Previously I had asked for a "minimum" program that requires me minimum effort to remember the schedule, and minimum time to do it. The answer is to doing pull-up, squat and dip until failure every 2nd day.

My question here is: how should I do these exercises properly? Should I do it:

  • fast (1 second pull, 1 second push)?
  • slow (4 sec pull, 4 sec push)?
  • holding my pull until I can't handle no more, then count it as one rep, until I really can't do one more rep?

If the last one is best, then how should I breath when I do it? Do I have to hold my breath when I stay my pull?

I think a pull is acceptably defined as an up in pull-up, and a down in dip and squat.

  • Going to failure is a technique that should not be abused..I do not recommend that you do that every other day
    – YisraelU
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 4:08
  • @yisrael I only workout in every 2 days. The day in between I do not workout at all. Is that your recommendation?
    – Ooker
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 15:14
  • No, I don't recommend you go to failure. While your muscles may recover , your central nervous system may not
    – YisraelU
    Commented Jun 30, 2016 at 4:10
  • @yisrael can you elaborate on that?
    – Ooker
    Commented Jun 30, 2016 at 4:59
  • If you want an explanation about the ins and outs of exercise impact on the CNS then you may get a more comprehensive answer over at Biology SE. Not to put down Yisrael but that information is outside the scope of this question.
    – John
    Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 8:31

2 Answers 2


In your previous question you say you're not sure if changing your diet is required...this couldn't be farther from the truth. If you want to maximize results, diet is by far the most important factor in addition to sleep and recovery. Also, this "minimum" concept is horribly flawed but I won't even address that here, I'm sure you're already aware anyways.

To answer your actual question, you want to recruit the most muscle fibres in any given exercise that you do. Studies with EMGS as well as my own and various others' experiences show that the most effective way to achieve this from a tempo perspective is this:

When you're lifting the weight (concentric), i.e pushing, pulling, squatting up, you want to do this portion of the movement as fast as humanly possible in order to recruit max motor units and develop a faster motor firing rate...effectively improving muscular contraction and overall power/strength. This should be anywhere less than or equal to one second.

When you're lowering the weight, i.e descending on the pullup/pushups/squat/dip, you need to maximize time under tension (to a certain limit) in order to break down the most muscle fibres (so you can build them back up stronger and bigger through protein synthesis hence why I said your diet is crucial). This means you need to control the descent which implies that this portion should take around 1-4 seconds depending on your energy levels. You can tweak this number all the time in order to keep your muscles confused. E.g maybe one day keep this number at 4 seconds, but the next day keep it at 1 second.

The isometric portion of the movement, i.e the part where you're at the top in the pullup or parallel in the squat can vary depending on your goals and won't affect anything too much as long as you make sure to actually utilize it. What I mean is, you should be "squeezing" the necessary muscles with EVERY rep at the isometric "hold" ANYWAYS, how long you do it however depends on what you want and really won't make too much of a difference and won't make you stronger or bigger...although it will make you better at holding isometric positions. So as long as you do this part for at least a second, and squeeze hard, you're fine.

As a working example, let's go over how you would do a pullup.

  1. Start with your arms extended fully and pull your scapula back and engage your lats and arms, squeezing the bar as hard as possible in order to recruite the most muscle fibres.

  2. Exhale in order to promote nitric oxide flow as you pull your self up as fast as possible in an explosive manner, make sure your form is good.

  3. When you're at the top , hold the position for at least a second, and squeeze your back so you can feel the right muscles working.

  4. It is highly debated whether you should inhale or exhale at the top of the movement, and doesn't really matter to be honest, but since for the pullup you already exhaled, start to slowly inhale.

  5. Lower yourself over 1-4 seconds while slowly building up oxygen by inhaling small amounts.

  6. Reach your starting position again, and use the oxygen you just built up by the slow inhaling to explode up by exhaling and repeat.

It's important to exhale hard during the lifting portion of ANY move as releasing the oxygen suddenly will allow your muscles to contract harder and faster. For example if you watch sports, you'll notice that boxers and fighters will exhale and make sounds as they throw punches or kicks...(Bruce Lee used to just make crazy sounds but that's still exhaling) and that sprinters will repeatedly exhale short bursts of air very fast in order to be more explosive.

  • You develop muscles during recovery.
  • Amount of recovery done depends on how much of your muscle has been broken down by the exercise.
  • Amount of muscle with micro-tears is directly a result of time-under-tension.
  • Pull fast (1 second), release (lower/pull) slow (2-3 seconds).
  • Repeat reps until failure

Your understanding of exercise and lack of willingness to undertake a proper beginner programme like 5x5 stronglifts or a bodyweight routine will get you nowhere fast.


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