Time Under Tension

  1. Time Under Tension

    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:
    Leg Press
    Bench Press
    T-Bar row (supported)
    Military Press
    Yates Row
    Assisted dips (on a machine)
    Drag Curls

    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.


  2. I know its not the same as you have stated, but im doing DC training and it really concentrates on the negative portion of the exercise, and I have found it to be VERY effective. With the short rest periods and slow neg, it makes for a whole new ballgame. Im only 2 weeks in but I can tell something is happening, though I cant put a finger on exactly what it is, and its a new feeling. I think you have made a wise choice as to switch up your training. It also takes less time to finish my workout and I have also found some joint relief so far. Keep us posted and updated as time goes by...I would be happy to hear how it works for you.

  3. You just have to go with what works for you and what your body allows, but I've been training for 8 years (negligible for many people on this forum) and already have repetitive stress injuries in my joints. I've started to focus on things like increasing TUT, centering more work around atypical exercises for strength (martial arts, tire flipping, ropes, climbing, kettlebells, pull-up variations etc.), as well as obviously incorporating strength improvement, but not all the time, more like for a couple of weeks every couple of months. I really haven't lost any strenght and my conditioning has vastly improved. My shoulders have developed a much rounder look, as well as having no pain since I completely cut out overhead pressing.

  4. Hey drinkyboy - I've heard of people having great success with negative focused-workouts. Do you train alone, or with a partner? Seems it would be hard to do a neg workout by yourself (which is how I work out).

    jgassen - sounds as though you've moved to more of a crossfit type workout. Ultimately, I think you'll find you need to balance your exercise between the crossfit stuff and strength training (at least if continued size is your goal), as right now I think your hitting muscles fibers that probably don't get hit during your traditional workouts, hence the growth. Your change up hs probably enouraged the optimization of some new neural pathwways, which means more efficient muscle activation, which means more muscle utilization, which means more growth (whew). Keep mixing it up and I thiknk you'll continue to see good results.

    As for keeping up the TUT workout, I'm getting prepped to do a run of Havoc (maybe stacked with Katanadrol v2) sometime next month. My current plan is to keep the TUT workout and see what happens. Last time (and first time) I ran Havoc (3 years ago) I did pulse for 5 weeks and gained (and kept) about 8 pounds. I was doing full body 4x5 3x a week and pretty damn strong too, joints be damned.

    Just last May I totaled adn even 1,000 pounds in a powerlifting competition (181 class), raw category (no belt etc.), and that was with a 235 bench (I told you my elbows were bad).

    The move to the TUT workout came after I ruptured a disk about 2 months ago training deads. I was only in my third set (305) and it was like a cork going off in my back. Doc said wait it out a minimum of 6 months before seeing is surgery is required. I'm getting better, but it's slow going. I think my body had finally had enough.

    In the mean time I need a workout to keep my size (or even put on more if I could). Hopefully the TUT is it....

  5. I train alone, but utilize a spotter if needed. There are plenty of trainers at my gym that I can snatch up to spot. I try and use machines when I can or the smith machine. This helps ALOT!

  6. When I specifically increase my TUT, I like to become more explosive on the positive part of the lift. One of my favorite exercises for chest is incline DB presses where I lower the weight slowly (about 3 seconds) and then try to explode the weight up (under controll). Then at the end of the set I'll do partial range of motion presses to make the chest keep working.

  7. Hi Type O

    I've done the slow down, explode up reps and like them. I've donw some power lifting, and I found that to be the best training method for me when it came to squats and bench.

    I did the TUT workout for about a month and didn't lose any size - I even leaned up a tiny bit. Now I'm doing a hybrid.

    Routine 1: TUT
    Routine 2: Same exercises, but done for 3 sets of 10

    So looks like

    Mon: R1
    Wed: R2
    Fri: R1
    Mon: R2

    I like the TUT, but I also like the feeling of moving a heavier weight.

    I'm prepping for a designer steroid run and will probably stick with the alternating workouts.

  8. I just posted in the training forum under "Stretching tips" an excerpt from an article discussing how stretching between sets increases TUT and may have a positive impact on hypertrophy.


  9. Hey Zir

    I've read the stretching tip to - Pavel Tsatsouline, the crazy Russion strength trainer who wrote Power to the People is a big proponent of stretching as a method of increasing size and strength.

    My understansing of his methodology is that you stretch after the workout, not before or during.

  10. Yes, I've been doing a similar TUT workout Web. I've been doing an 8-1-8 timing scheme with light weights, mainly because I am coming off of a wrist injury and this is all I can handle. It is my only training option and I feel the TUT is working well. After experiencing my injury I have a new perspective on bodybuilding - you won't lose a ton of muscle if you abstain from training for 2 weeks or a couple of months, in fact, it may be beneficial - rest, neurological, etc. Our bodies are not designed to withstand so much constant weekly stress.


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