What is Time Under Tension?

Utsav Agrawal
Utsav Agrawal

 | 1 minute to read
Exercise Science

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A lot of people overvalue TUT; absolutely, it can be an essential factor; however, I often find people use it to the detriment of their program and individual workouts. To understand the value of TUT, you have to understand “impulse.” In physics, the impulse is the force over a time interval or the magnitude of the tension. This means there is a point where low impulse TUT may inhibit your ability to perform more volume with a higher intensity(load). Think of doing reps on a leg extension with a wall squat as a superset to add TUT. On the one hand, you’re adding very low impulse TUT, but on the other hand, you’re robbing energy that you could allocate to more reps on the leg extension, which has a much-increased impulse TUT. In a study, Group A performed three sets of 12@70%1RM. Group B, six games of 12@35%1RM on a hack-squat machine. Group B did 72 total reps(total TUT), while Group A performed 36 reps. The total impulse (magnitude of tension) was 25% higher in Group A, despite Group B having DOUBLE the reps and an increased amount of total TUT due to the increased reps. TUT is a tool to be used. However, merely “feeling the burn” and moving less weight slower can often be detrimental to your training volume/intensity, which are FAR better drivers of hypertrophy. Reference- (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/22158146/)

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