Improved Strength Gains
This alone should have been sufficient, but I threw in the first two for all of the coaches out there.
Proper tempo prescriptions can lead to vastly improved strength gains. First, different tempo prescriptions permit for greater training variety and stimulus. This means fewer plateaus and more adaptation.
Second, they allow us to shore up weak links by overloading certain areas of movements. For example, how many of you feel more comfortable with your second and third deadlift reps than your first? I am guessing a lot, and it’s because you are using the benefit of either or both the elastic “bounce” of your stretch-shortening cycle or your rubber plates hitting the hard floor. But if your tempo prescription called for a slow descent and a longer pause at the bottom, you might actually have to get stronger through your weak points.
Third, slowing down movements with tempo prescriptions can allow for greater amount of time under tension with less overall stress on an athlete’s central nervous system. This can be particularly important for CrossFit athletes, who are often pushing themselves to the limits with maximal effort lifts and workouts, by creating a way to continue training and making an athlete stronger without overtaxing his or her system.
Fourth, isometric pauses at the top and/or bottom of lifts force you to recruit more muscle fiber, and more muscle fiber recruitment (particularly more fast-twitch fibers) equals greater strength gains. I know that sounds like coach’s geek-speak, but here’s how you will know you’re recruiting more muscle fiber – it will be really hard.
If you’re not sure yet about the benefits of implementing tempo prescriptions into your program, I would encourage you to try it for a month or two and see if it benefits your lifts.