There’s More to Time Than Tempo: Back-Off Sets & Isotension


slowodown1We’re not starting today’s article with the beginning or end in mind, but rather, we’re here to discuss life in the middle.

The most frustrating place for anyone with a pulse.

Let’s start with science: according to the NSCA (the National Strength and Conditioning Association), a novice lifter is someone with less than 2 months of resistance training under their belt. An advanced lifter has done it for 1+ years and an intermediate lifter is someone who’s been weight training consistently (2-3 times a week) for at least 6 months.1

The majority of us fall into this middle, advanced lifter category. I’ve been lifting for 13 years, but let me tell you, while the length of my training life may be a teenager, I’ve only been successfully lifting for 5-6 years. 

The definition above holds a lot of merit and without it, we couldn’t base this discussion. The issue is that the definition presupposes each lifter has made linear progress where you’ve consistently grown stronger, leaner, and have improved your exercise technique.

The reality is that most people experience incidental progress, and yet they continue lifting (because lifting is awesome) and never experience true progress.

Most people in this category need to do one o…

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