UP THE CHALLENGE Want to take an exercise and make it more challenging without increasing weight, sets, or reps? Perform an exercise at a slow tempo using a 4|2|1 pace. This means that it is 4 seconds for the eccentric contraction, 2 seconds for the isometric hold, and 1 second for the concentric contraction.
For example, during a squat, you will lower at a pace of 1 second, hold at the bottom for 2 seconds, and slowly raise back up at a pace of 4 seconds. By utilizing slower eccentric and isometric actions, more demand is focused on the connective tissue and stabilizing muscles, preparing the nervous system for future functional movements.
At first, you may think, this is easy! However, after a handful of reps, you will quickly realize that by slowing down and focusing on the movement, your muscles will be challenged in a whole new way. Take note to the challenge on your body, and make sure you use weights and bands that allow you to perform the full set using the 4|2|1 tempo.