1. Home
  2. Knowledge Base
  3. Reading the Workouts
  4. Tempo: What do the 4-digit numbers like 30X1 mean?

Many of our exercises use tempo training for better quality of movement, lower risk of injury, and increase in strength. When you see four numbers (or an X) with an exercise, this tells you the speed in seconds for each component starting with the eccentric (down) movement. X means as fast as possible in an explosive movement. Even if a movement starts with an upward motion, such as a pull-up, begin counting the rep with the downward component.

The order of the tempo numbers is always Down, Hold, Up, Pause

For example, a back squat with the tempo of 30X0 would 

look like this:

3 – Moving smoothly, use 3 seconds to squat to full depth

0 – Hold for 0 seconds at the bottom (do not pause)

X – Explode up as quickly as you can

0 – Start the next rep after 0 seconds (do not pause between reps)

Be sure to count each second fully.

Not all movements will have a tempo, depending on their complexity and the goals of the workout. Each workout has been thoughtfully designed for effectiveness as well as providing breaks where free movement is encouraged.

When choosing loads, follow the pointers in each workout and make sure you can complete all of the reps for each while staying in tempo.

For more examples see the “What is Tempo” video:

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles