Advanced Hypertrophy Methods: Contrast Tempo

Author: Riley Beauchamp |


Contrast Tempo:

In my opinion weight training is the number one tool for reaching your goals; I believe this because with weight training you have an infinite amount of variables you can change and manipulate to force new adaption, changes and growth in our strength, power and physique. Anyone that has trained under my methods with understand this because I am a very much into dissecting the set, manipulating time under tension and constantly pushing for maximum recruit and stimulus. When it comes to building lean, dense quality muscle its all about intensity and quality of sets and reps. Contrast tempo is one of my favourite methods for building muscle, strength and breaking through plateaus.

This method involves switching between slow tempo reps and fast tempo reps in the same set. You would perform 2 reps with a 5 second concentric & 5 second eccentric tempo by followed by 2 ‘fast’ reps; more of standard tempo, always controlled—stretch & squeeze. One set would involve repeating this cycle 2-3 times for a total of 8-12 reps. This method is effective for muscle growth because the slow tempo reps will restrict blood entry to the working muscles, block oxygen from entering and trap the lactic acid in the muscle—this process will stimulate local growth factors like IGF-1, which stimulates hypertrophy & protein synthesis. Also when a muscle lacks oxygen it will turn to the fast twitch muscle fibres rather then slow twitch fibres, so you are gaining a higher recruitment of fast twitch muscle fibres which are powerful, explosive and have potential for growth, in contrast to slow twitch fibres which are more endurance based. The fast twitch muscle fibers will fatigue quicker, but when it comes to muscle building the more glycogen you use, the more cortisol your body releases, so fatiguing on lower reps is not bad, it shows a higher recruit of fast twitch, less cortisol released, more muscle built. Quality over quantity.


Bench press: 8-12 Reps (2-3 Cycles)

Reps      1-2          (5-0-5-0 Tempo)

Reps      3-4          (1-0-1-0 Tempo)

Reps      5-6          (5-0-5-0 Tempo)

Reps      7-8          (1-0-1-0 Tempo)

Reps      9-10       (5-0-5-0 Tempo)

Reps      11-12     (1-0-1-0 Tempo)