Time under tension (TUT) is a technique that forces your muscles to work harder when training by maximising the time a muscle is spent under strain during a set of exercises.
This is achieved by slowing down movements and stretching the time it takes to complete each phase of an exercise, particularly the most difficult stage. In this way, you can yield better training results and encourage more muscle growth.
The technique is commonly used in weightlifting and bodyweight training, meaning results can be seen with both gym and home workouts.
But before you begin to introduce the time under tension technique into your training, here are some things to remember:
Applying the time under tension principle to a plank is the best way to ensure you are getting the most out of the exercise.
When in the plank position, ensure every muscle in your body is tensed. You can hold the position for a set amount of time, 30 – 60 seconds for example, or hold until fatigue.
With every muscle activated, you will be sure to see the benefits throughout your body.
While many of us are familiar with doing a push up, usually challenging ourselves with the amount we can do, time under tension is another way to make the exercise harder and yield greater results.
Spend a little longer on the lowering down motion, pausing when your chest reaches the floor and then push yourself back up. A 4-1-2 sequence can be applied whereby the lowering down part of the exercise takes four seconds, you pause for one second when at the floor and then spend two seconds lifting yourself back up.
When performing a push up in this way, ensure your legs are being squeezed together to create greater tension in the muscles.
The eccentric phase of a lunge refers to the downwards action of lowering the knee to the ground. This should be the slowest part of the exercise and where muscles are kept tight.
While focus is placed on the lunging action, it’s important to not forget that posture is also a determining factor to not only the effectiveness of an exercise, but also for the prevention of injury. Therefore, attention should be given to ensuring the back is straight and that the front knee does go over the toes.
Wall sits are an isometric exercise that engage various muscle groups by applying tension to them. As they are designed to be held for a length of time that presents a challenge, the time under tension technique fits perfectly.
To get the best results from a wall sit, you should ensure feet are pushed flat against the floor, back flat against the wall and glutes and torso squeezed tight.
You can hold the position a number of times for 30 – 60 seconds or, hold until failure, pushing yourself that little bit longer each time.
When doing a bench press, the eccentric phase is the action of lowering the bar down to your chest. This should therefore be the part of the exercise you spend most time on, followed by a short pause when the bar is completely lowered and then a slightly longer pause when at the top.
Increase the weight of this exercise gradually over several weeks for continued results.
An overhead hold is a static exercise that can effectively promote muscle growth through the time under tension technique. The exercise involves holding a weight directly above your head for a certain length of time.
The hold works by overloading various muscles, particularly those in the upper body, with tension and strain.
As your muscles strengthen, the weight can be increased gradually to ensure results continue to be achieved.
Laying flat on your back, arms at your side and palms flat on the floor, lift your legs until your feet are six inches off the ground. Bending at your hips, bring your legs and knees towards your chest. Then, extend your legs up towards the ceiling and back down and out again.
Ensure the movement throughout the exercise is kept steady and that muscles are tight and activated.
When performed correctly, this time under tension exercise can build the muscles in the legs, core and glutes.
When performing a squat, you should first ensure the glute muscles and quads are being squeezed in order for them to be activated. Time under tension is particularly effective in the downwards motion of squatting, when the muscles are lengthened under the load. Therefore, this is the point of the exercise which should be performed with greatest attention and at the slowest speed.
You can also introduce a bar weight to your sets of squats to increase the load.
While holding yoga positions is typically relaxing, applying the time under tension technique to the transition from one position to another is a great way to promote muscle growth.
For example, going from downwards facing dog to upwards facing dog can be performed in such a way that it applies tension to various muscles in the body, and thus, builds muscle.
Using the rope attachment, you can apply the time under tension technique to your sets of triceps pushdowns for better results. At the bottom of the movement, ensure you squeeze your arms and then spend a little extra time pushing back up.
When doing this exercise, the first couple of sets will feel easier, almost like a warm up, so ensure you are doing at least 3 – 6 reps to get the most out of the workout.
By adding these time under tension tips and exercises to your routine, you’ll be sure to be reaping the rewards in no time!
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.