Time Under Tension – Truth or Fiction?


Time Under Tension (TUT), one of the fitness industry’s most confusing and unclear subjects, does it build muscle? Increase Gains? Increase Stamina? Muscular Endurance? Increase muscle anabolism or hyper trophy?

The answer is YES. Sort of.

I have studied it for over 2 weeks now and still there is no definitive answer, but having trained this way using bodyweight i definitely am feeling the micro trauma within my muscles.

Muscle Growth

Muscle grows by you breaking down the muscle fibres during a workout causing micro trauma eg tears in the muscle strands. Your body then responds by repairing them using new strands of protein or myofibrils, these repaired myofibrils increase in thickness and number to create muscle hypertrophy i.e. Growth.

The time under tension (TUT) rule is you place more strain of the muscles by lifting slower, so instead of bicep curling in this pattern, lift 2 seconds lower 2 seconds, you lift slower by taking 10 or more seconds for each phase of the lift.

With that being said there have been scientific studies that have put the 2 side by side and although the muscle trauma is greater within the Time Under Tension group the muscle growth remains equal. (just google time under tension and you’ll see the studies, i used T-Nation.com for this.

So here is my own theory about Time Under Tension, doing the same exercise pattern over and over you will reach plateau, o adding in TUT you can place more strain on the SAME exercises causing muscle confusion and increasing your strength too.

As said above it can be used to increase strength, so to do this i used body weight holds like the wall sit, squat hold, press up and hold, plank etc. This increases stamina within your muscles as blood flows through your body at a rapid rate to help feed the muscles. This is a good way to increase muscular endurance too.


So to summarise, in my opinion, Time Under Tension, if used correctly can increase Stamina, Muscular Endurance, Growth and Strength and serves as a good technique to break through workout Plateaus too.

I did a workout last night, the 3 of the week and i know i did something useful cos i’m aching more than if i lifted heavy weights.

Try Time Under Tension for yourself and make your own assumptions as everyone is different.

Remember why you started, Keep track of your nutrition, and start to enjoy your changes.



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