if you are new to resistance training, you may want to start with slower lifting speeds until you build up your strength and technique. However, if you are a seasoned athlete or weightlifter, you may be able to lift at a faster speed with increased efficacy.

Exercise Type and Equipment

Exercise type and Equipment

The type of exercise and equipment you are using can also influence the ideal lifting speed for your resistance training. For example, exercises that involve explosive movements, such as Olympic lifts, may require faster lifting speeds. On the other hand, exercises that focus on isolated muscle contractions, such as bicep curls, may require slower lifting speeds. Equipment, such as resistance bands, may also require different lifting speeds than free weights.

Control and Safety

Control and Safety

No matter what lifting speed you choose, it is important to maintain control and safety throughout your resistance training. This means using proper form and technique, listening to your body, and avoiding jerky or sudden movements that can put you at risk for injury. While lifting at a faster speed can be beneficial in some cases, it is important to balance speed with control and safety to prevent injuries that can set you back in your fitness journey.



Finally, your lifting speed during resistance training should be seen as a variable that can be adjusted over time to help you progress towards your fitness goals. If you start with slower lifting speeds or are new to resistance training, you can gradually increase the speed of your lifts as you gain strength and confidence. Likewise, if you are looking to mix up your workout routine, you can experiment with different lifting speeds to challenge your muscles in new and different ways. The key is to listen to your body and make adjustments as needed to help you achieve your desired outcome.


Resistance Training

Resistance training is a valuable form of exercise that can help improve muscle strength, size, and endurance. The speed at which you lift during resistance training should be based on your personal fitness goals, age and fitness level, exercise type and equipment, control and safety, and progression. Ultimately, the best lifting speed for you is one that allows you to safely and effectively achieve your desired results. By considering these important factors and making adjustments as needed, you can optimize your resistance training for maximum effectiveness and enjoyment.

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