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Work it Out Wednesday: Tempo Maps

If you want to give your muscles a shock- change it up.

I am sure we have heard this before, and I plan to discuss the concept in greater detail down the road.

But what I really want to focus on today is not so much changing up your actual fitness regimen, but rather the way you perform the exercises in your current regimen. 

Did you know it makes a difference?

It does. A big, big one.

So here’s the deal.

It deals with numbers.

I usually shut down the second anyone “wants to talk numbers” with me.

I have never been good with numbers.

Until now.

The technique has been dubbed a lot of different things, but for the purpose of this post we are going to call it “tempo maps.”

Tempo maps help shock your muscles by providing a whole new training method to the program you are already doing.

The only thing you are doing is changing the speed of the exercise you perform, and the length of time your muscle is contracted.

Oxygen magazine has some great tips on how they can be effectively performed.

For example- the squat.

Most of us go down and come right back up.


Let’s change it up a little bit.

Let’s do a 1-3-1 tempo map:

-Take one second to lower your body to the floor

-Three seconds to hold your position at the bottom

-And one second to return to start position

Or we could do a 2-3-1 map:

-Take two seconds to lower your body to the floor

-Hold for three seconds at the bottom

-And take one second to return to start

Let’s do 2-2-2 bicep curls:

-Two seconds to raise the weight to the correct position

-Two seconds squeeze

-Two seconds to return to start


Let’s try a 3-2-3 pushup:

-Three seconds to slowly lower your body to position

-Hold for two seconds

-Three seconds to return to start

Or 2-2-1 or 3-2-1 or 1-3-2…

obviously the possibilities are endless and you keep your body guessing the whole time!

What is great, is that you can do three sets of the same tempo map, or you could do 3 sets of 12 using entirely different tempo maps.

Changing the tempo of your workouts allows your muscles to feel the exercise in an entirely new way.

Taking time to really squeeze the muscle group you are working during the second tempo map number really makes a difference in your workouts. The goal is to change what you are typically doing, and really work to feel the muscle contract.

I oftentimes get in a rut and do the same thing at the same tempo for weeks on end. However, anytime I really stop to truly feel the motions I am performing and change up the tempo, I always have a better workout- and usually feel it the next morning.

If you want to do something a little different, but don’t feel like overhauling your current program give this a try. Chances are it will bring a whole new feel to the way your workout goes that day, and if you are doing it correctly- your muscles will probably feel it the next day!

Give it a try, and good luck!

posted in Health & Fitness bullet permalink bullet 3.20.2013
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brittny I'm B-Love. Lover of God, my husband Will, my doggies, OU football, weight training, plyometrics healthy eating (mostly!), peanut butter, and all things health related. Buckle up and get ready for my constant embarrassing moments, health and fitness tips,and my effort to rely on Christ while living life in the real world. Follow me on Feedly! Sign up for monthly emails at!

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