Hey fit fam, today I introduce to you the second physical fitness principle, …. Drum-rolls…. TIME UNDER TENSION also abbreviated as TUT.
I know just by seeing time and Tension in one statement makes you feel pain!, well that’s not the main point. Lets jump straight into it.
So what is Time under Tension?
TUT refers to the total time a muscle is under strain or resists weight during each set. For example, if you did a push up and it took you two seconds to push up up and one second to lower your bodyweight down, that’s three seconds of tension per repetition (rep), therefore performing 10 reps at this pace would take a total of 30 seconds. Or say you’re doing the barbell curl and it takes you two seconds to curl the weight up and another two seconds to lower it, that’s four seconds of tension per rep. Performing 10 reps at this pace would take a total of 40 seconds.
Therefore, the TUT for that set is 40 seconds. If you increased the speed of those reps to about three seconds, then it would take you only 30 seconds to complete a 10-rep set. Although the number of reps and the amount of weight are the same, the second set might not increase your muscle mass to the same level as the first. And that’s the basis of TUT training: Focus on sets that last for a certain amount of time based on your training goals. For maximizing strength, the ideal TUT is about 20 seconds or less; for muscle mass, it’s at least 40 seconds; and for muscle endurance, it’s at least 70 seconds. But that’s just the baseline theory.
From the research i did, i learned that if you’re keen on TUT while training then focus on type 1(slow twitch ) muscle fibers and type 2 (fast twitch) muscle fibers .
For example ; we mainly want to build muscle, in scientific terms this is called hypertrophy. Growing muscle. We will have to perform sets with longer TUT as research has it that putting your muscles under load for between 60-90secs at 20-50% of your 1RM or for bodyweight athletes perform high repetitions per set will aid in the recruitment of the type 1 (Slow twitch) muscle fibers which are by nature fatigue-resistant unlike type 2 (fast twitch) muscle fibers which can produce high levels of force but fatigue faster. Therefore, keep the type 1 muscle fibers under tension longer to elicit their full potential of growth. What about the type 2 (fast twitch) muscle fibers? Yeah, yeah, good question.
They respond well to growth when under shorter TUT say between 20-40 seconds at 80% of your 1RM or for bodyweight athletes, static holds like , planche, front , back and elbow levers, slow controlled repetitions of any exercise or weighted pull-ups, pushups, pistol squats, planks, hollow holds or more advanced movements or explosive and plyometric movements will heighten the growth of the fast twitch muscle fibers.
How can you use this
I will make this pretty simple for you.
Draw a superset workout. Exercise A at 60-80% of 1RM for 20-40secs of TUT and Exercise B at 20-30% of 1RM for 60-90secs of TUT.
Say for example
Bench press as exercise A and Pushups as exercise B or simply strip off the weights and keep it light. If you have no timer then I’m going to give you a hack that I have used before;
Perform exercise A at your 60-80% 1RM till muscle failure then strip off the weight into half of the original weight you just did and double the number of reps you performed in exercise A.
For my bodyweight peeps, Perform the most advanced variation of pushups that you can do till fatigue or for 20-40secs then perform the simplest pushup variation for 60-90secs or till fatigue as a superset.
I know reading this already makes your muscle twitch in pain! 😝
There are many ways to skin a cat, these are a few of my tricks, get creative and invent your own that works for you, if you don’t know where to start in your workout get my workout program by clicking here.
See you in the next Blog post!