The Importance of Time Under Tension Explained

Time Under Tension

Alright so I was sitting here trying to decide on what to write about and then it hit me. I should talk about the importance of TUT. So what is TUT? I hear you asking. Well as I revealed in the title TUT stands for time under tension. This is a value measured in seconds and it counts the number of seconds that your muscles are under tension during any given set.

Time under tension is very important as your muscles act differently depending on the time they are placed under tension. I realize this may be a bit confusing for you but just hang in there. Alright so what studies have shown us is that if your muscles are placed under tension for about 20-40 seconds then your muscles will tend to gain more strength and power.If your muscles are under tension for 40-70 seconds then your muscles will take on a more anabolic path which means muscle growth.

So now knowing that during any given set you must place your muscles under tension for at least 40-70 seconds we can now develop a lifting tempo. The tempo I normally use and have found to really attack your muscles is a 4-1-1 tempo. What this means is that on the negative portion of the lift it should take you 4 seconds to return the weight to the start position, you then wait for 1 second and then lift the weight back up in 1 second.

Just to make things easier to understand here is an example. Let’s say that you are doing bench pressing.  You would start off with the barbell or dumbbells at the top position. You would then begin by lowering the weight to your chest this should take you 4 seconds, then once at the bottom of the rep you would wait 1 second before firing the weight back up to the original position which should also take only 1 second.

If you use this tempo and stick to the 8-10 rep range the time under tension of your muscles will be about 48-60 seconds which is in perfect range to trigger the anabolic muscle growth effect. Now obviously you can change things around with the reps and lifting tempo, as long as you are staying within the 40-70 second range your muscles will grow.