I've been doing some research into different training methodologies. I've always (for 30 years - I'm 45 now) done multiple sets. As a younger man I did all the typical iso work most meatheads do. In the last 5-6 years I moved to a full body 3 days a week doing big composite lifts (4x5 type workout, squats, deads, clean to press, etc...)
But now I've reached a point where all the sets and heavy weight has cuagfht up with me. Over the years, I've had the typical injuries - back strains, ruptured disc, hip flexor problems, torn rotator cuff, torn triceps tendon, strained wrist, etc.... Seemed like every week it was some new ache or pain I had to work around.
A few weeks ago I picked up a book that talked about Time Under Tension. For the past two weeks, I've been experimenting and so far, so good, but I wanted to get some opinions or see ig anyone else has tried it.
In a classic multi-set workout, you might do 4 sets of 5 (as an example). Maybe each rep is 1 second down (eccentric) 1 second up (concentric). So your Max Time Under Tension would be 5 reps x 2 seconds for 10 seconds. Your Total Time Under Tension would be 4 sets x 10 seconds for 40 seconds.
The workout I've been using aims for a Max Time Under Tension of at least 70 seconds. This is accomplished by aiming for a minimum of 7 reps using a 5 seconds down, 5 seconds up cadence. So each rep has a Time Under Tension of 10 seconds. If you can do more than 7 reps, you go up next workout.
Few things I've noticed
-Slow reps are hard, and painful when I get up around 5 or so (as long as I have the weight right).
-I had to reduce weight by as much as 50-60% some exercises. Military press is a good example. I was doing 135x5 on my last set. Using a 5 second cadence, I'm at 60 pounds, and today I BARELY got 7.
-I get more of a pump doing reps like this than I did doing the heavier 4x5 workout
-The lighter weight is MUCH easier on my joints, especially my elbows which have been painful for years
My complete workout is:
T-Bar row (supported)
Assisted dips (on a machine)
I finish with curls on an exercise ball and 70 kettlebell swings (2x35). And that's it. I've been doing this 3x per week (M/W/F) and upped my protein intake to 200g a day (I weight 185). 2-3 minutes between exercises.
I've actually put on a bit of size and lost a little bodyfat (at least according to the bodyfat scale thingie at my gym - my weight has remained constant). I'm also on a semi-strict slow carb diet (been on that for a while due to cholesterol issues).
Just wanted to get some opinions, see if any one else has experimented with this, and if so, what were the results. It been a real challenge to overcome the mindset of multiple sets ramping up to heavy weight, but hey, I'm reaching the poin were my workout needs to be sustainable for another (hopefully) 30-40 years.