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AIM client during AIM’s Motion group class


If you’ve ever heard the phrase, “Time flies when you’re having fun,” you’ve probably wondered if there’s any way to increase the ever-ticking speed of the clock during less fun tasks as well. Things like mowing the lawn, cooking a meal from scratch and making progress in the gym. Not that we want to skip time, by any means, but how can we get to the end goal quicker? Well, we can’t answer that for you in regards to lawn work or culinary skills. However, we do have a tip for fitness: time under tension (or TUT for the meatheads out there).

So what is a time under tension workout and what makes it the magic pill for progress? First, let us clarify that it is not a magic pill (in fact, it isn’t a pill at all). Nothing is one size fits all. And the first rule for everything in fitness is to listen to your body. Now, with that out of the way, let us explain.

Time under tension is a fairly broad term for slowing down during movements. The name itself is referring to the elongation of time that a muscle is under strain [tension]. By increasing the amount of time the muscle is under duress, the muscle begins breaking down at sleeve-busting speeds.

Benefits of Time Under Tension Training

Speaking about form and technique, one of the most important benefits of the time under tension training is the fact that the correct form allows you to have the same level of intensity with a reduced risk of injury.

Since it is a different training protocol, it also enriches the training with a bit of a variety. With TUT, you can get excellent results even with lightweight trainings, which is great for older people or people with injuries.

Another thing that’s great about time under tension training is the improved connection between mind and muscles. The stronger the mind-muscle connection is, the more you’ll gain at the gym.

Next time you’re in the gym, give it a shot. Instead of speeding through reps or adding exorbitant amounts of weight, try slowing the movement down during the lowering portion of the lift while maintaining a steady tempo. Count out loud if needed, we won’t judge. Form is crucial here so please do not sacrifice technique for time. At the end of a set, you should be feeling utter heart-pattering fatigue, so long as the weight is heavy enough!

What have we learned here today? Faster is not always better (remember when the turtle beat the hare?). Form is crucial for gains and safety. And placing muscles under prolonged tension is a quick way to improve muscle mass and muscle performance on the path to lasting results. Time to hit the weights!

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