TUT: Time Under Tension

25 December 2013
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Image credit: ammentorp /

TUT: Time Under Tension is the measure of time a muscle resists weight during an exercise. E.g. If you press a weight for 3 seconds and lower the weight for 2 seconds then the TUT for a rep is 5 seconds, if you do 10 reps then that's 50 seconds of resistance.

So what?

Well if you're looking to make gains, if you're looking to make the most of your time at the gym or if your results have plateaued then TUT could be your new best friend.

Manipulate TUT best to suit your goals. If you're only going to be at the gym for a short while then make the most of your time there. Think about how long you're going to lift and lower the weight on each rep. Most people I see seem to concentrate on just moving the weight, when really you should be looking for quality and consistency in your technique. Being aware of TUT is one thing you can do to help you in your training.

So how can you manipulate TUT? Here's a few examples:

  • If you're looking to put on some serious muscle then try increasing TUT, this will generally mean you slowing the movement right down, and in doing so improve the quality of your lifts. Improve quality, improve results.
  • If you're looking for dynamic sports specific power then you're probably doing exercises like power cleans or squat jumps. Here your goal with TUT is to keep it low, in fact if you can count a TUT of more than a second per rep then I'd suggest you're doing the exercise too slowly, so lower your weights and get your technique right.
  • If you're looking for fat loss, then I'd suggest varying TUT within a repetition between concentric and eccentric phases of the movement. For example: try dips with a 2 to 4 second eccentric phase followed by an explosive concentric push.

To sum up

Plan your weight training for maximal results and maximal use of your time at the gym with correct application of Time Under Tension, that's TUT to you and me! It's going to be a busy time at the gym in January so why not make the most of yours.

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Warner says...

25 February 2014

Hi, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, amazing blog!

DaveJT says...

22 April 2014

@Warner - thanks for the heads up, unfortunately my site design doesn\'t support IE8 and below, it should look OK in IE9 and hopefully IE10 is fine too. Thanks for your support.