Ever wondered why most of the people and trainers at the gym emphasized on ‘going slow’ and doing ‘controlled reps’?
You may have also seen many of the pros and bodybuilders doing half-range reps and thought about the intention behind this.
Yes, the reason behind this is TUT i.e Time Under Tension.
But what does that exactly means?
As the name says, Time Under Tension is just the duration during which your muscles are under stress/tension. It can also be defined as the time you spend doing muscular contractions, which consists of concentric and eccentric movement.
In simple words, ‘concentric’ is a positive phase and ‘eccentric’ is the negative phase of your repetition.
So the idea behind this TUT-focussed training is basically doing ‘slow & controlled reps’ (slow tempo) for the duration of your set, especially during the ‘eccentric phase’ of your repetition.
This further increases the stress on your muscles keeping them constantly under tension, creating room for muscle growth.
Does that even matter for building muscles? Is it an important factor for muscle gain? Let me just elaborate and simplify this concept more for you, without being too technical.
- Science claims that muscles only know tension, irrespective of the weights. They don’t know the number of weight you are lifting, whether it is 10kgs or 30kgs. Muscles just feel the load and the tension you put on them for a period of time and develop.
- You can read about the “FITT Principle” considering which your training program is designed. There are some factors which are significant for the muscle growth like Frequency (no. of times you train per week), Intensity (how hard you train), Volume (no. of reps and sets you do); out of which Tension is one of them. It is one of the essential variables which provides an addition to the overall muscular development with the rest of the factors. If you want to maximize muscle growth, they all must be in synergy.
- So, TUT-training mainly focuses on slowing down the tempo of your repetitions to prolonge that tension phase. This increases the duration of the time in which your muscles are under stress.
Benefits of TUT (Time Under Tension) training:
- You can use this as a variation – especially can help you to break the muscle-building plateau.
- It can be used to shock your body if it is been adapted to your usual workout routine.
- Better Mind-to-Muscle connection.
- It decreases the chances of injury while increasing the tension on the target muscle.
- More challenging even if the weights are not the heaviest which you could lift.
- Helps you lifting in a good-controlled form, avoiding jerky and swingy movements.
- It helps to do “Quality Reps” than just purely focussing on the quantity.
- Less taxing to the Central Nervous System.
My Personal Thoughts:
As per me, TUT-focussed training is an amazing technique to shock your muscles and the body by incorporating a slow tempo in your conventional workouts.
Occasionally such shocking principles have been also used by many of the pro bodybuilders & athletes to fight the ‘adaptations of the body’ to the same workouts.
Even the legendary ‘Arnold’ firmly believed that we need to mingle up different shocking principles in our regime to confuse the body so that it keeps growing.
You gotta shock the muscle -Arnold Schwarzenegger
This technique furthermore makes sure that you ain’t just swinging the weights up and down, rather feeling each and every repetition with contraction and release.
Just swinging the weights isn’t useful as you are letting gravity do the work instead of your muscles. You can get more out of every rep training this style.
Also NOTE that the other muscle growth variables like the intensity, volume, frequency, and progressive overload are equally important.
You can try ‘periodization’ i.e periodizing this method in your workouts for shocking and variation purposes which will elicit more gains.
Just don’t stress your mind on counting the seconds you are taking for increasing TUT, rather focus on maintaining a strict-form and smooth-controlled tempo. This will incredibly assist you in making a better MIND-TO-MUSCLE connection. Working out without creating a mind-to-muscle connection is one of the biggest GYM MISTAKES you must avoid.
It will intensify your workouts further making them INTENSE! Another great way to increase your workout INTENSITY.
Higher TUT of your overall workout = More Gains!!!
Though personally i don’t prefer going deliberately too slow so that I miss out other important variables like load & progressive overload, instead use this solid ingredient in conjunction with rest of the aspects for the maximum muscle stimulus.
TUT (Time Under Tension) matters.
Slow controlled reps definitely have its own place when it comes to plateau-breaking and making consistent gains.
Time Under Tension training can absolutely help you to continue making more gains by developing a better mind-to-muscle connection, putting a more desirable strain on your working muscles.
Controlling the weights to the point that you are almost holding them isometrically is unnecessary.
It is definitely a WIN-WIN situation when you incorporate TUT (Time Under Tension) with rest of the muscle building variables.
Using TUT smartly by keeping a good balance of controlled reps with the higher loads will do pretty much with the strength and size simultaneously.
But without any thoughts: you can amazingly benefit from this if you have plateaued and wanna shock your body.
So should you use this principle during your workouts? Well, at the end of the day it all depends on you. Every individual out there is different. Experiment and then figure out what works best for you.