SLOW DOWN TO SPEED PROGRESS
If you’ve ever heard the phrase, “Time flies when you’re having fun,” you’ve probably wandered if there’s any way to increase the ever-ticking speed of the clock during less that 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 time under tension 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. 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!