Time Under Tension (TUT) – A New Way of Looking at Reps  

A new perspective on workouts has recently been making the rounds and we’ve found it works great with our cambered squat bars.  If you haven’t heard of “Time Under Tension” (TUT) based training, it’s time to look into it!

What Does “Time Under Tension” (TUT) Mean?

TUT focuses specifically on how much time your muscles are spending doing work rather than on reps or overall workout length.

Basically, TUT is the time it takes to do each rep, multiplied by the number of reps.  If you do a squat and spend three seconds squatting, four seconds holding in place, and three seconds returning to upright, that rep has a TUT of 3+4+3=10 seconds.  Do ten reps, and your total squat set has a TUT of 100 seconds.

Now, that’s all well and good but why does it matter?  As it turns out, those who have begun studying Time Under Tension have discovered that there are direct relationships between different TUT and the end result of a workout regimen.

TUT – Controlling Your End Results

Are you trying to build strength, build muscle mass, or build endurance?   Evidence so far suggests that by thinking and training with TUT you can directly control which of these three goals you achieve.

Right now, most evidence is anecdotal although we understand health science has become quite interested in TUT and is starting to investigate it more carefully.  In the meantime, early advocates have found three general ranges for TUT and the results they produce:

4-20 seconds:  Building strength.

20-40 seconds: Building muscle.

70-100 seconds:  Building endurance.

The great thing about TUT is how much control it gives you over your workout.  This goes beyond the obvious conclusion that fast reps build strength while long reps with long holds build endurance. You can custom-tailor each exercise by changing your rep length to get the exact results you want.

Over the course of weeks or months you can vary your TUT to create a balanced workout.  It’s an incredibly precise method, far more than simply counting reps alone.

If you’re just getting started with TUT the best procedure is to have your spotter doing the timing for you with a stopwatch.  Eventually you should get a feel for the timing you want. If you’re alone, watch a clock on a wall or count the seconds with “one Mississippi, two Mississippi,” etc.

At Force Of Habit Barbell Company, we’ve already had great workouts using the TUT method with our Canadian-made cambered squat bars.  If you’ve also been experimenting with this technique, we’d love to hear about the results you have achieved.  Contact us to let us know!

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