When people start telling me that bodyweight exercises aint enough to get yourself a strong and aesthetics body because there are too few calisthenics exercise outthere, I hardly keep myself from laughthing.
While in reality you can find or created hundreds of thousands different exercises and their combinations, there is also a whole bunch of other factors you can vary to make your training sessions more or less intense and adapt the training load to your goals. Today we are going to talk about one of those factors - tempo.
The definition of tempo regarding bodyweight exercises relates to the speed of perfoming an exercise. In that case each exercise is divided into 3 or 4 phases (either including starting point or not):
* starting point
* positive phase (muscle flexing)
* end point
* negative phase (muscle relaxing)
For example 0-1-0-3 tempo means the following: you flex your muscles for 1 second, then you make 0 seconds pause in the end point, then you release muscle for 3 second (slowly) and give yourself 0 second of rest before the next repetition in a set.
The very same exercise can vary it difficulty greatly depending in which tempo you are performing it. But how to choose the right tempo?
Firstly, eveyrthing is related to your goals. If your goal is to perform as many reps as possible, then you should choose faster tempo. The faster the tempo the more explosive strenght you are training. Also it is quite popular to train in explosive style not basic exercise, but their plyometric variants (ones where you do claps or hops or etc, so you don't contact the surface all the time). If your goal is to grow muscles, then your tempo should be different, especially during the negative phase (which should be longer than positive). The longer your muscles stay under tension, the more effective the exercise becomes!
Secondly, the speed of perfoming an exercise is closely connected to your overall physical level and skills of this very exercise. There is no sense at all to do an exercise fast and askew (using momentum and kipping), because that way would not bring you results you want, but could lead to injuries. So at first you have to learn the proper technique and become confident in every move, and after that you may increase the tempo.
Thirdly, you have to take in mind what tempo you are training now. I've already mentioned it several times (and I will keep reminding you this) that as the time passes your body get used to the traingin load you give it and tries to perform it with as little power as possible. This is good for the body (because it do it's best to adapt), but this is directly the opposite from your goals, because this prevents you from getting future gains! This is why you have to make changes in your training routines once in a while. If you accustomed to train in a slow tempo, try doing the same routines faster and otherwise. Or try to add pauses during end or starting points and so on. Experiment and don't let your body to adapt!
Fast and Slow Tempo
Right from the start we should warn you that fast (or even explosive) tempo could be very difficult regarding keeping the right and clean technique. And this could happen not only due to the muscle limits, but also due to the limits of CNS (central neuro system), a bright example of such limitation is music playing or different sport drills or dancing moves which could be easily divided into single simple moves, but rather difficult to repeat fast and accurate. A slower tempo also leads to a better endurance training, including endurance of CNS, which has to send neuro impulse to muscles for a long period of time. Summing up, for a balance development of your body it is good to change tempo from time to time.
Extremely slow tempo has a lot of advantages when it comes to muscle mass gaining stimulation. This method excludes the momentum from the move to maximize the strength needed to peform an exercise. This may help you to make a muscle-mind connection and concentrate on muscle flexing. This way you also decrease the load on your joints!
Sometimes people (especially beginners) refuse to use slow tempo because they worry too much about what other people would think of them.
For example they can do 5 pull-ups in 30 seconds pefroming them in slowly and controlled manner, and they can do 20 pull-ups in the same time pefroming them as fast as they can (even using kipping and etc.) Undoubtedly the second variant will be more impressive those who look at them. But when they come to a street playground, they come there to train and not to impress others, right? They come there to become stronger, healthier and sexier! This is why we must focus only on our goals during our training and not think about others at all! This way every training session will bring us closer to our end goals while other will just keep watching