Gym Training Program | Time Under Tension (TuT)

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Louise Hay

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Gym Training Program: Time Under Tension (TuT)

When building a training program for the gym, we need to pay close attention to the variables we are going to consider in order to achieve our goals. In this article, we talk about the most important variable to consider when building a gym training program.  The training variable that you have underestimated so far, but that can make a difference!

The External Load

Many in the gym insist, wrongly, to increase the cd at any cost. external load, that is the weight that is loaded on the barbell. As long as you are able to maintain a decent executive technique and are able to recruit the target muscles of the movement (by target muscle we mean the muscle that should be mainly affected with that particular exercise), always maintaining full control of the load, which is welcome; however, often times an increase in the load on the barbell does not correspond to an actual improvement in performance, and consequently does not lead to improvements in body composition. In fact, in the weight room what really interests the athletes must not be simply to increase the external load (which is only one of the many means to use), but rather to increase the load indoor, or the stress perceived with exercise with overloads.

We must therefore begin to take into consideration other parameters, which guarantee new continuous stimuli to the body, such as, first of all, the time under tension (T.u.T.).

Il Time Under Tension (T.u.T)

Time Under Tension stands for “time under tension” e indicates the work of a specific muscle district in the unit of time. In other words, it indicates how long we can get a muscle to work during a set.

Conventionally it is indicated with a formula such as, in which:

- the first number indicates the time spent on the eccentric phase (the negative);

- the second indicates an isometric pause in the position of maximum elongation;

- the third indicates the time spent on the concentric phase (the positive);

- the fourth indicates an isometric pause in the position of maximum shortening.

TuT is a parameter not to be overlooked, because it allows, under the same load, to significantly increase the internal load.

Here is an example: friends Tizio and Caio go to the gym and try their hand at exercising with a barbell on a flat bench. Tizio performs series of 10 repetitions, with dumbbells of 30 kg, with a TuT equal to, bouncing with each repetition on the chest and with a little controlled eccentric. Gaius, on the other hand, with the same number of repetitions and load, works with a TuT equal to, checking the eccentric for good and with a stop in the chest of a generous second. In your opinion, who trained better between the two? Dude who has carried out his series without full control of the load and hastening the execution times, or Caio, who has always kept maximum control of the load, focusing his attention on the chest and working for a longer time?

I guess you know what the answer is.

Training program

We will now present an example of a chest routine so that you fully understand how to use the different times under tension to your advantage:

(the example takes into consideration only the TuT, leaving out other parameters, such as volume, recoveries, range of movement, etc).

- barbell flat bench -> negative controlled; firm to the chest in the point of maximum elongation of the pectoral; explosive concentric and short stop at the top to better prepare the new negative;

- high dumbbell bench -> slow and controlled negative; firm to the chest in the point of maximum elongation of the pectoral; concentric controlled and no pause in closing, on the contrary, perhaps avoiding to bring the elbows into joint block, in order to keep a continuous tension in the chest.

- crosses to cables -> slow and controlled negative; 1 second stop at the point of maximum stretch; slow and controlled concentric, 2 second pause at the point of maximum contraction. It is guaranteed that you will feel your chest literally burn!

If you are not used to working this way, the first few times will be really hard; could help you recover earlier and better dispose of lactate based supplementation beta-alanine, which, by increasing the concentration of muscle carnosine, will allow you to withstand work better.

These are just two of the many possibilities with which you can customize the execution time of an exercise. It is up to you to choose exercises and time under tension with which to perform them, according to your tastes, habits and neuro-muscular activation capacity.

A tip not to be forgotten

As mentioned above, the purpose of the article is simply to provide a different point of view on weight training: there is not only the loadbut there are a variety of ways to vary your training.

The important thing is to do things with your head and work on your flaws, on your personal needs.

It will therefore be up to you to indulge yourself in combining them to try to improve your performance, provoke an adaptation in your body, and consequently… improve!


Good workout!

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