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By: Bruce and Ryan Burke

Last Updated: 1/29/23

Pace is an often-overlooked training variable that can be adjusted to increase/decrease intensity, both within your training session and the individual exercises themselves. The pace of your training must be deliberate and consistent with your goals. Additionally, tempo of repetitions and rest time between exercises should be determined prior to your workout.

What is the right pace?

For body transformation and performance enhancement, the ultimate goal of each session is to get as much quality work done as possible. This means progressively limiting rest between exercises and increasing the pace of the entire workout. As your fitness increases, the amount of rest needed between sets will naturally decrease. Accordingly, you will accomplish more work in the same amount of time, making your time spent at the gym more efficient and effective.

So how do you know if you are training at an appropriate pace? Although your fitness level and goals ultimately determine pace, your training should be as vigorous as possible while still allowing you to feel good when you are done. In order to ensure a safe and effective workout, remember to never compromise form for the sake of pace.

Changing the pace.

A great way to intelligently increase your pace is to use active rest and recovery strategies. Instead of sitting on a bench after a tough set, try doing some stretches, corrective exercises, or unloaded work. As your fitness improves, your active rest can become more challenging. This will lead to more work being done, more calories being burned, and increased EPOC.

Below are some other strategies you can use to challenge yourself through manipulating pace:

  • Workout with a friend or in a group setting. You will naturally push yourself more when working out with others.
  • Give yourself an allocated amount of rest time between exercises or sets using a stopwatch. As your fitness level increases, decrease your rest time.
  • Time yourself to see how quickly you can get through a set with perfect form. Attempt to ‘beat the clock’ as your fitness progresses.
  • Slow down the tempo of resistance exercises (i.e bench press). This increases the time under tension for your muscle fibers, increasing the difficulty of the exercise.

For this week and moving forward, be deliberate with your pace. If you are slowing down or speeding up, it must be happening for the right reason. Appropriately push your pace and get the most out of your time-spent training!