Tempo Abbreviation Explained

x/x/x/x will be written as such meaning eccentric/ pause in stretched/ Concentric/ Pause Shortened, this applies when a tempo is specified. If there is no temp specified default to slow and controlled for any accessory and especially single joint exercise. For compound lifts if there is no tempo specified default to lower the weight under control and strong out of the bottom.

Why tempo? My goal when programming for you is to manipulate variables and work with intent to get a result. Weight, sets, and repetitions are the most obvious of those but tempo is a crucial one as well (as well as exercise selection). 40lbs lifted 5 times for 1-sec down, 1-sec up, is a completely different amount of work that 40lbs lowered slowly under control, paused for 3-seconds, and then slowly lifted back up for 3-sec.

Some reasons to add tempo work include, but are not limited to pumping blood flow to tendons, allowing more work to be done with less amount of weight, the feeling of “owning the weight” before moving in explosively for athletes. Also, tempo as both been show anecdotally and in studies to be an incredible way to program for fat loss.

Prefixes A, B, C, and PW, MM, PE

A,B,C, PW, MM, PE and Numbers

Exercises will be written in sequences of “A1. A2. A3.”  specifying the order they are to be done in. Once all of the “A” exercises are completed you will move on to the “B” exercises. Every exercise has both a purpose, order of importance, and inherent risk. Exercises with greater importance by the nature of their effectiveness and skill demands tend to have a greater risk. Therefore they will primarily be at the beginning of your workout when focus is at its highest. 

“PW” Sometimes single joint exercises will be included as muscular prep for the following exercise. For example leg curls before squats, if you're interested here is a good T-Nation article on the subject. This exercises will be prefaced with “PW” for pre-work. Activity meant specifically to excite the central nervous system, such as vertical jumps before squats, will be labeled “PW” for pre-work. 

“MM” before an exercise means that this is specifically added to increase “mind muscle” connection to a specific muscle before your lift. 

“PE” pre-exhaustion means that you are trying to intentionally fatigue that muscle before the lift to follow. A classic example is a lifter with core musculature that needs to be brought up to speed, or that is recovering from an injury. For example, pre-exhausting the legs before squats (with extension or leg-presses) so that there is still stimulus to the lower body in the compound move but the ability to brace through the back and anterior core will become less of a limiting factor.