Time Under Tension – Effective Method To Gain Real Mass and Strenght

It’s easy to be familiar with the basic components, when putting together a plan like; Sets, reps, rest periods, exercise choices, how many times to train, etc. But here we are going to look at why TUT is extremely beneficial to you and your plan!

I like to use tempo in my training because of the way it targets muscle fibres. The sets that I use are when half of the set is performed explosively, and the second half slow. The initial portion of the lift forces a strength adaptation because the movement is explosive and requires a coordinated effort with all of the motor units within a particular muscle.

This fatigues the muscle, and then the slower reps benefit. The slower reps target and fatigue the muscles and trigger a mass or hypertrophy response.

Here’s the basic idea of TUT

There are four numbers that constitute the tempo of an exercise, so it may look something like this:

The first number (3) is the eccentric, or lowering, component of the lift.
The second number (0) denotes any pause at the midpoint.
The third number (1) is the concentric, or lifting, component.
Finally, the fourth number (0) denotes any pause at the top.
A 3010 tempo makes perfect sense on lifts that start with an eccentric, or lowering phase, like a squat or bench press. You lower the bar for 3 seconds, there’s no pause at the midpoint, then return to the starting position. Reset and go again.

However, if you start with the concentric portion of the lift such as chin-ups and barbell curls, the first number is always the eccentric, and the third number is the concentric.

Who should use tempo training?

Everyone should use tempo training at some point during their workouts.

Athletes can benefit from slower TUT’s that focus on the eccentric in the off-season as this will develop body control, connective tissue strength and hypertrophy.

However, as you get closer to your goal, you’ll need to become more “sport” specific with your TUT training. If you’re a power or Olympic lifter, there’s no reason to knowingly slow down your squats.

Why should you use tempo training?

There are many reasons to use tempo training. Here’s just a brief list:


Improved body awareness.
Improved control of lifts.
Development of connective tissue strength.
Improved stability.
Focus on muscular elements versus tendinous elements (a slow, controlled motion is going to place more stress on the muscles, whereas a bouncy or ballistic motion will place more stress on the tendons, etc.).
How should you use tempo training?

Here are some common TUT’s, along with the exercise branches they work best with:

Tempo: 2-0-2-0
Exercise(s): Any/All
Goal: Intermediate Fibre Recruitment

Tempo training is done to:

Improve stability.
Develop intermediate muscle fibers.
Develop work capacity.
In a base or accumulation phase, try throwing in some continuous motion exercises such as bench presses/push-ups, squats, chin-ups, etc. This can be done with just about any exercise, but the key is not to let your ego get in the way.

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