TUT is a commonly used term in the bodybuilding industry and it stands for ‘time under tension.’
It refers to the duration of time your muscles are under tension while they’re being worked.
For example, if you’re doing a barbell squat, the time it takes for you to squat halfway down and go back up is the time under tension.
The moment you lock your knees and stand straight, your quads are not being worked and get a temporary relief of a second or two before you do the next rep.
If you don’t lock your knees in the eccentric motion of the exercise before proceeding to the next rep, your thigh muscles will still be engaged continuously.
This increases the time under tension and will recruit more muscle fibers in the exercise.
Your thighs will feel like they’re burning because there is no brief respite for the muscles. They’re constantly under tension. This will really encourage muscle growth and take your workout to the next level.
“When training using TUT, you must pace your reps.
Ideally, you should aim for about 10 to 12 reps within 40 seconds to a minute. By the time you reach your last rep, you should be maxing out and not able to do another rep.
So, you may wish to do the concentric motion (raising the weight) of the exercise for 2 seconds followed by the eccentric motion (lowering the weight) for 4 seconds.
There should be no pause and no lockout between your reps.
For example, when doing a bicep curl, you will not lock your elbow when you lower the weight. So, your bicep will still be working even at the lowest point of the move.
When raising the dumbbell up, you’ll want to avoid having your arm perpendicular to the ground.
When your arm is perpendicular to the ground, the biceps gets a rest. Aiming for an 85-degree angle should be just fine.
This applies to most other exercises too. Do not lockout when doing a bench press. When doing lying triceps curls, your elbows should be slightly behind your eyeline.
This will place constant tension on your triceps. You should also focus on your form. Avoid jerky movements.
You want to make the mind-muscle connection and ‘feel’ the muscle working.
Focus is important when lifting weights.
“Sacrificing form just to lift more weight is vanity and will not help you improve.
If you can’t reach your 10 to 12 reps, lower the weight a little and work with a lighter weight. Ideally, you should start with your weights at about 60% of your one rep max and lower the weight from there.
These drop sets will be exhausting but over time, you’ll develop the strength and stamina to lift heavier weights.
You should be aware that using time under tension in your training will mean that in most cases, you’ll do less reps than you’re normally able to do.
“The slow reps are much more tiring and painful to execute.
You may also be very sore during the first week of training because your body is adapting.
Over time, you will get used to it and make significant gains. Always remember to train with weights that are challenging and to focus on form and tempo.
Time under tension is a very powerful technique for increasing your strength and muscle size.