Speed of Rep Demonstration Curl

The speed of each repetition also known as tempo is extremely important for improving body composition, performance and for preventing injury. Each portion of the rep is assigned a number of seconds to enhance the benefits. A total duration of each set impacts fat burning hormone release as well as muscle fiber stimulation.

This particular video demonstrates a seated curl using a rep speed also know as tempo of:


3 seconds from the top of the curl to the bottom position with the arms nearly straight. This is commonly referred to as the “negative”

2 second pause on bottom of the rep with the arms nearly straight reduces the amount of momentum which forces the muscles to work much harder to lift the weight.

1 second to lift the weight- In this case to curl the weight up.

1 second contraction at the top of the rep which achieves a great bicep “squeeze”

Each repetition will last 7 seconds for this example. 3+2+1+1= 7

A set of 8 reps with this particular tempo should last 8X7= 56 seconds.

The average set of 8 reps in any gym across the world will last 20 seconds or less as the trainee speeds through the movement to achieve a number of reps with sloppy form.

Adjusting to new tempos is perhaps one of the most difficult parameters to implement, however it is a key to your success. I strongly suggest using a stop watch while training to not only measure the time between sets, but also to evaluate how long each set will last.

At times you will have to lower the weights to accommodate the proper tempo and form. This is ok! Do not be alarmed as over time the proper execution of the tempos will result in significant increases of strength.