4. Recover Faster with a Varied Tempo. Research shows that it’s possible to increase your time under tension and perform a high volume of work by using two bouts of varied resistance speed. A recent study found that performing a slow-velocity exercise – in this case about 4 seconds for the eccentric lowering phase of the biceps curl – followed by the same exercise done with fast velocity (called the “repeated bout group” in this study) will reduce muscle damage and allow for a faster recovery than just performing the fast-velocity exercise (called the “single bout group”) alone. The repeated bout group had less muscle soreness after the fast-velocity exercise and recovered isometric strength and range of motion significantly faster than the single bout group.
Having less muscle damage and soreness can be beneficial if you need to recover quickly in preparation for competition or because you want to perform a subsequent workout that is more demanding and yields increased soreness. This study illustrates both the value and effect of varying tempo: Different tempos require the body to adapt in different ways and cause unique metabolic and neuromuscular results. In addition, varying tempo with repeated slow- and fast bouts allow for larger volumes of work to be performed with less muscular stress than the smaller volume that would be performed with just a set of fast-velocity contractions.