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Former CrossFit Games competitor Marcus Filley has recently shifted his focus away from speed goals to smart, safe training he calls “functional bodybuilding” and continues to create video content about how he builds strength. muscle in a consistent way while avoiding injury.
A recent short clip on YouTube illustrates how Philly increases the time under tension of the pectoral muscles in a series of exercises to maximize their potential growth stimulus.
Time under tension doesn’t mean the duration of the workout, and don’t add reps to your set to increase it: instead, it’s about decreasing each repetition individually. This is called tempo training.
“Tempo training helps you feel each movement through its full range of motion,” explains fitness writer Michael Easter. “It allows you to put the muscles under a lot of tension without heavy weights.”
First is the single arm bench press. Philly incorporates slow-lowering negatives into the second half of the rep on each side to maximize time under tension and achieve a higher quality of eccentric contraction during the lowering portion of the lift.
Before building up to eccentrics, try our Alternating Incline Press Hellset to start with explosive tempos.
Second, Philly recommends adding pauses at the bottom of your reps when performing ring pushups to extend the stretch of the muscle. Finally, he shows a slow-down tempo in both the downward and upward movements of a dumbbell fly.
While tempo training is incredibly helpful, that’s not to say it should be used across the board. If you perform highly technical or heavy lifts or explosive movements designed for speed, slowing down a phase of the movement can lead to injury.
Philip Ellis is a freelance writer and journalist from the United Kingdom, covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Rebel, and MTV.