The question stands, do you tut at your muscles during training? Have I gone mad? No, I am talking about, keeping your muscles under tension during your training session. Do you just lift the weight? Do you perform each set really quickly just to get it done? While you lift your weights or perform your body weight exercises are you thinking about what is for dinner later, or what you did that day? If you do these things then your mind is clearly not on what you're doing and therefore your workout will suffer. You will place less tension and emphasis on the muscles and this will mean less fat burn and calories burned. It will also mean that your muscles won't react as well to the session, so if you find you are in a plateau then you need to continue reading...
What is TUT?
Time under tension or TUT is when your primary focus is on the seconds you are taking for each exercise to work your muscles. By doing this you will be working your muscles in a different way and so you could place more stress on them. Furthermore, tut refers to the amount of time your muscles are spent resisting the weight of each exercise, this can even be applied to body weight exercises too. So for example take a squat. If it takes you 2 seconds to lower and 2 seconds to come back up that is a total of 4 seconds. If you do 10 repetitions then you are working the muscles for a total of 40 seconds. So depending on the speed at which you perform each exercise will result in how long you are keeping tension upon the muscles you are working. This is the basis of tut and I personally think this has a good spin on things and can be used to switch up your workouts and get some good results.
Check Your Tempo
So how many of you concentrate on your tempo through your exercises? Your sole focus when you enter the gym, the field, the streets is to exercise and see it through putting in maximal effort. When you perform an exercise you will have a tempo you stick to and this can be changed to achieve different results. For most of you, the rate at which you contract the muscles will be slower than when you release them. For instance lets take a barbell curl working the bicep muscles. When you curl, do you raise the bar quicker than you lower it? Is the speed matched both ways or is the speed quicker when you curl compared with the lowering of the movement? These factors can alter your workout and will also shift the amount of weight you will push or pull per exercise. I also think that when you start to think and count how long you are putting tension under the muscles you will also be more engaged into your workout, this is a good thing!!
Still Count Your Reps
A common mistake when focusing on tempo is that repetitions change. Keep your reps the same as normal because this will still mean you are working towards your desired goal of how you want to look and feel. Whether you are strength training, building lean muscle muscle or training for endurance, keep your repetitions the same but alter the speed at which the exercises are performed.
Watch The Clock
Make sure you keep an eye on the time and you are sticking to the tempo. Try not to speed up or slow down whilst you exercise. Best thing is either train with a partner and while you perform your set he or she keeps an eye on the clock. Or if you train on your own count the tempo in your head. Don't forget to mix the tempo up. So if you stick with an overall 4 seconds per repetition you can mix it up by performing tempos of 2 and 2, 3 and 1 or 1 and 3. By changing the variables of the tempo will increase different stresses on your muscles and therefore you might get better results.
You might find initially that you won't be able to lift as much weight or perform as many reps as you are used too. Don't let this put you off as this will be normal and could show that actually what you were lifting before wasn't engaging your muscles as effectively. Hopefully by using this style of training you will notice your muscles ache more and you are working them harder. Be sure to replenish by using a Whey Protein Shake that has amino acids inside which will re build your muscles quicker and stronger. Leave a comment below with how you find this style of training.