Build Muscle Fast By Slowing Down Your Sets

October 14, 2012 | Gabe Lazzaro

Must See Strength Training Videos

One of the most valuable techniques for athletes trying to quickly put on muscle is to vary their rep tempos during a workout.

There are three basic types of muscle contraction:

  • Concentric: where the muscle shortens under tension
  • Isometric: where the muscle remains the same length regardless of tension
  • Eccentric: where the muscle lengthens under tension

Eccentric muscle contraction results in muscle growth, so when it comes to putting on some serious size, that's your moneymaker. (Click here for a full explanation.) By slowing down your sets, you can put more emphasis on the eccentric phase of your lifts. More eccentric stress leads to greater gains in muscle size.

In addition to increasing muscle mass, slow eccentrics are great for developing strong, durable tendons and connective tissue, crucial for injury prevention.

An easy example of varying the speed of an exercise is performing a Push-Up with a 2-0-2-0 tempo. That simply means lowering yourself (eccentric) for two seconds with no pause at the bottom, pushing up (concentric) for two seconds and again not pausing at the top. This keeps constant tension on the muscles throughout the set and increases the difficulty tenfold.

If you are trying slow eccentrics for the first time, don't overdo it. Start with controlled two-second eccentrics and see how your body responds. Eccentric stress is more damaging to muscle tissue, so expect to be more sore than usual. Gradually build yourself up to six-second eccentrics.

Want more challenge? Try double tension training.

Topics: BUILD MUSCLE

Featured Videos

Tim Tebow's NFL Off-Season Workout Tim Tebow's NFL Off-Season Workout Views: 152,830
Path to the Pros 2015: Trae Waynes Path to the Pros 2015: Trae Waynes Views: 80,325
Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Views: 1,268,862
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 43,536,765
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 12,144,153
Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout
Views: 896,437
Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,240
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,501,332

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
The Squat Variation That Torches Your Core

The Squat Variation That Torches Your Core

There Might Be a Good Reason Tim Tebow Looks This Ridiculous

There Might Be a Good Reason Tim Tebow Looks This Ridiculous

Marcus Mariota's Speed and Strength Workout

Marcus Mariota's Speed and Strength Workout

What Sport Coaches Need to Know About Strength and Conditioning

What Sport Coaches Need to Know About Strength and Conditioning

2015 Summer Training Guide: Volleyball

2015 Summer Training Guide: Volleyball

3 Simple Tips to Gain Muscle Mass

3 Simple Tips to Gain Muscle Mass

9 Ways to Improve Your Squat Technique

9 Ways to Improve Your Squat Technique

2015 Summer Training Guide: Lacrosse

2015 Summer Training Guide: Lacrosse

The 10-Minute Grip Strengthening Workout

The 10-Minute Grip Strengthening Workout

Troubleshooting the Lunge: How to Fix Your Form

Troubleshooting the Lunge: How to Fix Your Form

Bulletproof Shoulders: A Shoulder Training Guide

Bulletproof Shoulders: A Shoulder Training Guide

2015 Summer Training Guide: Softball

2015 Summer Training Guide: Softball

Use Single-Leg Strength to Enhance Soccer Performance

Use Single-Leg Strength to Enhance Soccer Performance

Perfect Planks: How to Make this Classic Exercise More Effective

Perfect Planks: How to Make this Classic Exercise More Effective

Building Brakes for More Speed

Building Brakes for More Speed

Build Lower-Body Power with This Squat Workout

Build Lower-Body Power with This Squat Workout

3 Bear Crawl Variations for Better Core Strength

3 Bear Crawl Variations for Better Core Strength

2015 Summer Training Guide: Baseball

2015 Summer Training Guide: Baseball

Why You Should Add Depth Jumps to Your Workouts

Why You Should Add Depth Jumps to Your Workouts

5 Things to Remember When You Wing Your Workout

5 Things to Remember When You Wing Your Workout

Heavy Rope Workout for Big Gains

Heavy Rope Workout for Big Gains

Build Powerful Muscles With Velocity-Based Training

Build Powerful Muscles With Velocity-Based Training

2015 Summer Training Guide: Track

2015 Summer Training Guide: Track

2015 Summer Training Guide: Basketball

2015 Summer Training Guide: Basketball

Build Elite Strength With This Training System

Build Elite Strength With This Training System

Are You Using the Right Weight for Every Exercise?

Are You Using the Right Weight for Every Exercise?

A Modern Twist to the Original Burpee

A Modern Twist to the Original Burpee

Why Reverse Lunges Are Better Than Forward Lunges

Why Reverse Lunges Are Better Than Forward Lunges

2015 Summer Training Guide: Soccer

2015 Summer Training Guide: Soccer

10-Minute Dynamic Warm-Up for Any Workout

10-Minute Dynamic Warm-Up for Any Workout

2015 Summer Training Guide: Football

2015 Summer Training Guide: Football

Olympian Carrie Tollefson's Core Workout

Olympian Carrie Tollefson's Core Workout

Strength Isn’t Just How Much You Can Lift on a Barbell

Strength Isn't Just How Much You Can Lift on a Barbell

2015 Summer Training Guide: Wrestling

2015 Summer Training Guide: Wrestling

Full-Body Training: 4 Dumbbell Ring Training Exercises

Full-Body Training: 4 Dumbbell Ring Training Exercises

Why Single-Arm and Single-Leg Training is Better for Athletes

Why Single-Arm and Single-Leg Training is Better for Athletes

Building Functional Balance for Figure Skaters

Building Functional Balance for Figure Skaters

How to Build Strong Neck Muscles

How to Build Strong Neck Muscles

Mix Up Your Workout With Unique Partner Exercises

Mix Up Your Workout With Unique Partner Exercises

Fix 7 Common Problem Areas with Exercises From Todd Durkin

Fix 7 Common Problem Areas with Exercises From Todd Durkin

Go Against Traditional Workout Order for Bigger Gains

Go Against Traditional Workout Order for Bigger Gains

YardBarker