Building muscle – – you have set a goal to make improvements in your physique and that doesn’t mean you have to jack up the weights and lower the reps to achieve what you want. Instead, you should try training under tension (also known as time under tension or “TUT”), extending the length of time you’re straining the muscle or resisting the weight load. Want to challenge yourself throughout your workout? Add in a drop set by lowering the weight steadily on your final set— this is typically with a higher than average rep number in place until you reach failure.
Understanding time under tension is important when working toward a bigger build and more muscle growth. TUT extends the time spent in the concentric (shortening) phase, peak contraction phase, and eccentric (lengthening) phase. For example, if you are performing 10 reps of bicep curls and it takes you 3 seconds to go through all three phases, this means your time under tension is 30 seconds. When implementing TUT, you move slower and squeeze your muscles, adding an additional 2 seconds in the peak contraction stage and slowly extending
back to your eccentric position. The slowing down of your movement increases the total time it takes to execute one rep and places you into TUT, rewarding you with greater muscular growth.
Now, if you’re wondering how drop sets can affect TUT training, give it a try. Start with a heavy weight, performing 10 reps, then dropping down to a lower weight
and performing an additional 10 reps two to three more times. Slow down the execution of the exercise, allowing your muscles to remain under lots of tension. When your body is strained with heavier weights, it allows for maximal tissue breakdown (another important phase in the building of muscle).
Lastly, you can increase your time under tension by altering the tempo of your movements. For example, when performing a chest press, press up quickly and release back to your chest slowly in a controlled manner.
So, if you’re looking to enhance your muscle size and tone your body, start implementing and focusing on maximizing muscle fatigue with heavier weights and start adding in time under tension movement throughout your workout.