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Time under Tension

Macdaddy

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I have been reading various posts talking about time under tension for muscle growth. I understand that heavy weights are required so that your muscle needs to "adapt" and thus grow. But what about a combination of the two. For example, lift heavy for the regular workout, but at the end use a medium to low weight load and hold a contraction for an extended period of time. (ie: use 10 lb dumbbells held out to the sides as in a side lateral for say 1 minute without moving). Would this not accomplish the time under tension after you have broken down the muscle fiber with the heavy weights?
 

BostonFan

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Sounds like you're more less talking about a static contraction.

I know Jay Cutler advocates TUT in his youtube vids but the way he talks about it is just the muscle under being under constant tension, ie., never locking out.
 

Macdaddy

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Yes, static contraction would describe it exactly. Just as a finishing exercise not as the basis to a workout. Would this not drastically increase the time under tension and in turn help the muscle to fill out?
 

Snuka

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I have been doing this a lot lately and I can tell you it works. I don't know if its because I changed my routine or because of the actual training program. I usually use it on my last sets of dumbell bench, leg extensions, lateral raises, seat or lying leg curls, preacher curls, calf raises, dips and cable rows.

Basically, say I was doing dumbell bench press. I would do 4 sets of 8-10 reps and on my last set or 2, on my last rep I will hold the weights just before lockout until I can't hold them no more. Then, I slowly lower it until the rep in complete. I usually can get a good 10 seconds and have worked my way up to 15-20 seconds on certain exercises.

I can tell you I have made improvements in hardness, shape and a little bit of size over the past month or so. With no changes in diet. Currently I am not on and I am cutting weight.

I don't think it will work well all the time, but it is good to shock the body once and a while.
 

maldorf

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Yes, static contraction would describe it exactly. Just as a finishing exercise not as the basis to a workout. Would this not drastically increase the time under tension and in turn help the muscle to fill out?
This would more of less be an isometric contraction. Probably would be helpful, but I dont think it would lead to hypertrophy. I bet that it would help muscle endurance a whole lot.

I used to do something similar on squats. At the bottom of the squat I would hold the barbell for a count of 10 before I went up. That static hold at the bottom where you are weakest seems to build strength at that point in the motion. So I for any exercise I would hold the weight at the weakest point of the movement for a count of 10 or so and then complete the rep. That worked for me and added strength in the squat.
 
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Ehren

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I think it works in various forms. More reps, with a bit less weight for example or holding the last rep for a longer concentric phase.

I cycle my training between light and high rep (15-20 reps) and heavy and lower (6-8 reps). With either, the last couple sets to failure.

The heavy training has been the bread and butter, but the increased time under tension from the higher reps seems to allow more focus on the muscle and less on the joints. I'm always sore as hell and feel fuller/tighter on the high rep weeks.
 

kscowboy

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One of the singel most valuable things i have done to my workouts over the past 2 months is adding more volume. Increasing reps and increasing sets and increasing exercises. Just more opportunity for tension. It has made a world of difference.
 

NY Muscle

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I think the goal is to find the right weight and reps/reps count that works. Just doing more sets and more reps may or may not be the most beneficial. Say 120lb dumbbells for 20 reps with the "typical" rep count may take you 30 seconds to complete the set but if you do 80lbs with 4 seconds down and 2 seconds up for 10 reps that is 60 seconds your muscles are under tension. So 60 seconds of 80lbs could (should be?) more beneficial then 120lbs at 30 seconds? Not really sure what is right or what is wrong but I used to love doing German Volume Training which was 10 sets of 10 reps with 6 seconds to complete reach rep. I would say the majority of people in the gym (that I see) are too concerned with moving the weight as fast as possible which is just counting reps and not building muscle.
 

doctorwest

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More reps and more sets is not the answer here. Charles Poliquin pioneered this technique in the 1990s I believe. The "Poliquin Principles" is an excellent read and Ihighly recommend it if you can find it. 18-22 sets maximum per workout. I experienced a high level of hypertrophy and gradually strength over a six week period.

for example, dumbell incline presses are supersetted with close grip chins....The tempo is five full seconds on the positive and five Full seconds on the positive. I dropped my weight from 80s to 40s to complete six reps....which equals a full 60 seconds of time under tension. It worked quite well and it is amazing. 45-50 minute workouts. then you are done. Literally.

BTW, this is different from isometric contraction, or static contraction as another member called it. This is designed to accumulate myofibrils, increase myoglobin and a bunch of other cool stuff outlined in the book....

Be well, and let us know what you do.
 

Matsuo Munefusa

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wouldnt it be better to combine an explosive concentric with a very slow eccentric? The best of both worlds...power from the concentric and strength from the eccentric (as long as progressive overload is in place).
 

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