Buy or Sell: Tempo Training, Tees, and Tapas

Dave Thomas San Diego Performance360Written by Dave Thomas
Owner, Performance360

Today, I’m going Wall Street and coming strong in hot with enthusiasm for things I am buying and selling.

Minus the cocaine.


Tempo Training
For: Strength and Patterning

I am not sure who gets the original credit for it but I first learned of it from James Fitzgerald of OPEX Fitness a couple of years ago.

The idea of tempo training is to manipulate the pace of the lift in order to to utilize the benefits of the eccentric training, pauses, and patterning in our movement.

A typical tempo day might look like this.

31×2 Back Squat for 3 reps

Each number is assigned to a different portion of the lift.

3 – take three controlled seconds on the eccentric portion
1 – pause for one second at the botton
x – indicates to move up as quickly as possible on the concentric
2 – rest at the top for two seconds before starting the next rep

Load is typically 60-70% depending on experience and where one is weak in the movement.

The eccentric phase (the lowering portion of the lift) is where a lot of muscle damage and strength gains occur, and in this format the emphasis is on time under tension in that portion of movement.

Tempo training is also great in that it creates a pause at the bottom of movement, disengaging a lot of athlete’s reliance on the stretch shortening cycle as we near the bottom and gain our bounce.

Lastly, think of it like an audit for proper patterning as there is simply no way to complete a rep other than to have near perfect form, otherwise your balance will be throw off.

Pistol Squats
For: Mobility

Pistol squats have always been a nice movement to develop strength and symmetry in a unilateral function, but where I’m really all in on them is from a mobility perspective after seeing their success in Coach Julianne’s mobility class at Performance360.

One could very easily make the case the ankles are the most important joint in just about any loaded barbell movement that we do, because without proper function connected to the ground, everything on top of it will be misaligned. This makes it exceptionally good for athletes who have a tough time accessing their posterior chain due to quad dominance.

It’s like trying to play Jenga with a crooked build.

Without ankle mobility we have no healthy movement. And if we have no healthy movement, we have no strong movement.

Plus, squatting on one leg never got anyone weaker, right?

Pistols are a great progression to build up to both very strong legs and very mobile ankles. Like anything else, start with the most basic form of progression and ultimately advance to full pistols. This typically means sitting back slowly onto a bench at first, then working your way up with a banded variation.

For: #Gainz

Boring hypertrophy work has always been something we’ve tended to do, but over the last year we’ve really dedicated time to doing it right.

First, let’s just be perfectly clear that vanity and aesthetics are okay. In fact, I recommend them when it comes to your training. Caring about how we look would eliminate a lot of obesity problems in our country, but that’s probably a topic for another day. Plus, I don’t feel like getting yelled at.

Aesthetics aside, there are some major benefits of adding muscle when it comes to your performance.

  • More Soldiers – More muscles most often leads to more strength.
  • Assistance Lifts in Disguise – Many hypertrophy based movements are often assistance lifts for the power and weightlifting.
  • Improved Power Endurance – The more muscle we have, the more phoshocreatine potential we have for immediate power use.
  • Nutritional Benefits – Casual observation has taught me that people trying to gain muscle tend to take diet more seriously.
  • Soft Tissue Health – 40-60% hypertrophy work improves muscle symmetry and strengthens joints, tendons and ligaments.

A dedicated day or two per week focused on building muscle will aid in just about any physique or performance goal.

For: T-Shirts

My t-shirt game is like my DVD game. Acquire as many as possible. Use them rarely. Get rid of them only in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

I am 6’0″ and about 180 pounds depending on whether or not I’ve been to Portland the weekend prior. This is a pretty normal sized human, so why in the hell must it be so hard to find a t-shirt that doesn’t make look like I’m either a bass player in an Indie band or a kid in his dad’s gym shirt.

Until extra medium becomes a thing, I am not left with many options.

Enter Target. Wonderfully fitting t-shirts for about $15. Lots of fun bands on there to make you look hip, too.


Prescribing Training Frequency
For: Everyone

If there is one observation I won’t waver from when it comes to training it’s that there is no such thing as, “How many days per week should I work out?”

I’ve seen people at Performance360 murder it training three times per week and I’ve seen people murder it training six days per week.

On Episode 6 of The Business of Lifting Weights, we talk a ton about progression as an athlete and how much is the right dose.

It all just depends on your goals, your stimulus sensitivity level, how fast you recover, the build of your body and many other things that make that question impossible to answer.

What I can tell you is to avoid thrashing your body and hitting redline, and you can likely train more often than you think, but I believe the law of diminishing returns sets in around five days per week.

Take some time to pay attention and figure it out.

The important thing is to establish what your goals are. Until you know that, there’s no point trying to establish frequency.


For: Sustenance

I have a good rule of thumb when it comes to choosing restaurants. If the plate the meal is served on is the size of a fractional weightlifting plate, I shan’t be eating there.

So when you’re talking about tapas, like fifteen bucks for ah meatball or two shrimp criss crossed over one another for presentation, that’s a hard pass.


I do not own a record player. I don’t appreciate foam art in my coffee. I would like a whole meal of food and I’d like to share it with no one.

Please and thank you.

That’s a wrap, folks. Buy or sell will probably be a regular thing so that I can hit a variety of topics in a quick paragraph or two.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think, and if you liked it, please hit the SHARE button below. 

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