Tempo Training in Rehabilitation: Optimizing Recovery and Preventing Injuries

When it comes to injury rehabilitation, every step of the process counts to ensure complete and lasting recovery. Among the methods that have gained in popularity in the fields of physiotherapy and rehabilitation, “Tempo Training” is proving to be a powerful strategy for helping patients progress safely towards optimal recovery.

What is tempo training?

“Tempo Training” is a training approach that focuses on the speed at which you perform your exercises. It involves manipulating the speed of your repetitions to specifically improve strength, muscle mass, or endurance results.

There are four numbers generally used to define the tempo of an exercise. For example, a tempo could be described as 2-0-1-0 :

  1. The first number represents the time (in seconds) it takes to perform the eccentric (or negative) phase of the exercise. This is generally the part of the exercise where the muscle lengthens.
  2. The second number represents the pause time at the point of maximum tension.
  3. The third number represents the time it takes to perform the concentric (or positive) phase of the exercise, generally the part of the exercise where the muscle shortens.
  4. The fourth number represents the pause time at the end of the movement.

For example, for a squat, a tempo of 2-0-1-0 would mean that you go down (eccentric phase) for 2 seconds, no pause at the bottom, come back up (concentric phase) in 1 second, and no pause at the top before starting again.

Tempo Training can be used to diversify the training approach in rehabilitation periods or in various performance approaches.

Why is Tempo Training essential in rehabilitation?

Numerous scientific studies (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) have validated the effectiveness of integrating Tempo Training into injury rehabilitation protocols.

The fundamental concept of Tempo Training is based on the cadence at which an exercise is performed. In rehabilitation, this approach emphasizes slower movements, enabling safe progression, correct alignment of form and a sustained recovery process, with reduced risk of injury recurrence.

Tempo Training, an approach based on the speed of movement, offers a new dimension to rehabilitation. By using tempo figures to define the duration of the eccentric and concentric phases of an exercise, this method enables precise, progressive control of movement. For example, the use of eccentric resistance training, characterized by a slow tempo (typically 3-5 seconds) during the downhill phase of a movement, has proved beneficial in treating injuries such as Achilles tendon tears, patellar tendonitis and various knee injuries. Similarly, slow resistance training, which engages controlled tempos during both the ascent and descent of an exercise, aims to reduce unnecessary stress on damaged tissue, thus promoting safer and more effective healing. These approaches promote a progressive increase in muscle load, facilitating recovery and minimizing the risk of recurrence.

In the context of rehabilitation, Tempo Training proves invaluable for several reasons:

  1. Restoring range of motion: By controlling tempo, patients can work on flexibility and mobility without compromising safety.
  2. Targeted muscle strengthening: Adjusting tempo allows specific targeting of weakened or affected muscles.
  3. Improved neuromuscular control: Tempo Training promotes the development of motor control and coordination.
  4. Safe progression: By modifying tempo, load and complexity, patients progress with minimal risk.
  5. Correction of movement dysfunctions: Tempo Training helps correct imbalances and poor movement patterns.
  6. Pain management: Controlled tempos help manage pain while promoting healing.

[Read the scientific publication on the treatment of Achilles tendinopathy]

Here are a few examples:

Tempo 1 – 3 – 1 – 3

Focus : Long holding at the beginning and end of the movement.

Benefit : Improve postural endurance and motor control.

Exemple : Push exercise to restore stability to the scapula and rotator cuff.




Tempo 2 – 0 – 1 – 0

Focus: Functional movement and development of strength and speed.

Benefit: General strength / conditioning.

Example: Squats for end-stage patella tendinopathy.




Tempo 3 – 1 – 3 – 1

Focus: Slow eccentric concentric phase (“time under tension”).

Benefit: Muscle building / hypertrophy.

Example: Squats early after an ACL injury to restore a weakened quadriceps muscle.





Tempo 0 – 1 – 0 – 1

Focus: Fast, explosive movements with a defined pause at the beginning and end.

Benefit: Muscle building / hypertrophy. Increased power and control.

Example: Squats early after an ACL injury to restore a weakened quadriceps muscle.



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Optimizing rehabilitation with Kinvent

The Kinvent physio application provides a platform for the efficient application of Tempo Training in the rehabilitation process. On your app, you can flexibly adjust the tempo of any exercise, tailoring it precisely to the patient’s specific objectives. This feature gives you precise control over the duration of each movement phase, enabling you to tailor your training program to your patient’s needs.

Tempo Training with Kinvent provides a high level of engagement for the patient. Thanks to biofeedback, patients are guided by the imposed rhythm, helping them to synchronize their movements with the prescribed tempo. This feature enables the patient’s movements to be fine-tuned in line with the recommended tempo, promoting more effective, targeted rehabilitation.

Measuring progress with Tempo Training

The Kinvent application offers a range of tools for effectively monitoring patient progress. The evolution of tempo success percentages over time provides a concrete overview of improvement in movement execution. In addition, muscle assessments provide an overall understanding of physical evolution and progress.

This information provides a solid basis for making informed adjustments to exercise routines, with a view to achieving optimal results for each individual patient.

In short, Tempo Training with Kinvent offers a scientifically-backed approach to accelerating recovery and preventing injury, paving the way for more effective, personalized rehabilitation.


[Discover the Kinvent Physio application]

References :

  1. Blazevich, A. J., Cannavan, D., Coleman, D. R., & Horne, S. (2007). Influence of concentric and eccentric resistance training on architectural adaptation in human quadriceps muscles. Journal of Applied Physiology, 103(5), 1565–1575.
  2. Beyer, R., Kongsgaard, M., Hougs Kjær, B., Øhlenschlæger, T., Kjær, M., & Magnusson, S. P. (2015). Heavy, slow resistance versus eccentric training as treatment for Achilles tendinopathy: a randomized controlled trial. The American journal of sports medicine, 43(7), 1704–1711.
  3. Kaminski, T. W., Wabbersen, C. V., & Murphy, R. M. (1998). Concentric versus enhanced eccentric hamstring strength training: clinical implications. Journal of athletic training, 33(3), 216.
  4. Potier, T. G., Alexander, C. M., & Seynnes, O. R. (2009). Effects of eccentric strength training on biceps femoris muscle architecture and knee joint range of movement. European journal of applied physiology, 105(6), 939–944.
  5. LaStayo, P. C., Woolf, J. M., Lewek, M. D., Snyder-Mackler, L., Reich, T., & Lindstedt, S. L. (2003). Eccentric muscle contractions: their contribution to injury, prevention, rehabilitation, and sport. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 33(10), 557–571.
  6. Kongsgaard, M., Kovanen, V., Aagaard, P., Doessing, S., Hansen, P., Laursen, A. H., … & Magnusson, S. P. (2009). Corticosteroid injections, eccentric decline squat training, and heavy, slow resistance training in patellar tendinopathy. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports, 19(6), 790–802.